How to Solve Problems (Part 2)

This week on the podcast, John continues his lesson on problem-solving. Last week, John shared some observations about the nature of problems, and this week he’s going to dive into how to solve problems. John has seven R’s that will help remind you how to solve problems when they inevitably come your way.

In the application portion of the episode, Mark Cole and Jason Brooks discuss how hope can bond the optimist and the realist when it comes to problem solving despite the tensions that often arise between both personality types. They discuss how hope can benefit our attitude, how to get yourself and your team to refocus in the midst of problems, and how your core values act as a constant guide in the midst of problems.

Our BONUS resource for this series is the How to Solve Problems Worksheet, which includes fill-in-the-blank notes from John’s teaching. You can download the worksheet by clicking “Download the Bonus Resource” below.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT

Mark Cole:       Hey, welcome back to the John Maxwell Leadership podcast, Mark Cole here and you have joined us for How to Solve Problems, part two. Now, if you've not listened to part one, I'm going to challenge you to go back and listen to John Maxwell's lesson last week when he talked about how to solve problems and gave us nine observations about problems and problem solving. Today we're going to do more than observe problems, we're actually going to learn how to effectively solve problems. I'll be joined today after John's teaching with Jason Brooks. He is my co-host today, an incredible leader, a great problem-solver, and we look forward to sharing with you today in part two.

I do want to tell you something that we have just done in the John Maxwell Enterprise that I think you'll be interested in. We've developed a brand new application called, LILO, L-I-L-O, and it is an app for your smartphone, it is an app to take with you. We really want this app to become your best friend for personal and professional growth. We think it's basically the Netflix of leadership, an app that will give you videos that are designed to help you succeed in your leadership journey. You'll have all kind of resources from many experts and friends of John Maxwell including John himself. You'll be able to consume this entire virtual library any time you wish, as often as you wish, wherever you are. You can go, we're offering today for our podcast listeners, a seven day free subscription for you to observe and taste and see if you like this application. Go ahead, go to johnmaxwell.com/lilo, that's L-I-L-O, and you can start your free seven day trial now. Please use the code, podcast, when you checkout. You're going to love LILO just like you love this podcast.

Now, if you have not downloaded the show notes from today's podcast, you can go to maxwellpodcast.com/solve. That will get you the notes, you will enjoy John Maxwell. Jason and I will be back with you soon. Here is John Maxwell.

John Maxwell:  I want to share with you now seven R's to solve problems. The first R is rule. Rule your emotions. In other words, you've got to get control of yourself. A recent survey indicates that people with emotional problems are 144% more likely to have automobile accidents than those who do not. An alarming factor revealed in this study was that one out of every five victims of fatal accidents had a quarrel with somebody within six hours before their accident. Rule your emotions. I love the quote in your notes, it says, "If you keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you don't understand the problem." We've all been there. Billy Graham said, "Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything." Wow.

Every leader needs a way to relieve tension. How do you do that when you're all stressed out? You've seen one too many people, you basically don't want to see people. How do you relieve tension? I used to put names of people that caused me problems on golf balls. I still remember doing that one time and facing the woods on a tee area and the guy said, "Wait a minute, what are you doing? You're facing the woods." I said, "I know it." I held the golf ball up to him and said, "You see this? Bill's causing me some problems and I'm going to tee Bill up right here. I'm going to put him in the woods." Can you imagine the therapy of hitting a great drive with Bill and just watch him go in the woods? It's kind of like the sea of forgetfulness, you know what I'm saying? I hit old Bill in the woods that day and I mean you could hear him hitting lumber, those trees, boom, boom, boom, boom. It was like old Bill was in a pinball machine. Every time he hit, I said, "Yes, yes, yes." This is a great relief.

I know you guys pray, but this is how I do it. What was funny on this day, just as life is life and problems are, and will be, what's so funny on this day is that golf ball with Bill's name all of a sudden came out of the woods and flew right back at me and literally landed at my feet. I didn't even have to take a step, I just reached down and picked Bill up. I looked at my buddy and said, "There's some problems you just can't get rid of." You've got to rule your emotions.

