Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Can You Take The Emotion Out?

Has that problem got you in an emotional stir?

I've had problems that get me more twisted than a day-old Philadelphia pretzel. It's all geometry and no flavor. The image is there, but the joy is gone.

It doesn't need to be that way. We can center ourselves long enough to minimize the emotional load. We can see what's there, without adding our fifty ways of stressing out.

Most problems are easier to solve once you take the emotion out.

Worth a try?

-- doug smith

Front Range Leadership: How to achieve your goals

doug smith training: developing creativity


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Create Space for a Solution

Are you too close to your closest problem?

Is it holding you back from the creativity you need to move forward? Does your toughest problem knock you a little off center?

Sometimes we're so tangled up in a problem that we first need to create space for a solution.

Someplace safe. Someplace centered. Someplace where we (and the problem situation) can breathe.

How will you center yourself in that moment?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Face Your Hidden Truths

Do you ever hide from yourself?

That might sound silly, but I think I've done it. We hide from ourselves when there is something about a problem that we need to solve that is really more about the choices we make that what is happening to us. In other words, sometimes we cause our own problems.

We break our own diets. We ignore our own exercise regimen. We avoid the people on our team we most need to talk with. We keep conversations light that need to go much, much deeper.

We don't do these things all the time, but when we do, they contribute to (and even cause) the problems in front of us.

To solve our toughest problems we must be willing to face our own hidden truths.

What kind of hidden truths? That's up to you.

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals



Thursday, June 18, 2015

Find Your Problem's Secret Ingredients

Did you know that many problems have two secret ingredients?

No, it's not a special sauce or patented process. The secret ingredients are two things that hide under all the symptoms and cloud a problem solvers focus on the situation.

Centered problem solvers figure out what are the secret ingredients and how they are effecting the ideas being created, the pain being felt, the reactions of the people involved. Very often there are two secret ingredients:

Problems have one or both: a solution and/or a viable use.

Sometimes people don't want to solve what is framed as a problem because it already serves their needs. They like it. A person may not see the injustice in unequal distribution of resources if they have all the resources they need. A person may not see hunger as a problem if they eat in fine restaurants every night. A person may not see unhappy customers as a problem if the work is easier when the customer goes away.

The viable use could even be sensible, useful, and correct. Identifying something as a problem doesn't mean that it IS a problem, and certainly not for everyone.

That's why centered problem solvers stay curious. That's why to solve a problem on a long term basis (I'm hesitant to say forever) it's useful to figure out what the secret ingredients are. Your secret ingredients might vary, but they are probably there. What will you do about them?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Walk Carefully To Solutions

What happens when you jump to conclusions?

I know that I've jumped to many conclusions and usually didn't like where those leaps took me. Not only does it take me to the wrong place faster, it keeps from from finding the right place. Jumping to conclusions gives us deeply flawed answers to our problems.

Jumping to a solution before we've truly analyzed a problem usually gives us exactly what we expected. 

And sometimes, that's not the best answer. Usually, it's not the optimal solution.

How can you ground yourself when you feel about to jump to a conclusion?

Relax. Breathe. Center. Find your focus. What exactly IS it you're working on? What exactly IS your goal? What exactly are you seeing and what do you only THINK you are seeing?

Walk carefully to that solution. It will wait for you.

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Solve The Problem Before You Feel The Pain

Why is it that we so often wait until a problem is a real pain before we solve it?

It could be because we're so busy. It could be because we're so distracted. It could also be that we hope secretly that the problem just goes away.

But, problems don't just go away, do they? They tend to get worse until they are attended to. Left alone, problems get  bigger.

Why not solve a problem before you feel its pain?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Discover the Absolute Truth

How can you tell the truth from the near-truth?

We are surrounded by near-truths - things we don't dispute because they seem reasonable and don't get in our way. We pay unfair taxes. We tolerate poor service. We spend our time on activities that don't always interest us. And, we do these things (and hundreds of others) without question because, well, it's just easier. We convince ourselves that it's part of our lives. We accept near-truths over the hard work of examining, analyzing, and solving the petty problems of life.

What if we didn't approach near-truths with acceptance? What if we challenged them? What if we assertively held to our vision and values even when it meant saying "no" to someone who did not want (or expect) that as an answer?

That would take courage, wouldn't it? That would take creativity to find a way to do it with respect. That would take compassion to do it without creating harm for others. That would take clarity around what is true.

Discovering the absolute truth dramatically clarifies the possibilities and the solutions to a problem.

It takes the fog out. It opens the more impartial lens and removes the filters. It's invigorating. It's dangerous. It's necessary to focus on what matters most.

What matters most to you could be different that what matters most to me, or to your partner, or to your team. My central question here is: do you know what it is? What matters most to you? Is that your focus? Does that clarify truth for you and help you eliminate automatic acceptance of near-truth?

-- Doug Smith

High Performance Leadership: Solving Problems. Achieving Your Goals.

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals

Monday, June 8, 2015

Focus On What You Really Want

Do you ever find yourself midway through solving a problem and wondering why you are bothering with that problem?

Or, do you ever think you've solved a problem only to discover it was just a symptom of a bigger problem?

Before solving a problem it helps to focus on what we really want.

What's the goal?

I like to reframe each problem into a goal-statement so that the work becomes positive: we work on what we want to achieve, rather than what we seek to avoid.

It makes a difference. It's much easier to stay centered with a goal in mind, and it's much easier to keep that goal in mind when we stay centered.

What problem can you convert into a positive goal?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals




Saturday, June 6, 2015

Remember We're Part of The Problem

Have you ever gotten so deep into solving a problem that you missed the fact that you were part of the problem?

I don't like it when it happens, but sometimes I realize that the problem only exists because I've created it. I put it there. It's the results of my actions.

Sobering. Disconcerting. Not fun. But, sometimes we're the problem.

Centered problem solvers realize that their part in the problem may be tough to see, yet it's likely there. What we do in looking at the problem has a lot to do with who we are. When we take the time to center ourselves before reaching conclusions, we end up with better conclusions.

Sometimes as we analyze a problem we are also analyzing ourselves.

Are you open to that?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals