Think Solutions, Not Excuses

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If you want to raise your perceived value to your leadership team and become a person of influence in your organization, think solutions, not excuses.

Douglas Ivester, former CEO of Coca-Cola taught me this powerful lesson as he stood in front of a group of executives and said, “Bring me solutions, not excuses.”

Mr. Ivester, a formidable opponent who admittedly loves hand-to-hand combat, had stimulated the engineers at Coca-Cola to produce the first plastic bottle that had curves melted in the shape.

When the snazzy new bottle went onto the production line in Birmingham, Mr. Ivester expected reports of success and triumph.

Instead he received a call from the head of engineering for Coca-Cola with a familiar line, “We have a problem. The new plastic bottle won’t run down the line.”

“Where are you?” Doug barked.

“Why I’m right here in my office next to yours.”

“I can’t believe you would call me from your office. I would expect you to call me from the Georgia Alabama line.” Ivester slammed the phone down.

One hour later he got a call from the same person who said, “I’m at the Georgia-Alabama line. Can we talk?” and Doug replied, “I have all afternoon to talk about the solution with you.”

What a valuable lesson from a successful leader.

Why spend hours talking about the problem? Take two minutes, identify the problem and then spend two hours finding a solution. Your time will be well spent and you’ll be seen as a competent, contributing member of the organization.

 Problems are of no consequence when excuses are replaced with solutions that are tenaiously pursued. — Karla Brandau 

 Tactical Tips 

When a problem is discovered, the mind will dwell on that problem and try to find people to validate the problem and commiserate on the lack of solution. To turn this tendency around, THINK SOLUTIONS. When you identify a problem: Think critically. Find out what caused the problem or why the problem occurred.

  1. After you have critically analyzed the situation, make a conscious effort to move your mental mindset to solutions.
  2. Avoid the “Everything always turns out wrong for me” pity party.
  3. Ask team members and colleagues advice.
  4. Try creativity principles to look at the problem in new ways.

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