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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

When Solutions Become Problems

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Solutions can go awry

Things that seem like a good idea at the time can turn out to be anything but.

For example, you and your gang just want to have fun. So, you go to Amazon dot com and purchase a “Beach Behemoth Giant Inflatable 12-Foot” beach ball. And, off to the beach you go!

Then, you post this on Amazon:

Review: “We took this ball to the beach and after close to 2 hours to pump it up, we pushed it around for about 10 fun filled minutes. That was when the wind picked it up and sent it huddling down the beach at about 40 knots. It destroyed everything in its path. Children screamed in terror at the giant inflatable monster that crushed their sand castles. Grown men were knocked down trying to save their families. The faster we chased it, the faster it rolled. It was like it was mocking us. Eventually, we had to stop running after it because its path of injury and destruction was going to cost us a fortune in legal fees. Rumor has it that it can still be seen stalking innocent families on the Florida panhandle. We lost it in South Carolina, so there is something to be said about its durability.”

(This is a real review I spotted on Amazon. I didn’t make this up. LOL)

Example from the offices of Schulte and Schulte

Problem = Develop a system to maintain payroll promptness for both in-house and clients

Solution = QuickBooks Full Service Payroll sends email reminders

Secondary Problem = QuickBooks Full Service Payroll sends a multitude of email reminders, which then must be forwarded to the internal firm payroll specialist.

Solution = Virtual assistant sets up auto-forward of these emails.

Newest problem = Tonya no longer receives notification concerning paying her employees. As a matter of fact, the internal firm payroll specialist receives notice to pay herself. And That’s Not Allowed. Big Problem!

And, this is what happens when you add a layer of efficiency, and it breaks your working solution.

It seems H. L. Mencken may have had it right when he wrote, “For every complex problem there is a solution which is clear, simple, and wrong.”

Here’s another problem scenario

You sit at your desk, head in hands wondering what in the world possessed you to get into the construction industry in the first place? The system you have in place dealing with (choose one or more) is not working!

  1. People

  2. Processes

  3. Equipment

  4. Materials

So, what do you do when you find a perfectly good solution which turns out to be a problem of its own?

First, let’s talk “lost cost fallacy” about which I dealt in length here.

The bottom line, if it is not working, dump it if the only reason to keep it is you have already put so much time and money into it.

Other solutions

Let’s go back to the problem discovered by Schulte and Schulte concerning payroll reminders. A few solutions came to mind:

  1. Change instructions to the virtual assistant

  2. Place in-house payroll reminders on the calendar

  3. Set up in-house automation

As you can see, spotting the problem is the first step to solving it. Some problems, like this one, are glaring. Others may be less visible.

Your fires, the things constantly popping up to interrupt your day, often have their basis in solutions you’ve chosen, which no longer work optimally.

Be it apps, deployment strategies, operational systems, job assignments, broken equipment, or dysfunctional tools. Things can change. Whether you have growing pains or maintenance issues think in terms of creating systems you and your staff can change as necessary.

Be certain your employees understand that one part of their jobs is alertness for ways to improve systems, operations, client satisfaction, handling, and so on. Being on the hunt for ways to improve, means you’re better prepared to take on the broken solutions as they come your way. And don’t think they won’t.

Solutions coming up

Next time we’ll dive deeper into one proven method for finding and resolving problems in your construction contracting business.

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers.

Schulte and Schulte provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

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