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Eat Those Problems and Love It!
By: Bill Thomas

Have you ever tasted good food? Spices, cooking times and ingredient quality make all the difference between a great or horrible meal. You are more likely to have a grand feast if it is the result of superior preparation.

Master chefs create an event theme, set up their kitchen-areas, select and prepare the raw materials, construct and integrate menu items into courses, and supervise the dining area and service to insure a fabulous experience.

Using this idea of 'masterful' cooking styles as our guide, I suggest that we look at handling our office or knowledge work in much the same way. Instead of thinking of problems or roadblocks as being tasks for managers, we should view those challenges as requiring acts of leadership.

You could view your problems as opportunities to create something that may be better or more effective than your normal situation. The biologist might say, "your response to stimuli should include an adaptation to or an alteration of your environment."

Napoleon Hill stated, "every adversity has within it the seeds of an equal or greater [beneficial] advantage." Most people think their problems are destined for a bad or terrible ending - but Dr. Hill's maxim shows us that every difficulty has the potential to produce praiseworthy and positive outcomes.

So, how do you handle your challenges or problems? Here are 10 time-tested recipes you can use to quickly cook-up tasty masterpieces of solutions - without any muss or fuss. You' ll find that 'clean-up' is a snap, too!

1) Your Problem has a "Need", a "Desire" and a "Want" - you 'Need', 'Desire' and 'Want' to do what or to achieve what goals [Goals - for example: I 'need' to lose weight, I ' desire' to be physically fit, and I 'want' to look good]?

2) Create 'knowledge' [relevant, applicable & valuable data] about the significance of solving your problem - by brainstorming, picturing or mapping, cataloging, and discussing the importance of solving the problem [Knowledge]

3) What would it mean to you if your problem or difficulty was solved? What might your world or situation be like if this roadblock did not exist? [Implications]

4) How would you describe the results of solving these challenges? Name the benefits and pay-offs that you expect to get when this problem is solved. [Payoffs and Benefits]

5) Using the answers of the first 4 items, what actions would you need to take to begin the process of transforming this problem into a new opportunity? [Action Plan]

6) Which resources of time, cash, expertise/knowledge, equipment, systems and materials do you need to help you work through your "action plan" [Resource Allocation]?

7) Who are the key people you need to influence, to assist you and to support you in your efforts [Key Stakeholders]?

8) How much more new knowledge, attitude and behavioral change, and specialized skills must you develop within yourself to achieve your goals [Leadership Development]?

9) How will you know where you stand? What criteria will you use to measure your progress towards the goal? [Measurement and Appraisal]

10) What will be your forms of reward and recognition for reaching or achieving your milestones, targets, and end goals? [Report and Reward]

Even if you only use 3 or 4 of these strategies, you are certain to see a tableful of solutions and feel more satisfied with your options for overcoming your roadblocks. obstacles and difficulties.

Please join me as we raise our glasses and "toast" your future victories over all of your challenges! Let's sit down, put on our napkins, crack-open those problems and eat the fruits of sweet success.

Copyright 2003, Mustard Seed Investments, Inc., All rights reserved.

Bill Thomas is Author of "The Leadership Toolkit" - a web based training program that improves leadership skills, energizes creativity and transforms you into a persuasive, empowering leader. Inspire Confidence, Be Creative, Enhance Your Leadership Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need To Lead!" http://www.leadership-toolkit.com/info.html

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