If you google the word solutions, you will find over four billion results, many of them from companies that specialize in providing solutions. From fashion, to food preparation to home décor to better relationships, to networking, modelling, remodeling, selling, purchasing and millions of high-tech answers, the world is ready with solutions before we even know what the problems are.
It seems that today we have developed a “righting” reflex, whereby we’ll make it right even if it’s not entirely wrong. Questions notwithstanding, we want to provide answers. Consider how many lists of FAQs you’ll find all over the internet ready with answers for questions you did not yet ask.
How about the countless voice activated telephone responses that have selections to take you to a solution – but what happens when none of the pre-programmed options suits your needs? How often have you been instructed to go to company’s website to solve your problem, when the problem is that you can’t get onto the company’s website.
And, if we don’t have an answer, we’ll spin one out anyway… “it’s all for the best,” “maybe it just needs some fine tuning,” “turn it off and reboot,” or “just ask Siri, Alexa or Google.” Yes, we have billions of solutions at the ready but far too often they do not address the actual problems at hand.
The Problem with Pre-Packaged Solutions
The truth is that there are far too many variables for solution- based businesses to solve the problem without understanding the context of that problem. For example, a brick and mortar mom and pop shop will likely not benefit from the same solution-based software as a Fortune 500 company. And when someone tells us the problem in their bedroom is that the room is too cold, and they need new windows, that doesn’t provide us with an instant solution. It actually begins the conversation.
To successfully find a solution, one should get some background, some details and an understanding of the problem as it pertains to the needs (and values) of the individual or the business. We not only need to listen to what the problem is, but in order to find a worthwhile solution, we need to approach the problem from the vantage point of the client, customer or whomever is seeking a solution. It’s not about whether I (or one of my employees) believes the room is too cold, it’s that the customer finds it cold and we need to find a solution that meets his/her needs.
Does the Solution Work?
It’s one thing to come up with solutions – that’s the easy part – after all, if you have the hiccups, you’ll get hundreds of solutions from friends, family and the internet. The problem is that 99% won’t work.
Therefore, the key to a good solution is whether or not it actually worked. You could be the best auto body repair person for miles, but, if every time a car leaves your shop the bumper falls off, maybe you’re not as good as you think you are. I actually know a psychologist who claims that his clients come in with an variety of issues and after one visit they are cured. The problem is that he does no follow-up with these clients, so how could he possibly know whether his solutions are working or not?
In the end, finding solutions not only means working from the vantage point of the person seeking an answer and discovering all the variables, but it also means making sure that whatever solution you found actually worked.
BTW: If you Google “solutions that worked” you come up with roughly 700,000 results – that means a lot of those four billion solutions aren’t working.