Thursday, September 17, 2009

Problem Solving

How would you get your scooter
across the sidewalk while driving a tricycle?

Why, you make a tow-truck of course.

This is my three year old son, who even at his age already enjoys a little problem solving.

We all face several problems that surface on a daily basis. What you do with those problems is what makes the difference. There are so many ways that I have noticed people deal with their issues. The most common is to ignore them. Although it seems that this method doesn’t work, it tends to be a typical response in our society.

If you aren’t the type to ignore a problem then maybe you simply transfer the problem over to someone else. While this may take the weight off of your shoulders, it probably also delays the resolution and can even make the problem worse. Some of you may even SOLVE the problem, although this is probably the least common way that people deal with the issue at hand. I on the other hand, happen to LOVE problem-solving. (I know, a little weird I suppose.) Some of you may like to make the bed as soon as you wake up or only stir your coffee with a certain type of spoon, perhaps you can’t stand to break a rule. I happen to enjoy the sense of completion and huge satisfaction that comes with resolving problems as they surface.

I was reading a story to my daughter and her friend the other night . The girl in the story always ran into problems and got very frustrated. One day, she realized that she was starting to have the same problems that she had already dealt with and solved once before, therefore making the solution easier the second and third time around. When we finished the story I (in my most Mr. Rogers-esque voice) asked “Now what did we learn from this story, girls?”

As my daughter’s friend answered, I found myself filled with the same sense of completion and satisfaction as I would if I had just solved a problem. “If your car breaks it would be good, because then you would know how to fix it next time,” she replied. They got it.

Over the years working at Plantation Building Corp, I have noticed that I am surrounded by associates that enjoy problem solving as much as I do. We are constantly brainstorming new ways to make your problem a creative solution. If someone comes to us and wants to build a small house, it usually means it will be built with no tolerance right on the setback lines. If we get a large building, it means it will most likely be built above a parking lot. We thrive on making problems become some of the most impressive solutions around.

I have learned, over time, that part of the satisfaction in problem-solving is that next time the problem arises, I will already know how to resolve it. So if you want to build a difficult project, keep in mind that we would love to take it on. If you have a normal house on a normal lot let us know, I’m sure that we can figure it out.

And if you happen to need your scooter moved to a different part of the driveway, call me. I’ll make sure I don’t schedule it during pre-school hours!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fishing Not Catching

My grandfather was one of my best friends. Over the years he taught me a lot about a lot. Our favorite thing to do together was to fish. We would venture out on our expeditions several times during my two week stay with him during summer vacation from school. These fishing ventures required careful planning in my grandfather’s eyes. We would listen to the weather several times the day before departure. We would test, run and clean the boat, check all of our rigging, purchase bait, and pack our breakfast and lunch to mention some of this ritual. Early the next morning, around 5 AM, we were on the road pulling the boat. Thirty minutes later we were putting the boat into the waters of Lake Erie. Off we went to the hotspot of the season. These spots are only known by a true fisherman who has spent days in the tackle store listening to conversations among others that were returning from their trips. Once we arrived we would begin by dropping our lines into the water and waiting for the first bite. Sometimes we would do all of this and not get a bite for hours. However, we would return knowing that we had a great time fishing.

At the same time my grandfather had a friend that would join us on his own boat. His friend never spent much time preparing for the fishing trips. He would arrive a few minutes late. Next, he would struggle to get his boat in the water only to discover there was a dead battery on board and so on. Once he got going he would catch up with us. My grandfather would tell him where the hotspot was this time and he would begin dropping in his lines. He would last two hours. He spent most of his time repairing his lines and fighting with mechanical problems. We would hear him on the radio saying, “I’m going in... we're not catching anything over here.”

This is when I learned the difference between fishing and catching. Today I spend my time preparing jobsites for the next phase of construction. I start with checking the batter boards for square...later I am checking window and door openings to insure proper fit before they arrive for installation...lastly, I am turning every doorknob before the homeowner walks into their new home.

I think back and never realized that those lazy summer days spent on a boat doing much of nothing would have taught me so much.