Take Your Biggest Problem and Skip It

Daniel Burrus
November 26, 2019

Daniel Burrus

One of the World's Leading Technology Forecasters and Business Strategists
Personal Development Futurists

Take Your Biggest Problem and Skip It

Every business runs into issues that can or will halt progress and cause the company to stagnate. These include slow cash flow, out-of-date technology, and long sales cycles; you name it, it likely exists. Often, when trying to "fix" the problem, the company gets even more mired in the challenge and can't seem to get past the roadblock. They focus on the problem and either shift into crisis management mode, letting the problem dictate their every move, or perhaps they solve the problem, but in doing so, uncover that it was never the real problem. Either way, the company is being agile instead of anticipatory.

A Simple Solution

A better solution to solving those tough problems is to just skip them. I know skipping a problem completely sounds simple and almost daunting in nature; however, it is necessary.

How can this help? When you confront your roadblock by leaping over it rather than letting it stop you from reaching your goals, you see new solutions that you never realized existed. Keep in mind, this strategy is in no way meant to encourage you and your organization to procrastinate or pretend that problems don't exist; they do. The strategy here is to realize the real underlying problem that's causing your company trouble and making a conscious decision to find a solution to move forward instead of being blocked by it. When a company reorganizes everything, they're about to solve an internal problem that isn't the real issue at hand, they are bound to that problem.

If you think this solution sounds fanciful and idealistic, I assure you it isn't. This strategy is actually a great way to free your mind and view the problem in new and more conducive ways. Consider the following real-life examples of how this strategy has helped companies overcome challenges and make smarter decisions.

  • A small manufacturing business started getting many requests for several additional products, but in order to meet the increased demand, the company would have to borrow the capital necessary for a major expansion. The business was relatively new, so without a large track record of successful sales and stability, its request for a loan was ultimately rejected by the bank. Instead of putting off the expansion of both the products and the company itself, they decided that the problem at hand could be skipped by way of pre-selling the new products. With those advanced orders in hand, they were able to secure the loan with the bank and proceed.
  • A company whose job is to solve scientific problems decided that in order to solve said problems faster and accelerate new product development, it would need to triple the number of R&D employees. Despite their career in finding solutions, the roadblock they faced in this situation was that employee costs would also triple, and at the moment, the company couldn't afford that.

They chose to skip the problem of hiring expensive employees by creating an online R&D forum, wherein the company posts difficult problems needing solutions and offers payment to anyone who can solve the problem.

By making the site open to any scientist with an Internet connection and posting the problems in over a dozen languages, the company created a global, virtual R&D talent pool of independent help, which has found solutions to problems that have literally stumped its own internal researchers. One of the great beauties of this strategy is that the company pays for the virtual researchers' time and effort only if they come up with a feasible working solution, the amount of money the company pays for a solution depending on the difficulty of the problem. In this case, skipping a problem has brought a company hundreds of solutions to more important problems; the ones they solve professionally as a company.

Every Problem Has A Solution

You must always remember that every problem has a solution, and some are better than others. The key to breaking through your problem is to realize that there are many paths to a destination. And as you pay attention to the Hard Trends shaping your industry, you come to realize that there are many problems that you can actually pre-solve by way of anticipation, allowing you to avoid reaching the point of having to skip the problem, as you will see it coming before it becomes a problem.

However, some are unavoidable. But as I've written before, every problem is like an onion. You must peel back the layers in order to find the real problem, listing the components of the problem to reveal whether or not you are working on the correct issue and ultimately toward the correct solution. Always keep in mind that what you perceive to be your biggest problem may not be; so you can simply skip it.


To book Daniel Burrus for your next event, visit his profile at https://premierespeakers.com/daniel-burrus.

Daniel is the author of The Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage and Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible. To order in bulk for your event, please visit Bulkbooks.com.

Daniel Burrus

Want Daniel Burrus for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
The Cybersecurity of Banking and Finance
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
December 04, 2019
I've discussed the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare due to the extremely sensitive ...
Take Your Biggest Problem and Skip It
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
November 26, 2019
Every business runs into issues that can or will halt progress and cause the company to stagnate. ...
So Much Data, So Little Time. Until Now.
Daniel Burrus
Daniel Burrus
November 20, 2019
In a way, the exponential growth of machine-to-machine communications with connected sensors, or ...
The Cybersecurity of Banking and Finance
I've discussed the importance of cybersecurity in healthcare due to the extremely sensitive personal data and the loss of trust if hacked. If healthcare data and a patient's trust is as sensitive as research shows, then it's no surprise that the banking and financial industry is in serious need for anticipatory cybersecurity and digital data pro...
Read More
Take Your Biggest Problem and Skip It
Every business runs into issues that can or will halt progress and cause the company to stagnate. These include slow cash flow, out-of-date technology, and long sales cycles; you name it, it likely exists. Often, when trying to "fix" the problem, the company gets even more mired in the challenge and can't seem to get past the roadblock. They...
Read More
So Much Data, So Little Time. Until Now.
In a way, the exponential growth of machine-to-machine communications with connected sensors, or what is called the Internet of Things (IoT), has become an example of too much of a good thing. IoT facilitating communication among connected machines, devices and sensors, creates data at levels never seen before, in volumes that are growing...
Read More
Don't Get Stuck; Move Forward
A difficult problem can and will eventually become a roadblock so large that it renders forward progress in any productive way virtually impossible. The direct result of a roadblock as such is more often than not, procrastination, and the longer this problem is in place, the more you become convinced there are no solutions. This couldn't be ...
Read More
Today's CTO: The Chief Transformation Officer
In the past, I suggested that the role of the CIO needs to shift from that of a Chief Information Officer to a Chief Innovation Officer, largely due to the rapid, multiple technology-driven transformations that are always occurring. But just as the CIO's role needs to change, so too does the CTO's role--from Chief Technology Officer to Chief...
Read More
Business Leadership Imperative: What Business Leaders Must Do (Part 2)
Now that I've revealed what business leaders must know in order to become the disruptor instead of the disrupted, the next step is applying those principles. I discussed previously the need to solve problems before they occur; however, what happens when you do uncover a problem? Whatever it is, you have to take that problem and skip it, b...
Read More
Business Leadership Imperative: What You Need to Know
Have you ever wished you could predict the future? What would you do if you could clearly see critical changes in the months and years ahead and use them to shape your future instead of just letting it unfold by default? I have good news for you: you can. In fact, paying close attention to the Hard Tends, or certainties that will happen, ...
Read More
Understanding Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning
Technological change is the only constant in today's business world, disrupting everything from large organizations to small start-ups. Disruption affects everyone, but will you be the disruptor or the disrupted? You must pay close attention to the Hard Trends shaping the future of your industry, your business, and the outside world to ident...
Read More
Today's CIO: The Chief Innovation Officer
Today's world of business is not just changing--it's transforming. The difference is that change is doing something in an incrementally different way, while transformation is doing something so drastically different that it becomes a qualitative shift. The fact that we began watching movies on VHS tapes that we'd have to rewind, then moved t...
Read More
The Cybersecurity of Healthcare
Prior to 1992, the thought of cyberwar, cybersecurity and hacking was predominantly constrained to Hollywood fantasy. Fast-forward to present times, when connectivity is commonplace, and the level of data breaches and hacking has become horrifyingly real. The reality is that every day, our data is used or even copied, often without us knowin...
Read More