Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Solutions Are Better Than Problems

Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... Solutions Are Better Than Problems

Article excerpt

How many times have you heard someone say: 'Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions'? Yet the grain of truth in this aphorism is buried under a whole bushel of caveats. It may be good to encourage people to think on their feet, but it's very bad for bosses to suggest they aren't interested in problems. The reluctance of management to hear about problems was a major contributor to the Challenger space shuttle disaster of 1986, the explosion at BP's Texas City refinery in 2005 and the injury-free but chaotic launch of Heathrow's Terminal 5 in '08. Less dramatic consequences of this approach include...

It confuses problem-spotting with problem-solving. Of course, life would be simpler if the person who spotted a problem was the one who had to fix it. But suppose sales identifies a problem with the product: competitors are innovating faster than you are, and your product is falling behind and becoming harder to sell. Now this could be special pleading by sales, but it could be true. If management wants to hear about solutions only, who in sales is going to raise this issue? …

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