The second way to successfully solving problems is to remember what God can and will do for you and for me. Robert Schuller said, "Impossibilities vanish when a man and his God confront a mountain." Bob Pierce, who was the founder of World Vision, used to talk about the gap between what he could humanly accomplish and what could happen only if God intervened. Isn't that wonderful?

The third R in successfully solving problems is, refuse to give up. Remember, the moment you say "I give up", someone else is seeing the same situation saying, "My, what a great opportunity." That's so true, that is so true. One person walks out the exit door and says, "Wow, there's nothing there" and another person walks in the front door and says, "Wow, what opportunities I have. "Somebody told me one time, "I've just never had the opportunity." Of course you have, we all have opportunities. It's not an issue of us not having the opportunity, it's an issue of did we see the opportunity. Part of the key of not giving up and refusing not to give up, part of the key of doing this successfully is starting for the right reason.

Here's what I have found, when we start a project for the right reasons, we'll have the right reasons for continuing the project. But when we start a project for the wrong reasons, we'll have all the wrong reasons for stopping the project. A lot of times, our exit is only because our entrance wasn't what it could be. Now, I want to say this, you'll almost know always that you're doing a project for the right reason when what you leave was better than what you're going to. You only would leave a good job for a tough one if it was for the right reason. You don't leave a good job for a tough one for the wrong reasons.

The fourth R is to refocus on the task. Refocus on the task. When faced with adversity, we make one of the following decisions. Number one, to flee it. We've all been there. In other words, the quickest thing to do is take off and run. Or number two, to fight it. Sometimes we say, "I'm going to fight that adversity." Sometimes the rule of psychology is what we resist will persist. Haven't we seen that before? Or thirdly, forget it. These, by the way, these first three are wrong responses to some of these problems. Number four, to face it. One guy said one time, "I can face anything as long as I don't have to open my eyes." In the area of problem solving, there's a lot of refocusing on what the issue is. I love to play the game of golf. One of the things I found about golf, it's such a mental game, that's one of the reasons I like it. One of the things I found out about golf is basically somebody like myself that's not a real good golfer is you make some bad shots. Your ability to make a good shot on the next hole is based on your ability to forget the bad shot on the last hole.

I've seen many, many golfers who can never forget the bad shot they had or the penalty stroke on the last hole. I watched them carry that with them into the next hole in the whole process. They did not have the ability to refocus. Sometimes we have to refocus and ask ourselves during these problems not what am I losing but what am I learning? This is so key to be able to say, "Okay, what am I learning out of this process?" I read one time a great statement that said, "25 years ago, I wish somebody had told me to make the first loss the last loss." This means don't chase after a bad decision, try to rectify it or defend it. Face up to your problems, fix them or bail out. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Concentration is the secret of strength in politics and war and trade. In short, in all management of human affairs." The greatest definition of concentration I ever heard was this one, "Wherever you are, be there." Wherever you are, just be there.

Charles Dickens, a description of him one time, he was of course a 19th century British novelist, he said, "He did everything as if he did nothing else." Good concentration. We now need to refocus, number five, the fifth R of solving problems is realize your enemy's strategy. If we're going to really solve problems we have to look at our enemies, the people that are going to hurt us and we've got to realize what their strategy is.

Number six, rethink your strategy. One of the best ways to solve problems is to spend some time realistically thinking what your strategy is and problems, many times, are wake up calls for creativity. Einstein said, "The significant problems we face cannot be solved" oh, this is a great statement, I love this statement. I'm going to go back to the first part again. "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." Because every one of us fight tradition, every one of us have dead horses, you know what I'm saying, come on, sacred cows. But we've got to rethink our strategy. In other words, if we're having problems, especially what amazes me is when we continually have problems and nobody seems to grab ahold and say, "Wait a minute, there's a reason why we continually have these problems."

Here's what I believe. I believe we all have problems but I believe when the same problem continually occurs, it's because we're riding a dead horse. We've got to rethink our strategy. What can I do to make this different. Another great quote, "No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking." Wow. Again, in some circles you could just strike out sustained and put thinking. Just thinking would be fine, right there. How about a little bit of thinking? Don't be sustained, just have a little bit of it right now, it would help. I'm giving you how to successfully solve problems when we're talking about the seven R's. I'm about to give you number seven but let's review here. Number one was rule your emotions, number two was remember your God, number three was refuse to give up, four is refocus on the task, five is realize your enemy's strengths and six, rethink your strategy. Number seven, return to the work.

