Problems? What problems?... A shift in thinking about how to deal with problems from CapApex

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Let goals -- not problems -- be your guide.

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Bills from every store and utility company known to man crammed into and flowing out of a desk drawer. Neighbors, family members and supposed friends making promises on which they never deliver. An unappreciated job with little moral or financial reward. Colleagues that sabotage good work at every opportunity. Diets and exercise routines that do not seem to realize they were intended to make us slim.

Does any of that sound familiar?

So how does one get out? Where to start? What’s the biggest problem? In fact, is it possible to pick just one from the pile?

In today’s hectic, never-stop, always-on world it may just be that everyone’s biggest problem is the deluge of so many problems.

No one’s just sitting at their empty desks, twiddling their thumbs, waiting for problems to arrive. To the contrary, everyone is overwhelmed -- stressed and running around putting out fires the whole day. And, when they finally can't run anymore, they grudgingly close the office door noticing that there are a few more fires burning than the day before.

It's a dead-end road and there doesn't seem to be any exit in sight.

What's the solution?

There is no end of books and solutions to becoming a better problem-solver. Often these approaches describe how to develop certain talents (problem-solving being the all-encompassing talent). Some of these talents are market-intuition, creativity, research skills and thinking out-of-the-box. Surely some or all of these skills can help. And yet even with these talents, the offices still keep burning and people still keep running around trying ever harder to put out the fires.

So what is the solution? Is it possible to have a problem-free life? That is, is it possible without delusion – creating a fantasy world or joining a cult?

Don’t count on it -- problems will continue to flow, but there is an approach that will lead to better results. What is really needed is a shift in thinking from the typical approach to problem-solving. It’s time to rethink of problems as unwanted situations that need to be dealt with or overcome. There is a better way:

1.    Do all incoming problems need to be dealt with? No.
2.    Do all problems barreling down need to be overcome? No.

There are two (yes, just 2!) keys to properly responding to problems.

1.    Only deal with important problems.

Problems seep in wherever they can. Very quickly they fill offices, meeting rooms, mailbags and email inboxes. But how many truly require any attention never mind immediate attention? Check out the source of the problem. Is it a competitor or a vendor or some other influencers? Is absolutely vital that to conquer the Chinese market? After all, the top competitors are doing it. Vendors are beating down the office door proclaiming that companies will go out of business if they don't install in China. The experts in the trade magazines seem to talk about nothing else. But is it really important? Maybe not. Probably not if a regional market still needs conquering? Probably not if the company’s products don't sell well outside the US. This may very well be an unimportant problem.
So what is an important problem?

A problem is important if its resolution leads to achieving goals.

What should be done with unimportant problems?

  •     Ignore them.
  •     Avoid them.

2.    Convert problems into goals

Problems are opportunities in disguise.
This is not a game of semantics and this is an attempt to be clever. If a problem really is important, then it becomes part of the definition of the goal. The definition of a goal may include many attributes. For example, if the goal is to lose weight, the goal may have several testable attributes such as:

  •     How much weight to lose?
  •     How large is the budget?
  •     How many hours a day can be devoted to achieving the goal?
  •     What foods are permitted in any proposed diet?
  •     Etc…

Notice that the definition of the goal transformed the potential problems listed below into attributes of the goal:

  •     A restricted budget
  •     A busy schedule
  •     Food allergies

Thinking of problems as something to overcome is at all precise. What determines if it’s overcome? What counts as overcoming a restricted budget? Does it mean making more money or does it mean doing more with less resources? If the budget is still restricted at the end of year and objectives have been achieved, has the restricted budget been overcome? Depending on who is asked, the answers will vary.

Instead of being guided by problems, better results are achieved by transforming problems into goals or attributes of goals. Important problems that should not be avoided or ignored should be integrated into goals as demonstrated above.

Some may respond that people have used overcoming problems such as debilitating injuries to achieve results that they never even dreamed of before the injury. The problem was the spark, the motivation to achieve great things.

There is no doubt that obstacles can’t be used as motivation. There are many amazing, inspiring stories of tremendous achievement under great adversity. Kayla Wheeler is a world-record competitive swimmer born no legs and one arm. She had a goal to swim and swim competitively and she achieved it. And she is helping other others with the same problems discover “the fact that it was possible … to swim.” The focus is not in overcoming the problem (which is vague), but in converting the problem into precise testable goals. Again, remember, problems only need to be converted into goals or goal attributes if the problems are preventing goal achievement.

Let goals be the guide

Don’t deal with unimportant problems. Ignore problems that aren’t preventing the achievement of goals. Avoid them. And if the problem is important – an obstacle in achieving a goal of being fit -- then convert it into a goal or an attribute of a goal – “it is my goal to achieve my ideal weight while continuing my job in the junk-food industry and continuing to enjoy time with my overweight friends”…
This approach to problem-solving requires a significant shift in thinking. It is not easy to change perspectives that we’ve held since childhood. It certainly took significant effort for CapApex to implement this vision. But now it is second nature. It is liberating because instead of wasting time on problems that have no relevance to the company’s objectives or trying to resolve problems that could well just be ignored, problems are exploited to learn about opportunities and to better define even better goals. Problems converted to goals provide guidance and determine the right direction forward.

To find out more about problem-solving, decision-making and focusing on goals, visit the CapAGoal website. To schedule an interview with CapApex CEO, Carlos Pardo, contact CapApex Public Relations at pr@capapex.com or call 212-292-4340.

About CapApex LLC

CapApex was created to help companies of any size implement enterprise software that will help them achieve their goals. This goal-driven approach has been applied to new apps that CapApex is putting into the market from data extraction tools to an application for better decision-making. The mission is always to provide customers with the right tools and processes to achieve their objectives.

Contact

To learn more about CapApex, please contact:
CapApex
521 Fifth Ave., 17th Floor
New York, NY 10175
Office: (212) 292-4340
Fax: (212) 292-4595
info@capapex.com

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