Start-Up: Who Moved My Problem?

Start-Up! is weekly column on entrepreneurship, start-ups, technology and innovation, powered by the Adams Hub for Innovation.

We all share a common problem in this world. That problem is called people. Most of our challenges and daily frustrations can be traced to a person. Is this truthful in the sense of being right or is this just our flawed human perception? The world, many might argue, is how we perceive it; that is in fact our reality. So, I challenge us to decide, what is the wise thing to do when a problem arises?

In business and our entrepreneurial endeavors we all face problems. There are 4 types of problem people:

The Problem Creator- “It’s YOUR problem, It’s YOUR fault”

This type of person brings disorder into your life; they are trouble makers and often do what they can to make your life difficult. They are not interested in solving the very problem they created or claim exists. Positive resolution is often not an option, and your opinion is not warranted. Do not try to defuse the bomb. It will explode. “It’s your fault. And, you are left in the rubble to pick up the pieces.”

The Problem Shifter- “It’s someone else’s problem, they are to blame, It’s NOT my fault”

Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here.” This person is the opposite of Truman; they are your classic narcissist and can do no wrong. They appear confident, but are scared of what others might think of them. Their perception is misguided; the only barometer of measurement is in their own consistent denial that they hold no responsibility for the problem. This is the person whom you often recognize because of the empty take-away feeling you have in your gut after you attempted to resolve an issue. They are great at making you think something is most likely wrong with you, and you are the problem for bringing anything up in the first place. “Sit down. Shut up. Stop moving around. And, if you think there is a problem, go fix yourself. Stop bringing your BS to me; I have enough problems to deal with from other people”.

The Problem Deflector- “What problem?”

This is your coward. Not only do they dismiss at times who is to blame, they claim there is no problem. They avoid confrontation as if it were some deadly epidemic. They are people pleasers, and rarely ever face any internal or external problems. They appear to be friends with everyone, and while they think of themselves as “The Fonz”, they look more like the cowardly lion with the tail between the legs. Often, they are the most selfish; they will placate others to get what they need even if it hurts the other people in the group. “But, hey, yo, I wasn’t trying to hurt you on purpose. My bad.”

The Problem Solver-“It’s MY fault, It’s MY Problem”

This is your entrepreneur. They troubleshoot. They trail-blaze. And, yes, sometimes they upset others. They care more about solving the problem than what others might think of them. They are often perfectionists. And, while they are not perfect, they strive to bring resolve to help the success of the product and the organization. This is the person who assumes responsibility for the problem, not to be a martyr or carry the guilt, but rather to best position themselves for creating solutions in perpetuity. Will H. Johnsen once said, “if it is to be, it’s up to me.”

So, the next time you are frustrated with how something is going or being handled, think about what could improve the situation or fix the problem. Consider various options and likely outcomes for each option, then step in and help create a great solution.

Jeff Glass is a serial entrepreneur and Chief Operation Officer of Alpha Media Group.

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