Success is great. The trouble with success is that over time, you begin to rely on that success the next time. And the next time, and the next. The prior solution may have been great, and after a few successes, you may even have a few various solutions up your sleeve. Maybe you even have five. But these are a pretty solid five solutions that have worked in the past. You rely on them, and they solved a lot of issues.
But what about when there is a need that doesn’t match your five? How many times is someone describing their issue, their problem, their need and you are just trying to figure out how to make it fit into one of your solutions?
This success solution trap became real to me a few weeks ago. I took a call. I listened for a few minutes. I had a plan.
“This should solve your issue, and I will send over an outline.”
I opened up an old document that was a successful solution in the past, made a few changes and sent it over. The reply was not what I was expecting.
“What is this? How is this going to solve our issue?”
I stepped back and replayed the call in my mind while looking at my notes. I was so worried about fitting their issue into my solution, I even ignored my own notes. Shortly after, I re-drafted a new solution and sent it over. It was the right fit, and much more creative than my old canned solution.
It takes a little more work, but new creativity beats old successful solutions. I want to learn from the past successful solutions, but not become a slave to them.