John Perkins said, "There are three kinds of people in our society. Those who can't see or refuse to see the problems, those who see the problems and because they didn't personally create them are content to blame someone else, and those who see the problems and though they didn't create them, are willing to assume personal responsibility for solving them." Tremendous statement. Thomas Watson, who was the first president of IBM said, concerning problems he said, "Solve them. Solve them quickly, solve them right or wrong. If you solve it wrong it will come back and slap you in the face and then you can solve it right." Isn't that tremendous? He said, "Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it's without risk. It's an absolute fatal way to manage a business."

Teddy Roosevelt one time said, "Have you got a problem? Do what you can, where you are with what you've got." I think that's where we start. You know, when I began this lesson today on how to successfully solve problems, every one of us identified the fact that we have a problem. Some of them are larger than others. We've laughed a lot about problems and we've looked at realistically how to solve them. But you may have a huge problem. You may have something that's pretty big. Remember, again, it may not be huge in another person's eyes but it may be huge in yours because you're the one that has to wrestle with it. But the day I learned to solve problems was the day that my leadership took a major turn in the right direction. That's when I learned also in solving problems is the biggest problem about not solving the problem is that problem never will go away.

What's a leader to do? Think about it for a moment. Recently I had a wonderful conversation, they said, "My people aren't ready yet." I looked at him and I said, "Of course they're not ready. That's your job. Think about it for a moment, that's what a leader does, isn't it? Gets the people ready." You see, if you have problems, thank God you have problems, that's where a leader steps forward. If you've got issues and people aren't ready to make changes, thank God for that. That's the call of leadership. Say, okay, they'll be adversity, there will be tough times. It won't always be easy but let's get people together and do it. I want to encourage you, in closing, be faithful to your calling but also I want to encourage you, wade back in there and deal with the issue at hand.

Mark Cole:       Welcome back. I love how John, he said his last words there, now deal with the issues at hand. I went, "Okay, podcast is over. Jason, you and I are not doing any application, I've got to go upstairs from our studio, I've some problems I've got to deal with." Any leaders out there in podcast land kind of just want to shut everything off right now and go deal with some problems. I love it because John said, "The biggest day in his leadership was when he learned to solve problems." I do believe that. I mentioned last week in the intro of our podcast Carly Fiorina says, "Leadership basically is simply solving problems." Last week, Jason, you and I debriefed how we work hard to observe problems. Today we get to work and demonstrate how we solve problems. I'm looking forward to jumping with you today and learning and applying and hopefully, Jason, solving some problems.

Jason Brooks:   I am really fascinated by where John chooses to start this. He said, "The first thing we have to do is we have to rule our emotions" which I'm a fairly, I wouldn't say I'm an emotional guy. I certainly have emotions and feel emotions but I wouldn't say I'm ruled by my emotions. But John says that when it comes to problem solving, there's going to be an emotional response. There's going to be something that's beyond logic or beyond rationality or maybe beyond our prim and proper business facades. I wanted to ask you, you've been in leadership a long time, you've been with various different types of leaders, what are some of the ways that emotions frustrate our ability to solve problems? Then how have you seen leaders successfully learn to rule their emotions?

Mark Cole:       Well, I love the question and I hate the question. Here's why I say that is because it depends on the emotion. It depends on whether I love it and feel all great about it or I hate it and wish we could go onto the next thing because truly, it is hard for me, high I, high D leader on the DISC profile to take emotion out of my leadership. In fact, recently I've been challenged by many around me that are familiar with the ideogram tool that shows you how you bounce from one personality or one emotional style of dealing with something to the other, depending on how frantic or how out of control you feel. I've got to tell you that as a leader that has passion in my top five values, this is a really hard point that I have to work at constantly. Recently, I was in some meetings with some of our team. There was a lot of problems around one of the opportunities that we were pursuing. Our team starting the meeting, I alluded a little bit to this last week but our team started this particular meeting with giving me four or five things that was going to stop us from being able to accomplish this opportunity.

