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    4. July 19, 2019

      Why do the most obvious solutions evade even good executives and managers?

      Ashton Closner
      National Training Director/AffordaCare Insurance

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        My work with executives, business owners and managers has not only been interesting but shocking more times than I care to admit.  Why is it that talented people often times miss simple solutions to nagging problems or inefficiencies? The over whelmingly good news is that the solutions will be found, the bad news is, how long before it is found and implimented.

        I can't speak for all executives or owners but the single biggest reason is usually one of two things.  First they are either have too many important responsabilities or projects going on at once or secondly they have a delegation or staff competency problem.  One very big question that I usually pose to everyone I consult with is an old one but still very true.  Why do the greatest athletes and performers in the world still pay for coaches?  Even olympians have a minimum of 1 or more coaches to help them maximize their efforts and potential.  I find it amazing that someone works hard enough to become a business owner, CEO, COO or manager and then think they can be their best without honest, educated feedback.  Rarely can anyone get it within their organization form subordinates.  Sometimes we need to hear the hard truth behind closed doors and say damn I needed that!  I have had the priviledge of having multiple mentors and paid advisors in my life that have helped me achieve the success I have enjoyed.

        The task I would like to tackle today is to answer the forementioned question.  The great news is the answer is extremely simple and does not take a long time to implement.  Once a week, once every two weeks or minimum every month every executive should have someone, outside of his organization, that he or she meets with and discusses their most pressing concerns.  This meeting, once established, will reveal many obvious solutions to many of his concerns in a fraction of the time.  Most leaders I work with not only appreciate the obvious solutions but the supercharged feeling of momentum that is injected into his or her progress towards their goals.  All leaders have down times, frustration times, stressful times and their mental and emotional state is critical to the success of their organization.  Every good leader I know does not want to share major concerns with their teams or subordinates, they want to motivate, inspire and lead by example.  Great leaders are the servants of all so to speak, putting everyone else before themselves.  These same leaders need a support system where they can bounce ideas and share concerns without troubling the troops while doing so.  Obviously having a person or team of people in this capacity is not the only factor and I do not suggest that this solution will accomplish everything a leader needs but virtually every leader I have ever worked with has said they only wished they wish they had implemented this strategy sooner.  Forrest for the trees is one of the oldest and often used analogies for missing the obvious simple solutions because we are fixated on the insignificant details distracting from the big picture.  The beauty of my job often times is that I can listen to a situation, begin asking questions and 8 out of 10 times the solution presents itself to the leader.  I consider myself two things because of my diverse experiences in business; forst a professional problem solver and secondly a gifted asker of the right questions.  I always have the distinct advantage of uncovering a solution without the stress or pressure of the day to day tasks of the leader I am meeting with.

        Mentors, coaches and consultants are a proven strategy but only when they are a good fit with the leaders they are working with.  The first time someone attempts to contact someone, spend  some time making sure they are a good fit for your needs.  Great consultants, mentors and coaches will be the first to excuse themselves when they don't believe they are a good fit for you.  Never take this personal and ask for a recommendation as they will generally know who would be a good fit.

        I hope this article helps everyone who reads it, though I expect primarily two readers.  The first will cheer and say I agree and the other will usually say I need to consider this myself.  Action is the only thing that counts, many say only results matter but you will never get results without action.  Best of luck to all of you leaders that strive to make evryone else's lives meaningful!


      Ashton Closner


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