The Best Solution Isn’t Always Obvious

January 18, 2015 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

Often times the best solution to a challenge faced in business or our personal lives is not immediately obvious. By keeping a narrow focus, rather than being open to new ideas and new ways of looking at a challenge, we often miss the best solution.

The movie Imitation Game retells the efforts by British Intelligence (MI 6) to break the Nazi code, which the most experienced cryptanalysts considered unbearable. In 1939 Cambridge mathematics alumnus, Alan Turing, realized that traditional methods of code breaking wouldn’t work. Taking an entirely different approach, Turing designed a machine to do what humans couldn’t. Despite constant ridicule, Turing’s machine eventually broke the Nazi code, which resulted in MI 6 being able to read every Nazi communication (credited with saving 14 million lives and shortening the war by 2 years).

Few, if any, of us would have defied common logic to identify a possible solution…”a machine that can think, you gotta be kidding me”.

So, What Does This Mean?

Whether you own a business or work for someone else, you need to keep an open mind when confronting a challenge. Often the best answer is not immediately discernible.

In his book, “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got”, Jay Abraham writes “you must constantly be on the lookout for new and better ways to dramatically improve your overall business performance…” Are you constantly on the lookout for new and better ideas or are you of the “I Know” mindset, (e.g. “I know everything…I don’t need to learn more”)?

History is full of examples of business leaders who were acknowledged leaders, but who in a short while fell off that pedestal solely because they failed to keep an open mind. These leaders didn’t adjust to an ever-changing world. These leaders failed to adapt to situations which left room for other businesses to step in and take market share.

So, What Can I Do to Keep an Open Mind?

  1. Successful leaders make a concerted effort to constantly learn, which helps them recognize game-changing solutions. The Japanese use a term “kaizan”.
  1. Stop using the words “I know” – closes your mind to new ideas. The best solution for your challenge might just pass by unheard.
  1. Change your paradigm by reading about what other people have done. Set a goal of reading at least one business or motivational book each month.
  1. Break out of your routine ways of solving problems. Research how other business owners have resolved similar problems and apply what worked for them.


If you limit your thinking to what worked in the past, you will struggle against more enlightened competitors. What worked in the past won’t always work in the future. I have strategies to help you overcome obstacles from a different perspective. Give me a call.

Jeff Lovejoy

Business Strategies Specialist


Business owners hire me to get them focused on what it takes to grow their business. In working with business owners I mentor them on the importance of having a vision for their business, guide them in building plans to achieve that vision, introduce strategies in support of those plans and hold them accountable for adhering to their plan.

Entry filed under: Leadership. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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