I felt myself, Jason, getting more and more frustrated with every point that was made of an obstacle of not helping us get there. To be really honest with you, when they were done talking my first three to five minutes was a tirade of why opportunities are never pursued because this tax issue or this ramification or this illegal obstacle always stands in the way. It's no wonder there's not very many good opportunities out there anymore because there's too many reasons why they're not good. Then I caught myself, Jason, and I went, "Whoa." Just because we started a meeting in my mind with high optimism, we went to the basement of optimism in the first five minutes did not mean I needed to figure out if I could dig a deeper elevator shaft. We were already at the basement but here I was, trying to go deeper. I caught myself and I went, "Whoa. That's not what the team needs." That is, perhaps, how it's perceived in some of our teammates minds but how it's perceived in my mind is we're still going to the rooftop. We're still going to the penthouse with this opportunity. We're still going to do something incredible with this opportunity.

Slow your role, Mark. Take your negative emotion out of it. Don't even replace it with high emotion, just replace it with hope. The way that I rule my emotion goes back to our conversation last week that we had, the way I rule my emotion is remove the high optimism, the low pessimism out of it and just replace it with hope because everybody wants hope.

Jason Brooks:   I really appreciate that answer because there's all sorts of strategies to how you can rule your emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy, you can meditate, you can take a time out, write yourself a note, whatever. I love the idea of taking everything else out of it and focusing on the hope. Focusing on what is good and what can be done through that good.

Mark Cole:       You know what's interesting, Jason? I've been thinking on this since we recorded last week that a person that is more realistic, I think that's the word you like to use, is more realistic, not pessimist but realistic and the person that's more optimistic, there is a common bond. They both want hope. It's not that somebody is pessimistic because they don't want to succeed or realistic because they don't want it to succeed, it's not that somebody is optimistic because they think it's going to be a cakewalk, they think it's going to be easy. The commonality then is hope. The commonality is for you and I to arrive, we really do want this to work. We really do want to make a difference with our activity. We really do want to have a growing, thriving business.

The way I think we ought to rule emotion out is find common ground. Not pessimistic, optimistic, realistic. Not any of that. Let's find common ground. What do we hope to get out of this? As I go back and think through that story I just told about that difficult meeting, I wish I would have slowed down and said, "Hey guys, just before we continue in the challenges that face us, do we all really want this project to work so that we can impact people?" I wish I would have slowed my emotions down and found common ground to begin to build something together because all of us want to make a difference, every one of us.

Jason Brooks:   That's one of the best leadership insights I think I've heard in a long time because John talks about there's more that we have in common than what divides us but we focus on what divides us and that becomes the bigger issue. I love the idea and I think there's really a lot of genius in it. We're all around this table or we're all facing this particular problem because we have a shared hoped for outcome or we have a shared hope of what could be. Let's find that common ground, let's focus on that hope and then collectively build. I think that's a great way to begin facing any problem, whether it's financial, personal, professional, whatever. Where is the hope that we share and how do we build on it? That actually kind of leads into the next question that I had. John talked about point two, remember that God is with you, what he can do for you. There's a faith element that we obviously introduced but I think faith has a lot of different connotations. Faith is a part of hope. When you get to that third point, which is refuse to never give up, how does hope allow us to really develop a never say die attitude? How does hope prevent us from giving up so quickly and just saying, "We can't do anything with it?"

Mark Cole:       I think the absence of hope is giving up. I do. I think that you and I have walked a journey with a lot of people in a business setting or a health setting or a difficulty and that moment that people quit hoping for a solution is basically the moment of giving up. I think hope really relies, I'm reminded, I don't know if I'll be able to articulate it, it's visually very much in my head but I think it's a frog in the mouth of a seagull of a bird and the bird is trying to swallow it and the frog has got his two hands out there squeezing the neck of the bird so he doesn't get swallowed. He's sitting there going, "Hey, you may have me in your mouth, I may not can move but I've got your throat and I'm not going down." I think about that with all of us in business settings. I know that certainly was us in 2020 as we were leading and perhaps many of you listening to the podcast, we didn't know what was going to happen early 2020 with our businesses. We didn't know if we were going to pay people or be able to sustain and keep business going.

