SOLUTION-MINDED
  • Developing creative approaches to fulfill the needs of others

  • Striving to succeed and staying positive even when encountering resistance

  • Searching for a resolution to satisfy the needs and requirements of all parties

HARRINGTON COMMENTARY:

Finding creative solutions to challenges and opportunities is important -- just make sure you are searching for the right solution and keep an eye on the details. Let me illustrate.

A few years ago, I needed to attend a business meeting in San Marcos, TX. The meeting fell in the midst of a busy week. I needed to be at the meeting, but I only had one day to invest in this trip. My challenge: San Marcos does not have a major airport. It is mid-way between San Antonio and Austin and it isn’t the easiest place for a “day trip”.

I talked to my business contact in San Marcos and I explained my conundrum. We talked about it and ultimately came up with a plan. I would fly down to an airport about an hour away from the meeting. He would pick me up and take me directly to San Marcos. Immediately after the presentation, he would speed me back to the airport, and, if everything went according to plan, he would drop me off at the airport ticket counter 30 minutes before my flight home took off. Perfect Plan!

The day of the trip came and everything was going smoothly. I got to the airport in plenty of time for my flight, it took off on time, and I landed on schedule. The plan seemed to be working flawlessly, but there was a problem: I landed in San Antonio. My ride was in Austin… 80 miles away.

We had not communicated which airport to meet at. We hatched this wonderful plan to get me to San Marcos and back to Oklahoma City in one day. We talked about the logistics and carefully laid out the timelines necessary to make this trip a success, but we did not clarify which airport I was going to be picked up from. How is that possible?! It sounds like such a ridiculous mistake – even now, years later, I am just shocked at how obvious this oversight should have been. Yet, it happened and I flew to the wrong airport.

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At Funds For Learning®, we practice a GuideMark called Solution-minded: developing creative approaches and searching for resolution to the challenges that our clients encounter. As we do so, it is important that we not lose sight of the solution we are after, or the important details related to that solution.

For my trip to San Marcos, I was looking for a way to accommodate my client’s need for a face-to-face meeting that day. I was striving to be solution-minded, but in the midst of it, I lost sight of a critical element. I flew to the wrong city and it negatively impacted the day. Although I eventually made it to the meeting that day and still got home to Oklahoma City that night, the whole day felt rushed and the meeting did not have the impact it could have.

That trip is a reminder to me of how easy it can be to lose sight of important details. A solution is only as good as its weakest link. When I lose sight of what I am trying to do (or which airport I am trying to reach), it can derail, or degrade the service and support that I provide others. Therefore, I strive to clarify goals and clearly communicate assumptions as frequently as possible

And I fully intend to never, ever, ever fly to the wrong airport again.

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Key Words and Phrases

Strive for an answer; Find a new way; Seek a resolution; Persevere; Solve a problem; Deliver the results; Don’t stop at the first hurdle; Address the need.

Opposite Terms

Close-minded; Decline; Reject; Refuse.

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GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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