When You Face a Problem, Solve It Then and There

October 3, 2012
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One of Dale Carnegie’s students, a Mister H.P. Howell, told him that when he was a member of the board of directors of U.S. Steel, the meetings of the board were often long-drawn-out affairs. Many problems were discussed, but few decisions were made. The result: each member of the board had to carry home bundles of reports to study.

Finally, Mr. Howell persuaded the board of directors to take up one problem at a time and come to a decision. No procrastination—no putting off. The decision might be to ask for additional facts; it might be to do something or to do nothing. But a decision was reached on each problem before passing on to the next.

Mr. Howell told Dale Carnegie that the results were striking and salutary: the docket was cleared. The calendar was clean. No longer was it necessary for each member to carry home a bundle of reports. No longer was there a worried sense of unresolved problems.

Similarly, Henry L. Doherty, founder of the nationwide Cities Service Company, said that regardless of how much salary he paid his employees, there were two abilities he found it almost impossible to find—first, the ability to think, and second, the ability to do things in the order of their importance.

Everyone is guilty of passing over a task in favor of another from time-to-time, or trying to tackle too much at once. But if you simply take the time to address one problem at a time and come to a decision, you’ll likely find that it’s much easier on your psyche—and workload—in the long run.

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Photo credit: Naypong

 

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