All we knew is that there was a level of uncertainty because there were no mentors or anybody that was living that could help us live through a pandemic. We hadn't lived through a pandemic. We didn't know that. But I never walked into our offices, Jason, I never had a meeting with you, I never had a moment that there was not a conversation of hope that said, "We're going to get through this." I think that's because we have exercised the muscle of hope and we have built the backbone of persistence. We are going to figure this out. I think if with see refusing to give up kind of as our backbone, square your shoulders and resiliently stand and believe and then we couple that with hope that we've talked a lot about, I think that is a difference maker.

Jason Brooks:   I agree. I like the idea of persistence as the backbone because hope isn't just an empty wish that things will get better. Hope is the sincere belief that there is a positive outcome that you're working towards. You have that ability because of things that you've already come through, times that you stood fast, where you've persisted through problems and you've seen forward progress, you've seen motion, you've seen growth. Maybe it wasn't what you expected but you still saw there was good that came out of the resilience, the persistence, the belief that there was a better tomorrow. I think that's really powerful when it comes to problem solving because people do get hopeless really quickly, especially if it's a new problem. 2020, like you just said, none of us had ever lived through anything like that. It was easy when the pandemic first hit for people to be like, crater and feel a sense of despair. It took leaders, it took individuals saying, "We may not have been through this but we've certainly been through challenging things before and we've succeeded. We can build on that and we can move forward."

That goes to what John's talking about in point four, which is refocusing on the task in front of us. I wanted to ask you, especially given 2020 but just in general as a leader there's been a lot of times where you've had to learn how to effectively refocus, to shift your perspective, shift your attitude, shift the temperature of the team. How do you or how have you learned to refocus and how have you learned to help your team refocus in the midst of problems?

Mark Cole:       Just even as you were asking that question I went back to the show notes. Again, gang, we provide these show notes for your benefit. You really should go and download these if you don't. MaxwellPodcast.com/Solve because the reason I say that right here is I'm sequentially looking through how John laid out these points. Rule your emotions, remember your calling, refuse to give up or remember your why, refuse to give up and now refocus. I don't think you can refocus in a time of emotion. I don't think you can refocus if you don't get to the foundation of why you are doing what you're doing. If you don't recall in times of difficulty your why, your calling, you will have a more difficult time seeing a way forward. Then you've got to go, "Hey, whoa, whoa, stopping is not an option. Rule that one out." Too many times we walk into refocus going, "Is this really legit? Should we really be doing this?" In other words, we're not holding onto the neck of the duck like we should. We are giving ourselves an out. You can't refocus until you have gotten your emotions in check, until you remember your calling, until you refuse to give up. Giving up is not an option. Now you really can refocus. When you ask, "How do we refocus?" Go through the first three steps and make sure you're there because you're going to be less encumbered with distractions to really refocus.

Now, John says, "Flee, fight, forget, face it." He gives us four things there that are really helpful but I will tell you the most helpful thing he's given us is the three points before because to really refocus, what is refocus? Remove distractions. What is focus? Getting laser intent on where you're going. Remove the distractions of one through three is the foundation of a refocus. You were in the leadership meeting when I looked at everyone in April of last year, of 2020, and here's all I'm hearing. "Well, we were supposed to be here but we're 42% down. Last year at this time we were here but we're 38% down. This year we were going to be doing this but we're 58% down." I went, "Holy Toledo, our value is growth." I'll never forget this, this is a moment I will draw from for the rest of my leadership life. That is, if you know your values and a set of financials are distracting you from your values, stand up in front of your leadership team and rip up the financials because your values are more important than your financials.

Financials come and go, we have years like COVID and we have years of plenty like I hope 2021 is for all of you listening. But let me tell you something, your values stay in the good and the bad. We refocused in April of 2020 by tearing up all of our plans. Now, most people say, "Refocus is pulling the plans out and how are we going to get it?" There was no way to get there. We're an organization that values growth. We redid our entire plans by May so that we could start celebrating growth again because growth is more important than last year's disrupted plans.

