Always important for the ambulance, hospitals, and firefighters. Planning for the unplanned. Addressing problems as they arise and being proud of the fix or resolution is important work, for some. Should you be proud of workplace problems? In general, probably not.
Several years ago, I facilitated an interesting business retreat. The leadership team wanted to understand how to communicate better, how to get unstuck, and most of all how to navigate the unsettling climate they faced as a team.
Get unstuck and work better together. It makes a lot of sense. In some regards, it sounds like it should be simple.
It should have been simple. Until I realized that they were proud of their problems.
Some people thrive on stuck. When things are stuck you need a hero to come bail you out.
Many management and leadership teams pride themselves on problem resolution. “Whatever happens, we’ll fix it.”
That is good to know. It is a reason to be proud.
It is a reason to be proud until that is the apparent reason for your existence. The Maytag repairman was lonely and bored. He may have benefited from a few more problems.
The manager who is needed every time there is a problem may feel valued and appreciated. His or her work counts, they are needed, and are the only one who keeps it all together.
I’ve heard it more than once. “All I do all day is fight fires.” Good and appropriate work if that is your profession. Not good and appropriate as a metaphorical expression of your job as a plant manager, office manager, or engineer.
Your job as the metaphorical firefighter may be important, but more important is having a strategy first and a tactical approach second.
Workplace problems arise. They happen, and they may be a sign of change. On the other hand, they may also be a sign of being stuck.
Know the difference between progress and stuck, stalled or stopped.
Be proud of progress not problems.
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.