I just bought Norm Brodsky's and Bo Burlingame's new book, The Knack…How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up. Having met these two wonderful authors in a serendipitous way(see my post of May 3, 2008), I was excited to dig into their latest offering. It took me all the way to the middle of page two to recognize that this book is a winner. I share the excerpt:
"One of my best habits, for example, grew out of my father's practice of breaking down problems and challenges into their basic components. He believed that most issues in business — and in life – are fundamentally simple, even though they appear complicated at first. He taught me that, to deal with them, you have to examine the underlying elements and figure out what's really going on. Never assume, moreover, that the real issues are those that you see on the surface. That way of thinking has been one of my most powerful business tools over the years."
Norm Brodsky has very effectively communicated a fundamental that has served me well. First, I purposely practice what might be termed a bit of "schizophrenia." What I mean by this is that I enjoy debate, with myself and my team, which results in looking at issues from every possible angle. This can be somewhat frustrating to my team, as they sometimes find me arguing against what they thought was my own position. I find it very effective to verbalize both sides of any position. I feel strongly that passionate debate is a very powerful tool in arriving at good decisions and this methodology has served me well.
Equally as important, Norm strongly advises that often the real issues are not those on the surface. We find this the case in many of our consulting projects…what the client believes is the issue is simply not. In my opinion, the hallmark of a good advisor is one who forces the client to dig below the surface of an issue. Giving a client exactly what they want when they've self-diagnosed their challenge is easy. Helping the client see below the surface and face the underlying issues that are the root cause of a challenge requires experience, courage and understanding. However, the rewards are worth the effort.
Don't take either the first solution or the one that comes easy…it may lead to ineffective results or worse. Oh…and buy this book!