Category Archives: Leadership Skills

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 info@optechs.com. We’re here to help!

 

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

5 Ways to Stop Hurrying & Start Living

The country music band Alabama has a song about the pace of life that says: “I’m in a hurry to get things done.  Oh, I rush and I rush until life’s no fun.  All I really gotta do is live and die.  But I’m in a hurry and I don’t know why.”

Finding Time To Start Living

Are there times when life feels like a blur as it races by?  As productivity expert David Allen asks, “Are there days when you feel like you’re half a beat behind?”  Are you constantly trying to “keep up with the Jones’” as you run to win the race of life?

Why?  Why are we always running a thousand miles an hour with our hair on fire?  Why can’t we ever seem to catch up?  Why does life seem so complicated and difficult?

A Few Steps To Start Living Differently

Have you tried, somewhat unsuccessfully to answer these questions?  If so, then here are 5 ways to stop hurrying and start living.

  1. Discover your focus.  Have you ever noticed how relaxed and happy really successful people are?  Ever wondered why?  The answer is simple: they are focused on their highest priorities and they’ve used this focus to filter out and discard the unimportant and irrelevant things in life.
  2. Balance your life.  Truly successful people have an amazing sense of balance in their lives.  They allocate time among all of their priorities – work, marriage, family, church, community – and that balance gives them a great sense of inner peace.
  3. Get organized.  How much time do you waste every day due to lack of organization?  You need to make a phone call but can’t find the number.  You can’t remember where you left the file you need for a meeting that starts in fifteen minutes.  Having a dynamic system that captures, processes, and puts everything in your life at your finger tips just when you need it is a crucial part of achieving unusual success.
  4. Set priorities.  Prioritize your activities for each day.  Doing so keeps you focused on your highest priorities and gives you a roadmap for the day.
  5. Relax.  Take time to relax and reflect every day.  Spending time in daily reflection helps you learn about yourself and your world.  It gives you the opportunity to make appropriate changes in response (not reaction) to what’s going on in your life.  Reflecting on today and planning tomorrow before you go to bed at night also clears your mind and gives you better rest.

If you are hurrying and not living, give us a call at 203.599.1467, or email us at info@optechs.comWe have some great programs to help you get you life on track so that you can start living again!

 

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

Al Kim Hosts Gary Smith For Rise And Shine Radio Show

Gary Smith was recently a guest of the Rise and Shine Radio Show hosted by Al Kim. WSDK 1550 AM radio station allowed the two radio show hosts to join forces for an on-air segment, and each broadcaster brought their best material to the table.

Al Kim Talks About Achieving Unusual Greatness

Gary discussed his most recent book, “Achieving Unusual Greatness,” and how it was constructed from several blog posts created in the past few years. Gary crafted the book to be read a little at a time or all at once, giving daily lessons that are the “essence” of achieving success.

Gary told Al Kim that he hoped people would use the book almost as a daily inspiration that could be quickly read for motivation. He said it was one of the more powerful projects he had worked on because of the amount of years it spanned.

Macro View Of The Business World

Gary said his background as an engineer in the manufacturing business led him to seek further education to gain a macro view of the business world. He said moving away from providing a small part of a big business has been a great career choice because he understands where those smaller, integral parts fit into the large model.

Looking For A Change Or Improvement

Al Kim commented that the economy in Connecticut was not in its tip-top form, and he asked Gary what he would say to someone who was looking to make a change or improvement. Gary said it’s important to look at your passions in life and what you’re good at before pursuing a job.

He said many people give up looking for work because they cannot find a position in their field, but a simple inventory of what they enjoy doing most in their life can lead to civic activities, leadership roles and much more.

Trusting God To Spur Change

One of the hardest things to do in life is to accept and embrace change. Gary talked to Al Kim about the common nature to resist change and how it can hold people back from their full potential. However, by trusting God and asking him to guide you, you can make major life changes that lead to amazing opportunities.

He said the most important thing to dealing with change is having a positive attitude and trusting God’s hand to guide you to where you belong. Fear is something that will have to be faced in these situations, and Gary said fear can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

Learn From Gary Smith

Whether you’re looking for business success or personal coaching, Gary has helped countless people through the toughest times of their lives. You can contact Gary through his business, Optimum Performance Technologies, to find out how he can help you get through major changes, understand your business specifics better and much more.

Be sure to tune into The Gary Smith Show on WSDK 1550 where he gets his messages out to everyone. He is always looking for new guests to showcase who have different backgrounds and skills than him, giving the audience a good sense of what can be achieved in life if you put your mind to it.

3 Suggestions For Working Through The Trials Of Life

Literally millions of people around the world have learned and benefitted from the ministry if Kay Arthur.  What most people don’t know, however, is that her impactful work would not have happened without a bitter disappointment early in her career.  When Kay was serving as a missionary in Mexico, she contracted a heart infection that cut her work short and forced her to return home.

She was depressed and despondent until God revealed a greater purpose to her.  While living in Chattanooga, Kay began teaching the Bible to teenagers in her home – and out of those experiences came what was to become her life’s work.  She wrote, “It would be several years I’d see how He’d [God] use those formative years of study in Mexico to prepare me to write inductive Bible studies that would eventually reach fifty-two countries.”

Dealing With The Trials Of Life

As human beings striving to find meaning and prosperity for our families, and ourselves we seldom understand the trials of life at the time we are experiencing them.  We may find ourselves suffering and feeling like complete failures.  But when we learn the power of perseverance, as time passes we look back and see how the trials we have been through have helped us to grow and prepared us for greater accomplishments in life.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you learn to persevere through your trials of life:

  1. Don’t focus on the trials of life.  Rather than being consumed with the challenge, continually ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?  How is this preparing me to be a better person?”
  2. Push through.  I have seen far too many people who allowed trials to stop them just inches short of achieving amazing success.  It is when our trials seem greatest that we are the closest to breaking through to victory.  DON’T GIVE UP!
  3. Focus on your dreams.  Your dreams are the fuel in your gas tank of life that ultimately drive you toward achieving greatness.  Stay focused on your ultimate goals and keep pushing forward – no matter what!

 

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

Give The Gift Of Time

In her memoirs, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told of growing up in an African-American pastor’s family in Birmingham, Alabama.  Despite her parents’ busy schedules, they watched The Mickey Mouse Club with her every day.  One afternoon, an insurance agent came to visit.  “He was the only white man I can ever remember coming into our house,” recalls Rice, “but he came just as it was time to sing: ‘M-I-C-K-E-Y-….’” Mr. Rice politely told the man he would have to wait until they all had put on their mouse ears and engaged in the family ritual of singing along.

“This small gesture was simply one of many that communicated they always had time for me,” wrote Condoleezza.

One Of The Greatest Presents We Can Give Is The Gift Of Time

Most of us interpret this to mean time with our spouses and children – and that’s a great place to start.  But what about other people and places

  • At your church – educating others or using your carpentry, plumbing, or painting skills.
  • At the local shelter or food bank – serving and ministering to others.
  • On the job – listening to those whom you work with and for – and those who work for you – to help them grow, learn, and prosper.
  • In the way you run your business – showing your employees and your customers, through your time and actions, just how important they are and how much you appreciate them.

Remember: Life is not about money and things – it’s about people and relationships. Take the time, starting now, to enrich the lives of others.  In so doing, you will be blessed beyond measure!

 

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