When Is A Solution Not A Solution?

Here’s something that will help you get back on top of your game – in sales or in life.

Question: When is a solution not a solution?

Answer: When it ignores what caused the problem in the first place.

Any solution, which neglects what really caused the problem, isn’t.

Desperate moves and bad advice only mask the underlying situation. In fact, they allow the problem to fester and grow more deadly. A well-known fact is that a false diagnosis is worse than none at all, especially when the remedy kills the patient. It’s an endless pit and just digging harder won’t get you out.

I’ve found some professionals in many fields (including sales) exacerbate this problem by assuming they know best before they understand the problem. Some lawyers are particularly inclined to this type of behavior, but you will find bankers, politicians, and other thieves also guilty as charged. Too often they shoot from the hip, which increases speed but ruins accuracy.

My own (bad) experience with such characters will serve as an example. I once found myself in a delicate situation with legal and financial implications. The professional consultation I received was so bad that it multiplied my problems and verged on the edge of negligent incompetence.

As a result, it required enormous financial cost and significant emotional stress to get things back together again. Yes, perhaps I could have figured it out by myself, but it was the first time I’d ever walked down that road and I felt I needed “professional” advice. I was right in theory – in practice I was wrong.

(Note to self: Accepting advice from those with no skin in the game is risky business)

In fact the only professional worth her salt was my C.P.A. She alone researched the options and decided on the most effective, efficient, and beneficial way to handle the situation. Then she did so without requiring further work from me. Her expertise and abilities were worth their weight in gold.

Overall, the best advice for such situations comes from the always wise, Will Rogers, when he said:

When you find yourself in a holestop digging.”

If you find yourself falling deeper and deeper into any sort of hole, stop frantically trying to cope, grasping at straws in a vain attempt to fix it. Knock off all the introverted searching for answers to questions like, “Why did this happen?” or “Why me?” or “What did I do to cause this.”  All you’ll do is dig yourself in deeper with each question.

Instead, stop digging. Clear your head by any usual means, take a walk, go to the gym, go to a movie or out to dinner; whatever seems right to you at the moment to get yourself back in the drivers seat.

Then, look at the situation, identify and name it; and then decide: What is this?

Next, estimate your own experience and skills in handling whatever it is that you come up with. If you’re up to it, then break it down into doable doses and begin tackling it. If it’s well above your realm of competence, get a referral from a trusted friend to find a reliable professional in the field to work with.

Meet with them to see if they are interested in your case and whether you feel you can trust their advice. Get a second even a third opinion if necessary.

Then decide: What is the exact next step to take?

Finally, do it!

Continue those steps as above (stop, look, decide, do it) until the situation is under control again and you’ll be on your way.

Enjoy the ride.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2010-2030, all rights reserved

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