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Is the Solution to your problem really that simple? Fix it.

Recently I walked into the gym to “my” treadmill and started running. I had seven miles to run, so I was going to be there a while. Complete transparency – I hate treadmills! I would rather be outside running in hurricane force winds, with the temperature blazing at 115 degrees and 98% humidity, instead of running on a treadmill. But that is besides the point. Over the past week I had noticed the treadmill right next to me was out of commission. Let me be clear: There wasn’t a sign on the treadmill stating that it was broken and it was definitely plugged in. Countless people would step onto this treadmill, try to start it, only to discover that there was a message scrolling across the screen in red letters: Motor Failure!

Every person would quickly push several buttons with a comical amount of frustration and over dramatic annoyance. Quickly giving up, each person would leave to find another treadmill. I thought to myself, “I wonder if anyone has told an employee that this treadmill isn’t working?” And yes, I always considered connecting with the front desk to let them know. But my mind would become preoccupied with the monotonous rhythm of my feet moving across the treadmill belt, and I wouldn’t think about it until I was in the car driving home.

The Simple Fix

One day as I was cranking out countless miles, something interesting happened. The scenario repeated itself several times until this one guy walked into the cardio room and stepped onto the treadmill. He followed the same procedure as every other person over the past week except with one treadmill altering exception. When he got off the treadmill, he didn’t leave to find a new one. He did something that no one had considered doing . He walked in front of the treadmill, bent over and simply unplugged it. He then waited a few moments, and plugged it back in.

Can you guess what happened?

It worked!

Finding the Fix

Think about this for a second: How many people over the past week do you think walked into that gym (it’s open 24 hours), stepped onto the treadmill, gave up and found a new one? Hundreds? Thousands?

Here is the point: The “solution” is sometimes that “simple!”

I recently realized that scheduling meetings with people was becoming an overcomplicated, time draining process. This one area was impacting the productivity of my staff and causing key strategic projects to slow down.  It had to be fixed – now! I discovered a great online calendaring tool called CALENDLY.  Calendly syncs with my google calendar and allows me to simply send someone a predefined email link. People have the option to choose from select dates and times that I have made available. Once a meeting time has been selected, an email to confirm is sent and the meeting is added to my calendar. The solution to the problem was just that simple.

  1. Is there unclear organizational expectations that is keeping the team or company from reaching its defined mission? Fix it!  Schedule quality time to clearly write out your expectations. Then meet with your team, individually or collectively, and share your expectations.

  2. Is there a broken system causing frustration and tension within your staff? Fix it. Gather key team leaders and clearly identify the issues surrounding the broken system. Then develop a plan to move forward.

  3. Is your action list out of control, filled with the urgent and not the important? Fix it! Purge your action list and capture the top five items you must accomplish today.

  4. Is there a relationship that seems to be a few degrees off? Fix it!  Call that person and schedule a time to grab coffee. Engage in a transparent and honest conversation with the goal to resolve the issue that might be residing under the surface.

Maybe, just maybe, the FIX is as simple as unplugging and plugging the treadmill back in.

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