As I catch up on reading on my desk, I see an interesting column by Rob Preston, Editor of Information week, from November 16, 2009. His column title, “People want results, not solutions.” As we speak with individuals who need our services, we can easily make promises, say “Yes!,” and talk about easy fixes, solutions.
Preston starts his column: “Farms and financial institutions and police departments and hospitals and the people who run them aren’t really interested in hardware, software, services, or even ‘solutions.’ They’re interested in producing outcomes . . .”
After we make our promises, when the reality sets in overworked staff, trying to implement the promise we made two months ago, look at us in amazement. Sometimes our drive to please the individual in pain makes it too easy to offer the “solution” that we cannot easily implement. That action does not do anybody good, and gives us a bad reputation as a person who cannot deliver, but make only promises.
For many years, I have used a priority guiding point that I will drop my work to help anybody who requests it. I’ll find a way to get my work done. I don’t want them waiting for me. If my written promise is 48 hours after a request is submitted, I will frequently complete the task within a half day. It’s the underpromise and over deliver mentality. As I wrote above. I don’t want them waiting on me.
As a leader we have no value if we’re not delivering results. As an organizational leader, deliver results, not solutions. And may your curves always line up.