Being a Problem Solver

Top Producers are Problem Solvers.

MacGyver "The Problem Solver"

Being a mentally tough Problem Solver is simple, but not easy.

3 steps on how to be a Problem Solver:

1. Embrace the challenge of an unexpected event!  

It was a mild summer day in the mountains of Fairbanks,  Alaska. I was driving between houses, demonstrating my Southwestern Company educational books and software, when I received a call from my brother, who was selling books in Michigan. I’ll never forget the first words that he said, “We need to talk.  It’s about Mom and Dad….they’re getting divorced.” The Alaskan sun was shining bright that day, but all of a sudden it felt like a rain cloud was pouring down over my head.

A flurry of emotions over took me that day… I had a problem that I didn’t know how to solve it!  Then a light bulb clicked on for me and I created the acronym R.A.F.T.

R.A.F.T. Problem Solving

R- Realize
an event has occurred. (usually an event is defined by anything that gets you off schedule- flat tire, the economy tanks, you get fired, death in the family, weather, a divorce, etc.)

A- Accept the event has occurred.  It is hard to accept that something is out of your control.  You cannot control who buys from you, the weather, death, taxes, the economy, divorce, etc.

F- Focus on the controllable factors.  In reality, the only things you can control is your attitude, your schedule, and your habits.  See previous blog titles “Controlling the Controllable” for more on this topic.

T- Transform the negative event into positive momentum. Being a top producer doesn’t mean that you encounter any less problems than anyone else.   Being a top producer means that you react to what happens to you in a positive and productive way.  As the old saying goes “you have to make lemonade out of the lemons”.


2.  Accountability, accountability, accountability.

Unsuccessful people are always blaming others for their failures.  Successful people take responsibility for their activity, circumstances, and results. To improve your self accountability every morning when you wake up say out loud 10 times “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”.

(If Accountability is something that’s hard for you, you should get a coach to hold you accountable to doing the things you know you should be doing)


3. Take Action Now!

Top Producers do not give into the Law Of Diminishing Intent. Everyone has good intentions. Everyone intends on doing what they say they are going to do. Everyone intends on hitting their goals. The reason people don’t do what they know they should do is because of the Law Of Diminishing Intent. Former Co-Founder says it best “the longer the amount of time that goes by with out taking action the less likely someone is to actually do what they intend on doing”.

law of diminishing intent

I had a tough event to deal with in Alaska that summer. I had a decision to make. Was that event going to be an excuse for not hitting my goals?  Or would I hold myself accountable for my results, not letting any outside event derail me, by taking action immediately and doing the things I knew to do.  It was not easy to keep working, but the reality remained, there was nothing I could do about the problem.  After applying the 3 steps above I ended up earning more commissions by the end of that week than anyone else has ever earned in 155 years at the Southwestern Company.

For more information about the Southwestern Consulting sales coaching program to help hold you accountable and become a master problem solver:
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2 Responses

  1. Hello, just wanted to say, I liked this article. It was funny.
    Keep on posting!

  2. Love this post! It teach you how to be a problem solver. Since life is full of problems, this post is really helpful in knowing what to do to be a problem solver. I also love the first picture featuring McGyver carrying a missile on his shoulder. I think this means solving the war by creating missile. If war ended because missile, then problem solved.

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