Make Problems Interesting

“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.”  Paul Hawken

I came across this quote and fell in love with it. If you read my blog regularly you know I have address this topic before. Businesses are in business only if they solve problems.  (

The challenge all managers and leaders have is how to get other people engaged in the work you need them to do.  One way is to order them and threaten them. Do the work or else! This may gain compliance but it’s not actually a good management technique and people who manage like that aren’t managers, they are bullies pretending to be managers because – no one ever taught them how to actually manage.

A better way is to understand, you are in the business of solving problems and the problems you are solving are worth solving, or I hope they are.  If there is a problem in how you are solving a problem, well, that’s worth solving too.

Do your employees even know what the problems are that you hired them to solve? Or did you just hire them and ask them to do a job but not explain to them why this job needs to be done?  I ask because - the not explaining why the job is being done is a sin of staff management that is committed ALL THE TIME!  (Yes I have a course on this - - Yes it’s worth taking- yes it will help explain to your managers what a manager is actually responsible for. Yes I can include it as part of an on-boarding training for new managers that includes sexual harassment training for )

If you want engaged excited self-motivated employees, start with making sure they understand that you are in the business of solving problems. Explain the problem you are solving. Explain the solution you have that is really constructive and helpful at solving the problem. What you will end up with is employees who actually get and understand WHY they are doing the work they are doing.   Will all your employees be engaged? Of course not. That’s not a realistic goal. But more will be engaged by this approach than a – just do your job approach.  Engage your employees in problem solving.

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