How do you address dilemmas in your life? Is there a way to find a solution to two conflicting problems?
An employer once offered the following scenario to some candidates for an important job:
“You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus: One is an old woman who’s obviously very ill; another is a close friend who once saved your life; the third is the perfect mate you’ve been looking for your whole life. What do you do?”
The options are obvious: You could pick up the old woman and possibly save her life; you could offer a ride to your friend to repay him (or her) for once having saved you; or you could invite your perfect mate because you may never find him or her again.
The best candidate gave this answer: “I would give the car keys to my friend and ask him take the old woman to the hospital. Then I’d stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams.”
Would you ever have thought of this solution? I have to admit this might not have been my first solution, but by far it is the best. When you think of your team and all of their strengths and weaknesses do you always know how to play to their strengths and down play their weaknesses? I doubt it is always the case. Truly that isn’t a flaw. All great leaders aren’t always “prepared” to handle every solution, but the key is having that knowledge and surrounding yourself with those who have key abilities where you might fall short.
The next key to being a great leader/manager following knowing what people you should have on your team is knowing what seat they should sit in on your “bus”. I’m sure many of you have read E-Myth, by Michael Gerber and Good to Great, by Jim Collins. These are both fantastic books for theoretical leadership and management strategies. Most recently however, I have read a fantastic book that brings these two books full circle in addition to providing a clear practical method for achieving the “traction” you need in order to have a successful business. Traction, by Gino Wickman, is a fantastic book that delivers a great message to entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike. I would never consider myself an entrepreneur, but I would say I am a business person. Being such, I find this book so simple yet so informative and enlightening. The bulb not only went off, Wickman found a way to teach me a system that would light it up and keep it lit. By learning the system, I now knew what folks to put on my bus, where they needed to sit and how to keep the bus running in the right direction by keeping them all focused (and help them grow and enjoy it all at the same time!). This was and for me is the perfect solution just like we saw at the beginning of this article. By finding the perfect solution for my team, I am much better able to serve my clients and offer them the best client experience. My team is happier so my clients are happier!