Trade Up to Bigger Problems

Opportunities are sometimes disguised as problems in all areas of our lives. All work environments have problems hiding in plain sight. As you might guess, the bigger the job responsibilities, the bigger the problems. So, if you want to move up in your organization, trade your smaller problems for bigger ones.


Another way to frame the bigger problem philosophy is to act like an owner of the company. A friend of mine worked for a small company with a disorganized warehouse. She saw the disarray in the warehouse, and because she took pride in her place of work, she took the time to reorganize the clutter. After a short time, she was promoted to warehouse manager and later to successive management positions. She eventually moved on to own her own successful company.



Here’s a question one of my college professors asked our class. In the workplace, will you have more difficulty performing the analysis or obtaining the data necessary to do the analysis? Most got the answer wrong…the answer is obtaining the relevant data.

In school, you are given data in textbooks and challenged with testing on that information, essentially solving problems from provided resources. In the real world, you may be asked to solve problems without being given the necessary data. It is incumbent on you to walk the minefield to get the correct or more appropriately relevant data. Several examples of problems you may face in obtaining the needed and correct data are  included in the book, but one example follows:

Example from WWII—During World War II, numerous planes were shot down, and something needed to be done to improve the survival rate. Engineers were called to analyze the problem and recommend a solution. The engineers examined numerous planes at the airstrip and recommended armor plating over the fuselage where the planes had been pierced by enemy fire. The plating was heavy and made the planes sluggish, and even more planes were shot down after the plating was added. What went wrong? The engineers selected the wrong sample of planes to examine. The engineers sampled planes that made it back to the airfield instead of the planes that were shot down. If they had examined the planes that were shot down, they might have recommended additional plating to protect the pilots and the engines. Instead, they reinforced the fuselage, which was not as critical as the pilots and the engines