Jason Brooks:   Again, I hope you're taking notes, I hope you're listening, I hope you're really paying attention because your values really are the thing that are going to pull your forward in time of problems. You can't rely on the past and you're making what tomorrow is going to be. For the day, for today, the moment that you have, you have to remember what your values are and build off of that. John talks about, in point five, realize your enemy's strategy. I'm not necessarily sure who your enemy may be but-

Mark Cole:       Myself. That's mine.

Jason Brooks:   Talk to me a little bit about what is some of the self-sabotaging strategies that we have to recognize in order to move past them?

Mark Cole:       Well, for me, just listen to me. It's emotion. I've got to rule my emotions. We're sitting here doing a podcast last session and Jake had to stop us because he didn't have the screen on the mic. My emotions were making us pop. He had to stop the whole show and say, "Look, Mark, if you're going to keep getting this excited, I've got to put a screen cover on this microphone." That's funny and that's fun. Hopefully you enjoy my passion in podcast land. I hope you do. Let me tell you something. Here's the weak side of that. When I get frustrated, passion still happens. It comes out as intensity. Passion is my friend, intensity is my enemy because the people around me don't understand the intensity with which I am employing to get something done. It works for me, it's worked for me all of my life. But in leadership and especially as I continue to expand the level and the perspective from which I'm leading, emotion, passion, starts feeling like intensity and displeasure. I'm not displeased. We've got to move. I've got to go.

You and I, Jason, we're trading texts back and forth yesterday. It took me a couple of minutes to realize my very frank, forward texts could have felt, now we can debrief this or not, this is not the point, but it took me a minute to go, "Oh, wait, maybe the way I positioned that, which was just intense, this is something we need to work on, let's go, could have felt to somebody else with the struggles of a different paradigm as displeasure." I'm going, "I'm not displeased at all Jason. You're like the bomb in my opinion." We took a few minutes there. I self sabotage myself with too much emotion or too much intensity. I'll tell you another one is I live from mountain peak to mountain peak. John's just taught me we go from accomplishment to accomplishment to accomplishment. When it's taking me longer to get a particular project done I can get distracted or bored because I'm used to getting to that next peak. When the journey to the peak sometimes can seem so long that I get bored or distracted with it. It's not that I wasn't made to chase the next mountain peak, it's that sometimes I forget the chase takes longer between the mountain peaks. So I self sabotage. I get distracted. I get disoriented. Boy, I can give you 100 of them of how I self sabotage, actually.

Jason Brooks:   John didn't give a lot under that but I think the application you just gave there, folks if you're listening, that might be the single greatest point for you to meditate and spend a little bit of time on because the cartoonist, Walt Kelly, one of his famous lines is, "We have met the enemy and he is us." A lot of times we are our own biggest blockade, our own biggest enemy. We have to get past our issues. Not just emotional issues but bad habits, bad perspectives, bad attitudes. Things that we've yet to learn. We've got to grow. That's why growth is so important as a leader because it helps you become the best version of yourself. That's why we do what we do. We want you to become that best version of yourself because that's what is going to allow you to continue moving forward and seeing greater success. The sixth point that John has, he talked about you have to stop and rethink your strategy. What are some of your rethink habits? Or what are some rethink habits that you've picked up from John that when you're analyzing a problem or you're looking at a way that you've approached things, what are some of the best tricks you've learned on how to rethink and still move forward?

Mark Cole:       Well, I think it was Andy Stanley in a podcast or maybe he's written one of his books about it but we need to learn how to do an autopsy on success, not just on things that are failing or things that are done. I think Andy was onto something that rethinking our strategy should be a discipline, not an occurrence. It shouldn't be something that we're going, "Oh, it's not working. We've better rethink our strategy." Or, "Oh my goodness, we need to reinvent ourself, let's rethink our strategy." No. You need to be rethinking your strategy weekly, monthly. Whenever your leadership team is together, you need to be questioning how your strategy is working, why it's working, why it's not working and what should we be doing to make it work better.

