Mark Modesti has worked for UPS almost 30 years and considers himself a trouble maker. What that means is he helps Owners of companies here in DFW to see the value of running toward their troubles, not running away. Over the years he has seen every kind of problem a business can face. He’s also seen what happens when leaders fail to embrace the change required to move a problem into an opportunity. He recently presented a TED Talk titled “The Argument for Trouble” and I think it had some great points we can all learn from.
Fixer vs Builder
In his TED talk, Mark shared examples of leaders who chose to embrace change and the demise of those who did not. Mark also talks about how leaders tend to be “Fixers or Builders.” Fixers try to keep things under control while keeping it the same. They are more comfortable with trying to Fix what they have in order to avoid real change. Builders see that things need to change and are proactive to make the changes required to build a new solution to the trouble they face.
Mark quoted a study that said “40% of the Fortune 500 Companies on the S&P will be gone in the next 10 years.” The study attributes this to their reluctance to embrace change but Mark calls it a “failure to look for and embrace trouble.” Of course some troubles should be avoided, but most troubles are worth running through to get to the other side.
By the way, trouble does not automatically require that we worry. I believe there are two things you should not worry about; things you CAN fix, and things you CANNOT fix. If you can fix something, make plans to get it done and move it from worry to project status. If you cannot fix it, let it go and focus on something else you CAN fix. Just do not let yourself be held back due to FEAR. (Some people call it Comfort Zone but it’s actually FEAR.)
The Solution is on the Other Side of Trouble
Some of the best times in my life came right before a huge challenge, but pressing through led me to the better parts of my life. We all face challenges in life but how we deal with them makes all the difference in the world.
How we respond to trouble can determine the length of suffering and pain we endure in the process. You may have heard the story of how Cows vs. Buffalo face an oncoming storm. When a storm (trouble) is coming, Cows will run away from the storm while Buffalo run toward it. They both have to deal with the storm, but the Buffalo face it head on and get through it quicker, while the storm quickly catches up with the Cows and prolongs their time in the bad weather.
I’ve seen this with many of the leaders I’ve met who say they embrace change but do not act that way. They choose to live with the pain of the problems they have in order to avoid the fear of what pain they may face when making real change. This also applies to our personal life where people choose to avoid the challenges of marriage and children, and instead we dive deep into the safety of our work world. Later we find out that the problem has gone away – usually in a minivan, leaving you with divorce papers in exchange. (ouch)
How to deal with Trouble? Ask your leadership team and your family if you are truly open to change. Making the changes we need to make can be difficult, but doing it alone is even worse! Having people who have been to the other side of issues gives us the confidence to tackle them head on. Surrounding yourself with a group of leaders who have faced the same troubles you have allows you to bounce ideas of them and get fresh ideas to turn your troubles into successes.
This is one of the reasons our Renaissance Executive Forum Groups meet each month. We encourage each other to face troubles head on and share our experiences of what it took to get to the other side. Contact me to get involved at (469) 791-0455 and RobertH@REFDallas.com
ABOUT ROBERT HUNT
I am a Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums. My role is to find the best members for our Executive Leadership Groups, then lead each meeting so that our members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.