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A Company Culture of Problem Solving

Mike Schertenlieb

On any given day, the LongerDays team might encounter something we’ve never seen before.

A strange request, a new platform, or some conundrum involving multiple moving parts, middle manning customers and clients, missing information, or who knows what else…

This is pretty normal for us, really – and even with the most consistent ongoing work, unexpected things happen. When we’re bouncing from task to task, client to client, site to site, program to program, problems are bound to arise… And that’s where we show our true strength!

We’ve built problem solving into our company culture – not so much intentionally, but out of sheer necessity! This identity as “problem solver” is something we all share. We ask about it in interviews, watch for it in new employees, encourage it in veteran staff, and when big problems arise, we all turn to one another for help.

When everyone on the team takes this approach, something special happens: it reinforces itself.

When an issue is frustrating and confusing to one of us, someone else bolsters their confidence, diving in to help and reminding the struggling staff member that we can figure it out – especially if we put our heads together.

Whether it’s software workaround, guiding a caller to somewhere we’ve never been via Google Street View, or figuring out our own healthcare coverage program – we’ve got an awful lot of experience with complex, often confusing problems… But we’ve also learned that those big issues can usually be broken into smaller and smaller components…

And we can tackle each of them, one at a time.

With the power of Google Fu, some confidence in our own abilities, and a willingness to collaborate, the LD team is able to research other people’s experiences, take on challenges (even if we aren’t quite sure what we’re doing), and best of all, lean on each other for novel, creative perspectives when we’re feeling stumped.

All of this experience stacks up, too. Plenty of problems have similar parts – and everything we’ve solved in the past better prepares us for the future. We find software tricks, go-to resources, and systems for keeping track of… Whatever. We’re constantly solving problems, and all the while, becoming better problem solvers.

Of course, some problems are unsolvable. Sometimes software just isn’t compatible, or updates break your favorite plugin and there’s no going back. Sometimes the flight you want is already booked or the conference is already full… In those scenarios, though, we don’t turn off. Instead, we get to work on viable alternatives, other ways to achieve the same (or similar) results.

We’ve learned that most problems have solutions – even if it isn’t the one you had in mind when you started. With some creativity, some research, and a great team to lean on, there’s always¬†something to be figured out.

So… What problems does your business have? What’s falling through the cracks or not being tracked? How can we help?


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