Create a Problem

This week at work, I encourage you to create a problem. In fact, tell yourself not to resolve an issue without creating a problem, and no, this will not get you in trouble at work. 

Let’s say there are 100 people at your workplace who share a single printer. People often leave their printed papers at the printer either because: 

  • They have forgotten about it 
  • People have gotten their prints mixed up and someone picks up the wrong papers so printing needs to be done again 
  • Someone picks up someone else’s print my mistake and puts it back when they realise 

This causes the company to waste money on ink, paper and power. It causes frustration among your team members and looks unprofessional to clients who visit the office. Of course, there is a way to resolve this issue, and the easiest options are to either educate staff on paper and ink wastage or recycle the leftover prints at the end of the day. Which of these is the best solution to follow? 

The correct answer is that neither solve the issue; they are simply temporary fixes that almost hide the problem. The real problem is that team members are making poor printing decisions that are costing the business. Everybody makes mistakes, and to avoid these mistakes, a business needs to have policies in place that address business standards and processes. 

The prints that have been taken from the printer are useful, but those that have been left behind are simply wasted resources. You can throw the papers away every night and educate as many team members as you want, but that does not solve the issue. The issue will only be solved once you prevent the prints from occurring in the first place. To do so, a system needs to be in place to resolve the issue. And to get the business to make this change, you need to create a problem. 

With the printer issue, everybody can fix the problem by taking turns throwing away wasted paper. However, no one will be looking for a way to stop these papers from being printed in the first place. It’s up to you to find the cause and fix the problem, and to do so, you need to create a problem. You must inform the business about the costs of the wasted prints and then offer a solution. When you present a problem and then give a solution, it becomes easier to gain the support you need to resolve the issue. 

This week, I encourage you to create a problem at work. Find an improvement that will boost the efficiency of your business, team or processes.