Navigating The Problems Maze

Problems are one of those things you are never going to completely avoid. They vary. Some are worthy of your attention, some are not. To manage your time and other resources well, you must decide which problems are worth your attention.

Decide before they arise. Take a problem inventory; in retrospect, what have you experienced as a leader and organization? Which of your problems are recurring? How many of them need your attention as the leader?

How many of them need to be delegated? Some problems can be solved once and for all time by putting in place clear systems. It is folly to keep watch for fires that you know are going to start instead of dealing with their source.

Crisis is often a result of our reactions and not the problems per se

How you look at the problem will determine your ability to solve it. The attention you give to problems is what determines the extent to which they will be magnified: greater or smaller. It’s your call! There are times when the problems we face are not really much of an issue.

The way they actually become serious problems is because we make them that way. Crisis is often a result of our reactions and not the problems per se. Some problems may require urgent but not immediate attention.

Effective problem solvers are comfortable with parking some problems to deal with ones worthy of attention. Parking a problem for a moment may also be necessary for getting a good perspective. Complications arise when you react to a perceived problem without first understanding it.

Be careful not to react out of the frustration or fear your team expresses when they encounter a problem. You cannot effectively lead your team out of challenges if you get caught up in the same anxiety as them. Keep in mind you lead yourself before you lead your team. How you lead yourself directly affects your team or organization.

In fact, there will be many times you have to lead yourself out of frustration and helplessness before you can lead your team. Problems will appear solvable to your team when they hear you and see you act that way.

Your team gets their cue on how to respond to challenges from you. Panic and they will too. Be honest and vulnerable, but do so with conviction you will not only survive but thrive beyond the problem and they will too.

[image: joncandy, flickr (cc)]

What Giving Responsibility Can Do

Last week I reflected on a period of about 5 weeks I allowed the team to take lead in areas I normally lead. During that period I was there as an observer and for (moral) support and allowed the team to call all the shots. OK, OK I was also there for quality control purposes.

There; it’s out. I was also there for quality control purposes. Come on, I’m a leader concerned about our quality and standards… In fact, if you’re leader, I hereby give you permission to snoop. Yeah, snoop…

Continue reading “What Giving Responsibility Can Do”

Quitting While Ahead?

The old saying “quit while you’re ahead” is more than meets the eye. One of the interpretations is “call it a day while the going is still good”. There are instances where this may be sound advice… I was thinking about areas I’ve grown in and I realized there is an area that I am happy with progress in. It has taken a lot of time and effort for progress. Part of me felt I should “quit while ahead”, then it occurred to me…

The “quit-while-ahead-philosophy” can be a reflection of some things:


That you feel you are at the best of your game and you cannot be any better. This can be due to fear. When you think you arrived at a place by chance. It is easy to feel this way.

Be as systematic as you can be to be able to repeat success. This is true for your personal life and that of your organization or team. As you go along take note of steps you take as well as why you take them. Those with greater faith than fear will go farther.


Quitting while ahead could be a sign that you are getting lazy. Laziness is one progress killer you must avoid. It could be that you just don’t want to do any more work to even go further and accomplish more.

Not only individuals get lazy but there is also “organizational laziness“.

Organizations can start letting small things go such as taking longer to get back to clients when they don’t have to or neglecting details.

Embracing the “quit-while-ahead philosophy” may mean you are more concerned about having a legacy that is intact than one of constant, progressive and daring curiosity. Pursue a legacy of pushing boundaries in an attempt to go farther and accomplish more settling after a success.


Let your success be something that spurs not cripples you. Never allow the success you’re experiencing now to rob the future of greater possibility! You are the one who decides when “you’ve arrived”.

Success has a “best before” date and must be managed for longevity.

As long as you’re alive you haven’t exhausted all you are and can give! It is sad that some people feel they have lived their entire lives while they’re still alive. Risk taking is one of your guarantors against stagnation and irrelevance.


Walking in the “quit-while-you’re- ahead” attitude means you are more optimistic about the present than the future. If you have managed to do better than you have before, you can do better than you think is your best right now. 

The “quit-while-ahead-philosophy” is faithlessness expressed

In the context of a leader or organization it says we have no faith in our vision for the future. This is how many organizations end up irrelevant or dead: when they believe that they have given the best they will ever give. For organizations to not only survive but thrive they must fulfill their vision today AND see themselves doing the same into the future.


[illustration by shawncampbell | cc]