problems vs solutions

“I don’t want to hear about problems! Only Solutions!”

Gee Ranasinha Business 3 Comments

My previous boss used to say that often. Very often. Too often, if I’m honest.

I think he was well-meaning when he said it, in that he was always open to new ideas. Whatever, I’ll certainly give him the benefit of the doubt.

The thing is that, today more than ever, companies NEED to hear about problems.

They need to know what’s wrong, as much as what’s right. More so, in fact. And they need to know about it in a timely fashion.

Too many companies are what I call “intentionally blind”. Business owners refuse to acknowledge cold, dark realities. To recognize and accept the problems that are staring them in the face. Shrinking market size, poor sales performance, a product or service offering that no longer fits the market.

Refusing To Accept Reality

Whatever a company’s problems are, the last thing you should be doing is good sticking your head in the sand and pretending that they don’t exist. Such action is delusional, dangerous – and in my book is tantamount to a wilful dereliction of duty.

Often, in such as situation, other people within the company are aware of the problems. However, policy inside ‘intentionally-blind’ companies is usually to shoot the messenger, so everyone toes the company line and keeps quiet. Until it’s too late.

Knowledge is not everything. The right knowledge at the right time is everything. There’s no such thing as bad news or good news, only on-time news and late news.

Today’s business climate is a rapidly-changing, unpredictable entity. The sooner you learn and accept what’s wrong, the more time you have to put it right.

About the Author
Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

Gee Ranasinha

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After founding a successful media production firm, Gee became worldwide director of marketing for a European software company. As well as CEO of KEXINO he's an author, lecturer, husband, and father; and one hell of a nice bloke. He lives in a world of his own in Strasbourg, France, tolerated by his wife and young son. Find out more about Gee at

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Comments 3

  1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

    Well explained! This and your previous post sums up one key mistake made by most companies around the world. When launching a new product or a service, companies boast the state of the art technology goes into this new product, and how the company has invested millions of R&D efforts to bring out the best in it’s class. But they constantly fail to answer the simple question “what is in it for the customer?” in a precise manner. If a company cannot answer this question at an early stage of a NPD sequence; it’s better to delay the product development process until you get a concrete answer for this question. This way, you can minimize resource wastage of launching a product which is not desired by any type of customers. Unfortunately, companies think “delaying a NPD idea” is procrastination. They usually pick Tom Peter’s principle of “Bias for Action” with blind faith and ignore the principle of “Being Close to Customer” by the same author.

  2. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

    Thanks Gee. Yes. As much as bosses and managers want to hear good news and only solutions for their organizations, they also have to be realistic in realizing that the company must also be aware of the problems. How will they know the solutions if they won’t be aware of the problems?  

    1. Avatar for Gee Ranasinha

      Hi there Cathy.

      It’s almost as though certain CEOs have a gene that prevents them seeing what others can see 😉  

      Problems are good. Problems help focus the company and optimize the value offering (specs, price, whatever). Closing your eyes and putting your fingers in your ears doesn’t make it go away!

      Thanks – as ever – for your contribution!

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