Understand the problem

Apparently Einstein has been attributed with a saying that goes something like “If you have 100 days to solve a problem …. spend the first 99 understanding the problem.”

While I might not agree on the 99 to 1 ration ratio, I certainly agree that too often not enough time is spent on understanding what the problem is.

Quick Case in Point. Potential Client tells me he needs a video security system. Yikes its a big parking lot …. tell me more?

Well one of my guys came out after work and his window was smashed.

That sucks … has this ever happened before?

Once about 7 years ago.

So we can spend 50K on a video system that would let you have a movie of the next incident … or you could buy your guy a windshield for $500.

So clearly the problem is not the cost of the window. It is way cheaper to replace the window than install a new video system. The problem is the safety and vulnerability faced by his staff.

Thing is, how much safer do his staff feel with video surveillance … 50K safer???  That’s not for the consultant to answer … the building owner can now make an informed decision.

On this occasion, they re-worked a safe walk policy and spent some of the savings on a BBQ.  Poor me … lost a potential consulting gig but maintained a great future client … and I enjoyed a free hot dog !!