Tag Archives: big problems

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big problems

Big Problems Require Big Effort

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Some problems are simple. Some problems feel silly once we see the solution. Big problems typically don’t go away easily, otherwise, we probably wouldn’t be discussing them.

In the workplace we hold meetings to solve problems. Change is often met with opposition, always eager and ready to point out more difficulties, and more challenges.

Resistors insist that the proposed resolution will break the system, lose customers, and start an unstoppable downhill spiral of events that will end in devastation.

Workplace Challenges

Twenty years ago, I remember holding meetings with sales teams and operations groups. During the meetings I used an easel pad to capture what they identified as problems.

Following the meetings in my office I would review the large flip-chart sheets and spend more time to understand the data I had captured.

The problems were complex. They involved numerous departments and workgroups. Budget and money were factors for resolution. So was training, on-boarding the right people, and keeping systems operational while change emerged.

Because of the complexity and budget, it meant that I couldn’t single handedly address their concerns. It would require buy-in from investors and other organizational leaders.

What did I do?

Big Problems

I spent time with the people in the decision flow who had a voice and could impact the necessary areas to address the challenges. This required more meetings, more time, and more red tape.

What didn’t I do?

Unfortunately, I didn’t immediately get back with the teams that spent the time to discuss the challenges. I didn’t spend enough time to follow-up, follow-through, and keep them apprised of the status. I assumed they understood the careful navigation required to address their concerns.

Through their lens, from their frame, I wasn’t doing anything to help with their problems.

I felt rather silly. Twenty years later I still feel kind of silly writing about it. The problem is, we often take many behaviors, actions, and inaction for granted.

Make a big effort. Be thorough. Circle back. Do it timely.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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small errors

How Small Errors Become Big Problems

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It is common for big problems to be linked to big errors. Often though the big problem developed from small errors that grew over time. Are small errors worth fixing, or should they be ignored?

Bad Habits

It often feels natural to skip over the little mistake. Many believe it is perfectly fine to procrastinate about the task at hand, brush it off, and save it for later.

Habits are formed this way. The habit may be to shrug and walk away. Place the blame on other circumstances or situations. Ask who was the last person who touched it and suggest that the starting point exists somewhere else. After all, you’re too busy.

Wrong Directions

We were late because of traffic.

The guy on the corner gave us bad directions.

The signage is simply not adequate on this road.

If you are lost, do you keep driving hoping to pop out at the right place?

Certainly, this may work if you’re close. As in, close to having the right directions, but if you are traveling North when you should be going South, good luck. Your problems are compounding with every mile.

Most of the time our wrong turns, bad choices, and faulty data are not because of an isolated incident. They are the result of compounded issues that grow with each successive twist or turn. They grow bigger and get faster. Worse yet, they get further away and harder to come back to.

The result is a bigger problem.

Small Errors

A messy customer experience doesn’t get better when you wait. Often the issue festers. While it festers the same experience can be inappropriately duplicated.

The problem grows over time. More people affected, more costs eroded, and a brand that sours.

It seems likely that sometimes the best way to deal with big problems is to deal with them when they are small errors. Casting blame, looking away, or denial of an issue doesn’t let anything slip away except more time and money.

Next time there is a small error consider fixing it before it grows into a big problem. It is the right kind of habit.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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