I read a story today that held a lesson too important not to share. The overarching premise related to creative solutions for business problems. The key lesson being that just because you [leaders] don’t get the answer you are looking for does not mean the answer is not an acceptable solution for the problem.
Allow me to take you back to my childhood for a second to bring this point home. I grew up on a farm just South of a small town on the Eastern Plains of New Mexico. The summers, outside of crazy boring chores, were packed with a ton of down time. My only mode of transportation were two wheels straddled by a frame, two peddles and a seat. It was four miles along the highway to the edge of town and another four to my nearest friend. Needless to say, I was not jumping at the chance to make the trip very often.
Both of my parents worked so my sister and I were left to make the best of each day. Days that included a long list of chores to complete before they made it home. On one occasion that list included a request for me to pull an acre of weeds no less than four feet tall [exaggerated for emphasis]. A project that wold have taken the better part of two days to accomplish [no exaggeration on this point].
Now I don’t claim to be any more resourceful than the next guy or gal but I can say that if there is a more efficient way to do something, trust that I am going to find it. In this instance, I went next door and asked by neighbor if I could borrow a few of his healthiest farm animals to assist in my assignment. He agreed and it took them the better part of a half-day to complete the project. They mowed the weeds right down to the dirt and in many cases pulled them out by the root. Needless to say, I was very proud of my accomplishment and could not wait to share it with my step-father.
“What were you thinking? I asked you to PULL the weeds,” he thundered upon my sharing. I was shocked. Devastated. And, angry. Why was my solution any less effective than his alternative? The reason according to the story I read this morning was because it was not his desired solution.
Getting to the point, how many times in our property management careers have we been put off or put back by resourceful thinkers that get things done in a different or better fashion than you. Do you coach them as it relates to your desired solution? Did you coach out of an underlying premise of frustration or anger? Here are some things to think about if you are in this crowd of thinkers:
1. Are you stalling creativity?
2. Are you screening out innovation?
3. Are you killing a free thinking environment?
4. Are you killing moral?
5. Are you losing good people?
Photo Credit: conversations.nokia.com