POINT TO PONDER
“Just because you reported nine problems and the guy before you seven does not mean you are making progress.”
-Jim Boyd, One of the bosses from my early-days in industry.
STORYLINE “ I sent you to Manila to solve problems not come back and report more” -Mr. Dowd
The year was 1980. The large defense contractor I was working for had offered me an expat assignment in Manila. I was invited to attend a presentation by the team that had just returned from Manila after visiting our subcontractor facility.
Listening to the presentation by the leader of the team, it seemed that there were many big problems at the subcontractor site, and there was no end on the horizon. To a newcomer like me, the situation looked very grave.
As the leader was about to end, Mr. Dowd intervened and said, “Let me conclude it for you. I sent you guys to Manila to solve my problems, not come back and report more. I already knew that I had problems before you went, so that's why I asked for you.”
One person from the team said, “But Mr. Dowd, the problems are very complex and difficult.”
To that Mr. Dowd replied ”Yes I know. That is why I asked you to take the project. If they were easy then I would have found someone else and not bothered with you.”
The story above and many more practical lessons that I learnt after that day from Mr. Dowd, Jim Boyd, and my superiors early on have been so valuable in my life and career. How true that companies hire us because they have problems (aka Challenges) in the first place? The expectations are that we spend time wisely in getting effective and timely solutions.