January 10, 2016 karynross

Looking for ‘solutions’ in all the wrong places?

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Everyone is excited about the New Year, a time for new beginnings and fresh starts.

Its great to feel so much energy! However, as I’ve been reading blog posts about setting goals and how to reach them this year, I’m noticing a trend. Many companies seem to be spending a lot of time looking for the next new thing – the next great idea from somewhere or someone – that will provide their organization with a quick and easy solution to all their problems and allow them to reach their goals.

Whether it’s joining an online webinar on the newest data mining techniques, going to a breakfast seminar on the latest and greatest way to motivate employees, or hiring a consultant (or two or three, depending on what problems the organization seems to be facing), the promise of finding a quick solution “somewhere out there”, is unbelievably alluring.

The question I keep asking myself, however, is “why do we keep looking on the OUTSIDE for solutions, when the problems that we are having are right here where we are – INSIDE our very own organizations?”

In my opinion, if an organization isn’t meeting its goals, the VERY best place to start searching for solutions is not on the outside, but on the INSIDE, because that is where the problems that prevent organizations from satisfying their customers and fulfilling their purpose, occur. So, before you start looking for solutions outside your company, here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Start by reviewing your organization’s purpose: And when I say “purpose” I mean it’s true purpose for existing in the world, the “what-is-unique-about-my-organization-and-how-does-it’s-existence-make-the-world-a-better-place-for-customers-and-employees”purpose…not just reaching short-term quarterly financial goals.
  2. If you aren’t sure, or if it seems like you’ve lost sight of your organization’s true purpose (and believe me, it’s easy to do) you can start to create or re-create that purpose by asking questions such as: What was I passionate about when I started my organization? How do the products and/or services that my organization produce, help my specific customers? In one hundred years from now, how do I want people to describe the impact of my company on the world?
  3. Make sure that everyone in your organization know, understands and is passionate about that purpose.

In my experience, unless everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – from the customer service reps who interact directly with your customers each and every day, to the CEO, have a clear understanding of that purpose: “their yardstick to measure each and every decision against”, as I discussed in my last blog post (Are you prioritizing based on purpose?), how will they know how to make key decisions? How will they know how to prioritize work on projects and problems? And if they don’t know that, how do you – and they – know that the work they are doing on a day-to-day basis is advancing your organization closer to its short and long-term goals?

Your customers choose to work with you and purchase your company’s products and services because of the unique purpose your organization has. And that purpose comes from the INSIDE, not from the outside. So, if your company didn’t reach it’s goals last year and is looking for ways to change that this year, harness the energy and excitement of the New Year by beginning with purpose, by looking INSIDE, and I bet you can find the next great idea, the next new thing, and all the solutions you’ve been looking for, right there!

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