I have seen this time and time again, sales people and managers who work hard to make tasks more complex than they need to be. A world that now includes CRM systems, instant messaging, easy to set-up portals, tools, tools, more tools and instant access information all work to make it more complex.

While watching the move Primer,  they made an interesting statement:

How did the Americans solve the problem of writing in space? They invested $1MM into building a pen that could write at any angle and in zero gravity.

How did the Russians solve the same problem? They used a pencil.

In day to day work, it often pays to boil the problem down to base elements. Simpler problems. Simpler solutions.

It is easy to make it complex, hard to make it simple. Leaders need to help teams make it simple.


I found this anecdote interesting, in a meeting the business leader provided the following guidance to his team as they were thinking about growth: “Be the architect of your own rescue. The cavalry ain’t coming”.

It is an interesting statement to ponder. I have personally always adopted this approach, but have witnessed many people who come to the table with the problem and not the answer. The true leader frames the problem and provides options on how to get to a solution. Another cliche that is applicable “Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”

In my business review last week, I faced this. On my overview, there were many challenges. As I looked at the format of the review (It was provided) I decided to take each challenge and add in the ‘Action’, whether it be an ask of another team, resource ask or an action that my team was undertaking to address that challenge. It drove home one message: our team has challenges, but our team also has a plan to be successful.

So, part of the solution or the problem? The cavalry isn’t coming.