The biggest mistake you can make when you have to solve a problem is to outsource it to someone else no matter what the problem is. You own the problem, so you better know how to solve it. This does not mean you actually have to do the actual work. But you must be able to explain the problem, its causes, different solutions being considered, the preferred solution that you can sell it.
But you may be saying, you often don't know enough to solve a problem. Then learn it--fast. There are no shortcuts to solve problems. Today this is not hard since we have easy and fast access to so much information. It does not take long to understand your problem and come up with solutions if you are willing to make an effort.
I ran into a difficult problem recently when my bi-level chimney in my house became unstable due to settling.
What to do?
I am no chimney expert, so first I had to gather as much information to understand the problem and then come up with the best solution for a reasonable price. The solution at a reasonable price means you have to do a lot of work since there is a lot of biases among contractors and in some cases, a lot of scams taking place. Your only antidote to being scammed is to know more than the experts and the scam artists. If you don't then you are partially to blame for becoming a victim.
Along the way, I realized that every contractor I called, I learned more and I didn't stop till I knew more than the contractors. Fortunately, this didn't take long with Google and YouTube.
What would you do if you ran into this problem?
Some contractors said they would strap the chimney to the roof and the house to stabilize it.
Some contractors said that they will demolish half way and rebuild the chimney to stabilize it.
Some contractors said to demolish the whole chimney and rebuild it.
As you can see those chimney experts had all kinds of solution to this problem but what did they not ask to propose a better solution. This is something we all will run into when we deal with experts. They are experts of what they know, not what the best solution is for you.
Before you pick one, I have to give you one additional information, and that is that the chimney is primarily used to remove the exhaust from the water heater. And the water heater is more than fifteen years old. The furnace is not using the chimney to vent the exhaust.
Now, what would you do?
Okay, here is the solution I came up with after thoroughly understanding the problem and different solutions.
Step1: Replace the existing water heater with a high-efficiency water heater that does not have to use the chimney
Step 2: Demolish the chimney and not rebuild it since it is no longer needed.
Step 3: Repair the wood paneling and install vinyl siding to cover the area used by the chimney.
The total cost for this was approximately $7,000 from worked performed by licensed contractors.
The only person who came up with this solution was me since no one understood the problem completely like I did. The reason for this is that no one spent as much time on it as I did. In the end, it was my problem, and I owned it, and I wanted to own the solution too.
Now, this is something we all are going to have to deal with something similar if you are a homeowner, but the point is that we have to also to do the same at work and come up with an optimal solution. And it is not easy and quite cumbersome. You have to keep asking till you become the master of your problem and solution and have lots of patience.
One last thing. You have to ask really stupid questions to become smart fast. I learned this from all the episodes of watching the TV detective show" Colombo."
Jay Oza is a writer, speaker, executive coach. He makes people thrive on high stakstage whether ii is job interviews, sales presentation or an important speech. He is the author of the book Winning Speech Moments: How to Achieve Your Objective with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere. In addition he was recognized with an award from Hire Heroes USA for his volunteer work with military veterans and their spouses. coaching them get good high-paying jobs transitioning from military to civilian life.
Please download the speech checklist and the speech workbook to help you with your next high stakes speech. You can get more information at www.winningspeechmoments.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-847-9877. If you have a high stakes event coming, contact him right away. It could be the difference between winning and losing.