Do you focus on problems or solutions?

@Melody1 (968)
India
April 3, 2007 1:13pm CST
Does it make a difference? Yes friends,it makes a lot of difference.Here is an interesting example which I received in my e-mail :- One of the most memorable case studies in one of the leading cosmetic company's management was the case of the empty soap-box.The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soap-box that was empty.Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly line,which transported all the packaged boxes of soaps to the delivery department.For some reason,one soap-box went through the assembly line empty.Management asked its engineers to solve the problem. Post haste,the engineers worked hard to devise an x-ray machine with high resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soap-boxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty.No doubt,they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a whopping amount to do so. But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem,he didn't get into complications of X-rays etc.,but instead came out with another solution.He bought a strong Industrial Electric Fan and pointed it at the assembly line.He switched the fan on,and as each soap-box passed the fan,it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line. Moral: Always focus on solutions and not on problems.Look for simple solutions.This is what matters at the end of the day. Interesting isn't it? Convinced,are you? what do you think will be your approach now? :D
7 people like this
18 responses
@bluewings (3857)
3 Apr 07
I had once read a story about Henry Ford where he was looking for men who didn't know what they can't do.His point was ,we are often taught what we can't do so emphatically that we start believing the task as an impossible one and never try to approach it differently.Well, everyone knows how his out-of-the-box thoughts benefitted us. There was anoher story I read about Nepoleon Hill's son who was deaf.When he was told that the child would be deaf and mute for life,the father challenged the doctor's opinion and decided to teach his child faith and 'desire'.To make a long story short,a deaf boy who couldn't hear what the teachers taught in school ,went on to sell an electrical hearing device to the world and help millions like him to hear. There are countless examples of people coming out of crisis when they were considered doomed for life.Every problem has a solution ,if we are ready to 'believe' and have a burning desire.I read a poem that conveyed the message so well.Sharing it here might look odd,otherwise I'd have typed it out.
2 people like this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
3 Apr 07
My friend never fails to respond.Thanks.:-) Very well answered bluewings."believing " is "achieving."That's the mantra. You have supported your view point with inspiring examples. Here's one more humuorous example sent by someone - When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space,they found out that the pens wouldn't work at zero gravity(ink won't flow down to the writing surface).To solve this problem,it took them one decade and $12 million.They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity,upside down,underwater,in practically any surface. And what did the Russians do....?? They simply used a pencil.:-)
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
3 Apr 07
And what is the poem about?Sharing a poem can never look odd.Would it? Where else can we share it? In messages?
1 person likes this
@bluewings (3857)
3 Apr 07
Alright,I am messaging it to you right now.:-)
2 people like this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
3 Apr 07
You illustrated perception beautifully. We are all different and thank goodness. I like the fan deal and would offer practicality as the better response to most things of difficulty. I have always dealt with things head on and when I meet someone incapable of thinking outside the box then there is often a problem. Am quite adaptable so those instances can be a learning experience for me. Sometimes you do have to grin and bear it. I always have said that I can do anything if you just give me options.
2 people like this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
3 Apr 07
A great minset I must say,Flexibility is a strong trait. Yeah,I too like the fan deal.Simplicity most of times makes life much easier.Kids are a perfect example.:D
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
3 Apr 07
Typo again.I'm really sleepy.Lol.Its mindset :P
1 person likes this
@Denmarkguy (1845)
• United States
6 Apr 07
In my earlier life (probably till my mid-20's) I must confess that I was very focused on problems. Perhaps it was a result of a University education, where "problem solving" was taught as a discipline, perhaps it was simply in my nature. Then I had a boss at my place of work whose motto was "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions." The saying didn't mean that we couldn't make mistakes, or that there couldn't be problems-- it merely meant that when something bad had happened, he wanted us to come to his office with a sense of "such and such happened, and here are some ways we can put it right." Problems were merely treated as a normal part of doing business... as a result of which we learned to always have solutions in mind; always thinking "what do we want the FINAL OUTCOME to be." And maybe the key lies there. PROBLEM focus usually looks at the PAST, while SOLUTION focus considers the FUTURE. And we really can't change the past...
@Melody1 (968)
• India
6 Apr 07
Problem and solution....past and future(approach signifying the PRESENT).Excellent interpretation Denmarkguy! Thanks for the great answer.
1 person likes this
@loudcry (1045)
• India
4 Apr 07
Thats an interesting story. I remember a similar one. During the cold war era ,when th US and the erstwhile USSR were indulging in a space cometition,both were faced with a similar problem.They wanted something with which they could write in space.One could not use ball pens or fountain pens as there is no gravity in space. Both the Russians and Americans worked on this issue.The Americans came up with an astronaut pen, which was anti-gravity,anti-vicosity etc,spending a lot of money. The Russians ,they used the pencil. Focussing on the solution is more practical in day to day life. Focussing on the problem has great importance in research and development. One just has to mix match depending on the situation.
2 people like this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
4 Apr 07
I too have cited this example in the reply above. Great conclusion loudcry which you have mentioned in the last three lines in your response. One has to resort to his/her own wisdom. Good answer.
