Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Problem Solving Skills We Can Learn from a Squirrel

We’ve all run into problems that we’ve struggled with, not really knowing how to even begin solving them. The problem we are facing can seem insurmountable. At times, we might ask for help with the problem from a co-worker. My wife Tammy has found watching YOU TUBE videos to be quite helpful in solving some problems. But did you know that we can learn much about problem solving by watching how a squirrel approaches a bird feeder that has been designed to keep him out?

If you’ve ever had a bird feeder, you know that squirrels stealing your bird food can be a big problem. And you are certainly not the first to experience this. Just go to any store that sells bird feeders and you will see any number of feeders that have been designed to keep the squirrels out.

In years past, I’ve tried just about everything to keep the squirrels out – from using a baffle to coating Vaseline on the bird feeder pole – but nothing worked in keeping the squirrels from the bird food. This summer, I finally grew tired of financing the diet of the neighborhood squirrel population, and purchased a few Squirrel X feeders, which are advertised as “your best defense against squirrels.” We’re told that that “Now you can enjoy any number of birds in your yard without the pesky squirrels with our Squirrel-X squirrel proof songbird feeders.” Right. Tell that to the squirrels. Continue reading

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If You Bring Me a Problem, Bring a Possible Solution

The job of a leader is a busy one, and we continually strive to be working on the most important work we have “on our plate”. One way I tried to assure that I was working on the most important work was to develop a daily “Priorities” list (think “Things to Do” list). At the end of the workday, I would review what I had gotten done that day, what new issues had arisen, and then rank my priorities for the following day. I would keep that list on my desk so that I was focused on it throughout the day. At the end of each workday, one way I would evaluate my effectiveness that day was to see how many of those top priorities I had gotten completed.
In a perfect world, all leaders would need to do is focus on their priorities. But we know that never happens. Throughout each day, issues will arise from your team members, business partners/customers, and your leaders. Thus, a leader has to effectively manage these “interruptions” that will occur throughout the day, so that they can assure that they are working on the most important work.
In this article, I’ll focus on those situations where a team member will stop by your office and ask if you have a minute for a discussion. When this occurs, leaders have the option to address the issue at the time, or, depending on the issue and what the leader is currently working on, ask their team member if they would set up a short meeting, hopefully later that day, to discuss. How a leader handles those interruptions will tell you a lot about how effective they are. Continue reading