Creative Problem-Solving at Work

I don’t know about you, but I think I have been subconsciously thinking that life was going to magically go back to ‘normal’ when school started this year.

But school starts in two weeks, and life is definitely not ‘normal’.

Over the past few months, we’ve made some changes at home and I’ve made changes with my business…but nothing felt quite permanent.

I read an article this morning about a car dealership in Pennsylvania and how they have creatively changed how they buy and sell cars. There was definitely a scary period of unknowns.  A steep learning curve. Lots of trial and error out of sheer necessity.

Employees started thinking “outside the box” and doing business in a way they would have never dreamed of before covid.

And now sales are at – or better – than pre-covid days.

“Emily,” you say, “that’s fine for the car salespeople of Pennsylvania. But our industry and business is confined by ___[fill in the blank here]____.”

Ok. I get it.

Change is hard.

And just for the people in the back of the room who think I’m not talking to them:

Change is hard.

We’re at a point in time when you’ve got two choices:

ONE: try to hold on to how life used to be.

TWO: let go of what life used to be – and open yourself up for new possibilities.

When I was contemplating a career change almost two years ago, I was terrified: I was scared to leave the comfort and the stability of my job – even though it was slowly eating my will to live – because I was afraid of all the unknowns.

I have learned that when you are holding on to your old life, white-knuckled and unwilling to accept change, you are not open to new possibilities.

You can’t see the potential in something new or different.

Being white-knuckled requires SO MUCH thought and energy. It’s exhausting.

And, again: you are expending so much energy holding on to what was, rather than living in the present and embracing what is. And what can be.

It’s worth asking yourself these kinds of questions and truly answering them:

  •   What has always been impossible for me and/or my team?

    • What has held you back in the past? Attitude? Education? Approach? Logistics? Funding?

  •  How has your business or industry changed in the past few months?

    • What is fundamentally different about how you operate now compared to a year ago? Make a list.

  • What do people on my team need?

    • Do people need boundaries? Do they need understanding? Empathy? Flexibility? Tasks that are clearly defined? Check out free download – dealing with depression at work for practical solutions to help your team during this time.

  • Is it possible to do things differently?

    • What is possible if all of your limiting factors (see first point) are no longer limitations?

Ask yourself these questions. Think about it. Write down your answers.

Then, ask your team the same questions.

Ask them to think about it. And write their answers down.

Set up an intentional time to have a conversation to discuss everyone’s thoughts.

Compare notes.

Really listen to each other.

Truly consider other peoples’ ideas, regardless of how ‘out there’ they might seem.

The ‘out there’ ideas right now are the ones that are helping us solve our most challenging problems.

The ‘out there’ ideas start as “WHAT?!? Are you kidding me?!? That’s never going to work.”

But after a few moments, and some additional conversation, the ‘out there’ idea might be the start of a really great idea.

A great idea that could change your business.

The important thing to realize here: we need each other now more than we (maybe ever) have in the past. I’m trying not to be dramatic, but we really and truly need each other to help solve our greatest challenges.

No one can do it alone.

You need a community of people to stand beside you, to back you up when you need it the most.

Remember that change is hard.

Try your best.

You got this.

Keep rocking and I look forward to connecting with you soon.

Emily

Have a question that you want some perspective on? Email your situation to
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