Category Archives: bible

5 Practical Steps For Drowning Your Problems

There’s an old saying that contains a great deal of wisdom:

When problem solving, don’t just put out the fire – find the guy with the match!

Another saying admonishes us to make sure that we solve problems completely. It simply says:

Hold every problem under water until it drowns!

Learning Effective Problem Solving

Both of these statements are aimed at communicating one thing to those of us who are in the problem solving business – and that is that far too often, problems are never solved because people are addressing the symptoms instead of identifying and killing the real root cause.

My forty plus years of experience as both a technical and business problem solver have taught me some powerful lessons. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned when it comes to effective problem solving.

  1. Most of the time, the root of the problem is deeper than you think. Just like a pesky dandelion in your yard, the flower (symptom) waves in the wind, but the root of the plant (the real cause) is hiding deep in the ground. You can chop the top off all you want, but until you extract or kill the root, the plant (problem) is going to keep coming back.
  2. Be patient. Taking the time to think things through, and being careful not to overreact, is important in the problem solving process. Cool, logical, analytical heads always prevail.
  3. Listen to the process. Every business process has a story to tell if you listen closely. Observations, data collection and analysis, and a healthy dose of common sense can be integrated to create a picture of what is going on. Just as a doctor uses the skill of observation, combined with information in the form of test results, to diagnose what is wrong with a patient, so must you combine all of the information you can gather to understand the problem with which you are dealing.
  4. Test your theories. The ultimate test in solving a problem is not “did it go away.” Where the rubber meets the road is in answering the question, “Can you turn it on and off?” Being able to turn a problem on and off means that you have identified the causative factors that, under the right conditions, allow the problem to manifest itself.
  5. Verify effectiveness of your solutions. When you finally put corrective actions in place, always monitor the process for a period if time to make sure that the problem never rears its ugly head again.

Need help with problem solving? Give us a call at 203.599.1467, or email us at We’re here to help!


©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC ( All rights reserved.

Gary’s Christmas Blog: The Painting

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting.  Together, they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their art collection.  Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.  The widowed elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became and experienced art collector.

As winter approached, war engulfed their nation and the young man left home to serve his country.  After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram.  His beloved son had died while rushing a fellow soldier to the medic.

Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.  On Christmas morning, a knock on the front door awakened the depressed old man.  As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home.  As he opened the door, a soldier greeted him with a large package in his hand.  He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son.  I was the one he was rescuing when he died.  May I come in for a few moments?  I have something for you.”

As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told everyone of his – not to mention his father’s – love of fine art.  “I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.”  As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of his son.  Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail.  Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier and promised to hang the picture above the fireplace.

True to his word, the old man hung the painting above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of other paintings.  Then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.  He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away.  The art world was in great anticipation.  With the collector’s passing, and his only son dead, all of his paintings would be sold at auction.  According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift.  The day soon arrived, and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings.

The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list.  It was the painting of the man’s son.  The auctioneer asked for an opening bid.  The room was silent.  “Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked.  Minutes passed, but no one spoke.  From the back of the room came, “Who cares about the painting?  It’s just a picture of his son.  Let’s forget it and go on to the good stuff.”  Many voices echoed in agreement.

“No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer.  “Now, who will take the son?”  Finally, a friend of the old man spoke.  “Will you take $10 for the painting?  That’s all I have.  I knew the boy, so I would like to have it.”  “I have $10.  Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer.  After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice, gone.”  The gavel fell.  Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and bid on those treasures!”

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over.  Stunned disbelief quieted the room.  Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean, it’s over?  We didn’t come here for the picture of some old guys son.  What about all of the other paintings?  There are millions of dollars of art here.  I demand that you explain what is going on here!”

The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple.  According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…get’s it all.”

Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?  Just as those art collectors discovered on that Christmas day, as Christians we believe that the message is still the same – the love of a father.  A Father whose greatest joy came from his only Son who went away and gave his life rescuing others.  And because of the Father’s love – whoever takes the Son, gets it all.

Vision And Execution

Vision Is An Important Part Of Success

There is an old saying from the Bible that tells us, “Without a vision, the people perish.” Based on that, we can surmise that having a vision, both in business and in life, is an important facet of success.

Vision refers to the ability to look forward, to dream, and to create a big picture view of a compelling future. Every successful business started with a vision – with at least one individual’s dream of accomplishing something. Maybe it is the immigrants who started a small grocery store in mid-town Manhattan to provide a positive financial future for their small family. Or maybe it’s the inventor who starts the small medical products company that he hopes will become the next Johnson and Johnson.

A Dream Without Execution Goes Unrealized

The bottom line is that someone has to dream the big dreams. But is that enough? Is the creation of the dream where it all ends? NO! A dream without execution is a dream that will go unrealized – unfulfilled.

All successful entrepreneurs realize the need for execution, and many realize that it is not their strong suit. They need help from those who specialize in turning visions into reality – those who can take the words on paper, data from spreadsheets, drawings on smart boards – and use them to create and execute the plans that translate visions into tangible, successful enterprises.

The problem is that many entrepreneurs do not see their own shortcomings in the arena of execution. As a result, they often fail – or at the very least – cost themselves a great deal of precious time and money until they finally realize that execution is a specialty of its own.

What Is Your Strength? Vision? Execution?

Do you fully appreciate the need for both vision and execution? Which one of the two is your major strength? Have you created a strategic alliance with those who can help you fulfill your dreams? If not, 2014 is a great time to start!! When it comes to business development and personal development and success, we can help. Call us for your free consultation 203-599-1467