Is it a Problem or a Challenge?

Problem or Challenge

Problem or ChallengeOne of the things that motivational speakers and the “positive manager” will say is … “There are no problems, there are only challenges!”

Whether something is a problem or a challenge can certainly in some instances be classified by the way that we view it. For example if you are in business and sales are not going well you could say that is a problem or turn it around to so that this is a challenge to increase sales. If such a thing is viewed as a problem it can have a negative effect on the workforce whereas treating it as a challenge is a much more positive way of dealing with the situation.

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Problem or Challenge be Realistic

Whilst we may all wish to be positive in our outlook it can be very annoying when managers no matter what the situation tell their employees it’s not a problem but rather it’s a challenge. Why is that? The truth of the matter is simple. There are some things that are indeed problems. Let’s illustrate.

Imagine you are in a boat at sea, maybe a life raft. Your fresh water supply has run out. Now imagine you are in that life raft with one of the positive minded managers you know. He says “Now we have no fresh water so this is a challenge”. Oh no it’s not – it’s a problem. You have no water and there is no way that you can get any fresh water – this is a problem. If you were at the office and the water supply went off that could be a challenge because you should be able to go and get water elsewhere, it could be difficult particularly if you needed lots of water. However it could be possible and within your control or ability to arrange.

Problem or Challenge Personal Health

The same can be said when it comes to our personal health. Some things are a huge problem others present challenges but we must always be aware that people do have problems. We don’t want to try and simplify them to some kind of challenge. This is at the very least disingenuous and really does not encourage a person with ill health.

It’s good to have a positive spirit and taking on challenges and beating them is good as well as problem solving. However we need to be realistic and not sound stupid by minimising serious issues to some kind of fun challenge. It will undermine our own credibility.

How do you view things – as problems or challenges? Or are you realistic and can see that there are differences? Please leave a comment below on how you view a problem or challange.


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KISS Principle – Keep it Simple Stupid

Keep it Simple, Stupid – KISS Principle

The Kiss Principle - Keep it Simple, StupidThe KISS principle meaning: Keep it Simple, Stupid is credited to the US Navy in 1960. The best teachers are able to explain things in a way that their students will understand. The best procedures are easy to follow. The most well used tools although having a great deal of technology are simple to use.

We live in a world where it is easy to over complicate. There has been a huge technological and industrial revolution and science has come on leaps and bounds with all the complexity that brings.
The job of the technologist, industrialist and scientist is to make their inventions and discoveries workable. If they can make them simple to use they will bring massive benefits.

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Kiss Principle – Why is difficult to apply?

The difficult part for highly intelligent people is to be able to explain or make things that we lesser mortals can deal with. It takes effort to strip out the gobbledygook and apply the KISS principle.

Whether you are setting up an office procedure, writing instructions, training, explaining or manufacturing products then keeping things simple makes good sense. The KISS principle is often taught to salespeople so that they can make more sales because people that don’t understand something will usually not buy it.

Kiss Principle – Keep it simple – don’t simplify

We can all fall into the trap of talking to people in a way that we understand but not take into account that we might be using terminology that they are not familiar with. It’s very important that we understand our audience and explain things in way that they will grasp. This however does not mean changing what we say and deliver it as though the hearer was a child. One famous scientist once wrote that to teach well you need to keep things simple but not to simplify them.

So whatever you are doing always remember the KISS principle – Keep it simple stupid.


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It’s My Right

It’s my right!

it's my rightSo many people today talk about “their rights” and how they should be treated. Human rights are very important and should never be trivialised. However many today seem to have the view that everything is “their right” even when it is to the detriment of others.

Here in the UK smoking bans have been imposed in bars, the workplace (which includes motor vehicles) and other areas. Smokers cried out that their right to smoke was being taken away. These people gave little thought to the rights of those whose lungs were being polluted. I heard it once said that “your right to smoke ends where my lungs begin”.

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How about – It’s my responsibility?

With all this talk of rights I would like to turn this around and ask this question. “What are your responsibilities?” The world would be a far better place if people rather than thinking about what they can do in a selfish way gave more thought to what they can be responsible for. There is no doubt that many road accidents are caused by people who have the view “it’s my right” rather than “it’s my responsibility”.

I am sure like me you have also come across those people who are managers that fail to take responsibility when things go wrong. It’s never their fault. They are quick to claim credit when things go well but where are they when trouble is on the horizon? If want to be a real manager then “man up” and take responsibility for what you do. It may be uncomfortable at times but you will gain the respect and trust of all those around you.

Politicians are experts at passing the buck and seem to thrive on the blame game. Look at their reputations! If only they took their responsibility seriously most people would have a very different view of them.

Next time you’re tempted to think “It’s my right” – stop – change it to “what is my responsibility?”



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