The best thing I've got on that for you, Jason, and for our podcast listeners is rethinking a strategy is not an occurrence, it's a discipline. Keep your assessment and accountability and your openness, too many people start treating their strategy as an 11th commandment. This was good enough for us back then, it should be good for us until there's no more gas in the vehicle. Guess what? If you don't rethink your strategy of getting from point A to point B by considering that maybe times you need to stop and get some fuel, you probably are going to end up on the side of the road somewhere. Same thing with business. If you think yesterday's strategy is so good because it worked for you for the first year, two, three years and you're not rethinking it, reworking it, refueling it, then you probably don't have a discipline of rethinking your strategy.

Jason Brooks:   I love the idea of strategy not being a fossil but a living thing.

Mark Cole:       Yep.

Jason Brooks:   All right, last thing that John talked about was you need to return to the work. That immediately made me think about the success cycle that he teaches, which if you've never heard this before, the success cycle is test, fail, learn, improve, re-enter or return. Why is return so essential and what are some of the keys to successfully returning to work? Now that we've done all this self examination, we've examined our strategy, how do we get back into the groove of doing what we need to do?

Mark Cole:       John has a statement that I'm quoting a lot lately. We don't do just show. Show is not something that we do. We're not putting on a show. We do show and tell. We have to act. In fact, if given the choice of having to do a show or a tell, we want to tell. We want to tell you so that we can show you. In that perspective of action, really the show part of show and tell is really important. I've seen too many people in difficult times that want to talk more about the difficulty or talk more about the problem then get moving. Too many of the problems I have faced required movement to see the solution rather than strategy to see the solution. I've watched, again it goes back to my statement last week on paralysis. Don't let problems paralyze you. Let it propel you into action. Problems are solved on the move not in a boardroom. Get out, start moving, get focused, return to work and the problems will work itself out.

Jason Brooks:   I love that, problems are not a red light, they are a green light. Let me ask you this green light question. How do we reproduce this problem solving mindset in our teams? How do we make sure that this is anchored in our people so that we don't have to reteach or revisit it every time there's an issue.

Mark Cole:       I'm going to tell you what I would do with this lesson, this podcast. I would sit my team down once a quarter and together, as one of my leadership meetings, I would go through this lesson. Now, I'll tell you how serious I am about that. Go visit John's 15 minutes of content last week, 17 minutes of content this week. Put them together and don't even listen to Jason and I with your team. We just gave you some application, you need to have your own application. But I would take the show notes right here of this podcast and once a quarter, because problems are a reality of leadership. That's why John's last book is going to be Leadership Sucks. Because it's problems. It's problems. There's no two good consecutive days in a leader's life, we said that last week. You are going to have problems. If you don't have them now, you need to prepare yourself because I'm reminded of John Maxwell's quote of John Wooden which says, "When opportunity presents itself, it's too late to prepare." When problems present itself, it's too late to prepare. You've got to move.

For those of you that have problems, for those of you that don't, here's what I would highly recommend. Take the content element of last week, the content element of this week, the show notes from the two weeks and take your team through it once a quarter. Let that be your leadership meeting. Because you will have problems in leadership. The final thing that I would say, Jason, and we'll sign off for the day. John, at the end of the lesson, his teaching quoted Teddy Roosevelt that said, "If you have a problem, do what you can where you are with what you have." Gang, too many people are waiting on resources or answers to help them solve their problem. You need to start where you are, you need to take what you have and you need to begin moving toward the solution, moving toward the solution. Jason, thank you for today. John Maxwell, thank you so much for the last two weeks of problem solving. I have been challenged, I am ready to leave this studio and go work on some problems and come back and give you more application next week.

We do hope you've enjoyed the John Maxwell leadership podcast, we hope we've served you, we hope we've added value to you. Until next week, do us a favor. Go comment wherever you're listening to this podcast. Go subscribe and share it. Don't hold onto this resource alone. Get other people on the journey with you. Thanks again for listening. Until next week, let's lead, let's change the world together.

2 thoughts on “How to Solve Problems (Part 2)”

  1. I look toward every week to these podcasts. As a business owner problems are always going to come up. Life happens. It’s great to have resources at my fingertips that I can go to for suggesting how to solve them and move forward.

  2. Loved this – so motivating! I am going to do what I can, where I am with what I have and get on with it!
    Thanks!

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