Is it a problem or an opportunity?

Is a problem really a problem or are we just looking at it the wrong way?

As the start of a new year I’ve been attending a lot of staff meetings to not only get ready for the new year but review the half of the completed fiscal year. Every company has its bumps in the road as does every story in life. As we talked about our past and future as a company there was never a negative tone. In fact all the speakers used a positive tone no matter what department they were from.

I thought it was very interesting that in two separate meetings the speakers spoke about problems being opportunities. They both had their favorite quotes to refer to. One referring to not missing a good crisis. Another about turning a negative into a positive. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the silver lining metaphors and various other quotes used for looking at things with a positive view, but this was something that stuck me for the first time.

A problem or a crisis gives you the opportunity to pause for a small moment. It gives you the opportunity to try new ideas, concepts, formats or maybe a complete transformation for the company! Before the problem or crisis arrived things were always done in a certain way, practically forced to stay this way because the amount of change was too drastic.

There’s a chance to take the company in a new direction that may have never happened if problems never came along. Everything would level out and there would be no need to change.

Take this extremely simplified example that has nothing to do with business….

Imagine yourself with long gorgeous hair. You love this hair. You would never do a thing to change it. Life just seems dandy until your devious little brother comes and chops half your hair off! You cry over the heart break and you don’t know what to do. Your hair is totally uneven. Its clear you have to just move on from morning and try something you’ve never thought you would. You put on your best face and walk into the salon. You decide to take a risk and just tell the hair stylist to do whatever she likes to fix it. When its all over the new hair cut you weren’t sure about makes you look the best you ever have! You’re so good looking now you get a modeling job right away!

Okay, obviously I’ve gone a little over board here with my analogy, but I hope you get my point. When a company (or any one person really) gets hit with a big crisis, switch it around and make it an opportunity.


5 thoughts on “Is it a problem or an opportunity?

  1. Hi Katie,
    I really like this post and completely agree that finding the opportunities to ‘reinvent’ or change when problems arise is a powerful way to move forward in the right direction. I’d also like to propose an even more challenging issue which is finding the opportunities to change before problems arise. When you look at some of the most successful companies today, particularly in the technology industry (think Apple, Google, Facebook), they are often searching for innovative new markets and technologies before any downturn or problems with existing products. Perhaps that’s simply a sign of the industry they are in where Schumpeter’s gale process is clearly evident, or perhaps they have a deliberate strategy to do so and avoid becoming reactive. Either way I think it’s an interesting concept and great advice to young professionals to always be searching for opportunities.

    • This is a good point as well. I think this is the other side of change. Change can happen due to something that is uncontrollable or, as you suggest you can make change. Innovation is key. You should always be adapting, this goes for people and products. Researching what else is happening around you, new advances is key to staying ahead of the game. Then you can be like one of these companies you mentioned who always seem to have the next big thing!

      I still think the underlining key here though is to remember change is a good thing. A negative perspective can always be changed to a positive, that change is just up to you.

      Thanks for your advice and insight, Patrick!

  2. This is a great post Katie. I think it is very important for us young professionals to always look at everything as an opportunity. Recently I have been given a lot more work because a team member transferred to a different department. While the extra work is making me feel a tad overwhelmed, it is a great opportunity for me to prove that I can handle the workload. It is all about how you look at things!

  3. Pingback: Blog Roundup #9 | A Young Pro

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