• United States
4 Apr 07
I do focus sometimes on problems if I feel that I can in some way help remedy them..you don't need solutions if there are no problems..So I say they both go hand and hand..:)+
@Melody1 (968)
• India
4 Apr 07
Correct littlefranciscan.We have to focus on problem in order to find its solution.Only this focus on problem should not consume us making it difficult to arrive at simpler solutions.Thanks.:-)
@villageanne (8579)
• United States
4 Apr 07
I am the kind of person that is always looking for solutions and then when I have one. I quit worrrying about it. I am a rule follower and I hate worry so I try to eliminate it from my life as much as possible
2 people like this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
4 Apr 07
Your approach is very positive.Worry steals the sparkle out of your life.True. Very nice thought villageanne
• Philippines
28 Jun 07
yes, you define it right. we people sometimes focus on the problems and not with the solution,. now i know what to do in case i encountered a problem. i must focus on the solution. what a nice post! i hope to read more quality post from you! good day!
@Melody1 (968)
• India
28 Jun 07
Thanks Kris.Good day to you too.
@tyler7h (85)
• Canada
27 Jun 07
In my opinions I focus on problems in order to understand them then I post a solution to deal with the problem. Because If you do't understand the problem than you can't really form an effective solution. So I believe that you need the best of both worlds in order to be successfull, but hey everyboday has their own system that works for them which is fine by me.
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
28 Jun 07
Yeah,its fine by me too.
@misheleen73 (6037)
• United States
17 Apr 07
This discussion reminds me of a qoute I've heard "work smart, not hard !!" Many people believe that with haed work anything can be accomplished. And while it is true, in your example alone, look at the time and money spent to make the x-ray machine. They definitely worked hard on that solution. The second man worked smart. He saw a problem and found the simplest, fastest, and most economic solution. I don't think it's a matter of focus on either problem or solution, it's a matter of evaluating the problem at hand and then devising the simplest solution. You must always see the problem first. If focused solely on solutions, what are you solving ? The problem must most certainly be looked at first.
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
18 Apr 07
Very well said mishleen73.A very balanced approach and brilliantly answered.Thanks
• United States
10 Apr 07
That is pretty smart. I as a person seem to do a little of both. If it is something that is REALLY troubling me, and it is depressing me I seem to not think as straight as I should. I guess maybe from now on I should stop focusing on the problems, and just make a solution. Point well taken, thank you for sharing :)
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
10 Apr 07
That was the idea LordGregoroftheSith.Glad to know you liked it. You are welcome.
@lizeri (533)
• Philippines
9 Apr 07
Winners focus on the solutions for the problem. Losers focus on the problems for the solution. I am more of a solution-finder. When I am stuck in a terrible situation, whenever I can't arrive on a certain solution, as much as possible, I look for alternatives. And I tend to calm myself because this is the first step for you to find a better problem-solver.
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
10 Apr 07
Focussing on solutions makes you a winner.Well said lizeri.Thanks
@kkanaka (887)
• Singapore
9 Apr 07
I think this is a beautiful example which shows how we approach our problems, I always try to deal with my problems in the same way, and I love encouraging words and stories which motivates me to do the same
@Melody1 (968)
• India
10 Apr 07
Keep yourself motivated kkanaka.Wish you happiness always.
@SONALIKA (573)
• India
9 Apr 07
hi melody, the answer to your discussion is all about perception that whether you see the glass half empty or full.it can be best understood as problems can either make you or break you.the hammer that breaks the glass canshape steel also,so it is upto you to be glass or steel.have a will power of steel and vision of glass.
1 person likes this
@Melody1 (968)
• India
9 Apr 07
Yes,that's right.Thanks.
@simran1430 (1793)
• India
5 Apr 07
A chronic problem can threaten far more than its immediate symptom. Small and very small businesses have less margin for error than their larger customers and competitors. You need to be sure that when you run into problems, they are dealt with quickly so they don't become a drain on your time and money.Larger organizations have found that formal, structured processes remove the trial-and-error aspect of dealing with problems. Without having to figure out how to approach a problem in general, an effective manager (or his or her support staff) can quickly get to the specifics of the problem and to the solution.The simple answer to why these processes are used less in smaller environments is time and money — the lack of time for training and lack of money for a full-time problem-solving assistant or staff. Plus, the idea of using an experienced — too often translated as expensive — outside resource to help the business deal with operational or customer service issues doesn't often come to mind for those that benefit from it the most.
@Melody1 (968)
• India
5 Apr 07
Structured and generalised solutions may not cure a specific problem.That's right. One of the most basic foundation of any business principle is -consumer satisfaction and trust,breach of which may result in long term damage of the respective business,if it does not address and rectify the problem with effective and prompt solutions. I appreciate your business strategy understanding and would like to thank you for sharing.:-)
• India
5 Apr 07
focussing on solutions would give some remedy to the problems.they really make a difference.psychologically, as far as i know, a person with a positive approach focusses on solutions rather than problems. But as far as i am concerned, i focus on problems but i ahve always been trying to change myself with respect to this.
@Melody1 (968)
• India
5 Apr 07
Yes,the answer does lie in changing perspectives.Like seeing a glass half empty or ,half filled.
@casasn (33)
• United States
5 Apr 07
Focusing on the problems brings more problems so why add more to what we already have? Seeing the solutions minimize the problem and give us the tools to deal with them effectively and get rid of them.
@Melody1 (968)
• India
5 Apr 07
Very well said casasn.Thanks
@weemam (13389)
4 Apr 07
That was brilliant , I always tell my son he looks for complicated answers when there is no need , He is rossdcurran on the site and I will send this link to him so he can read the diffusion and comment on it , thank you xx
@Melody1 (968)
• India
5 Apr 07
The pleasure is totally mine weemam.I hope it helps your son change his approach.:-)
@kkanaka (887)
• Singapore
9 Apr 07
I think this is a beautiful example which shows how we approach our problems, I always try to deal with my problems in the same way, and I love encouraging words and stories which motivates me to do the same
1 person likes this