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If Adverse Conditions Overwhelm You, Add Expert Help

Mar 7, 2008
When your house is on fire, you call the fire department. You don't try to use a squirt gun to put out the flames. Similarly, businesses need enough expertise when the heat of adverse conditions threatens to destroy their enterprise.

One of the most interesting circumstances of the Gulf War was the Iraqis' burning of Kuwait's oil fields as they withdrew. These oil fires were expected to burn for years and to create one of the worst environmental disasters ever.

Fortunately, there are specialists in putting out oil-field fires, but even they had never seen anything of this magnitude. Every expert in the world was flown quickly to Kuwait, and put to work. In much less time than anyone expected, all the fires were out. In the same vein, you can overcome defensiveness stalls if you keep in mind that things are not as bad as they seem, if you get the right help.

Relying on yourself alone to overcome hostile circumstances is usually a mistake if a capable specialist can help you at reasonable cost compared to the benefits. But first, you have to accept that you have a situation that must be tended to, rather than an excuse not to act.

Another example of where outside expertise can make all of the difference relates to the familiar Y2K problem that worried many at the end of the 20th century. In 1998, a few organizations began to realize that they could not fix their computers in time to avoid problems in 2000 and beyond (when computers that had only used the last two digits of the year for dates could begin to perceive "00" as the year 1900, creating calculation errors). Some despaired and simply sold their companies to anyone in their business who could solve the problem in time.

As the end of 1999 approached, however, all kinds of highly effective solutions became available from external specialists that no one had thought of sooner. For example, the initial solution had been for most computer systems departments to totally reprogram their computers in the old programming languages common to the 1950s through 1980s in order to add the space for two more digits (making 2000 out of 00).

There were shortages of programmers who could make these changes, and they were slow and expensive to make. Then someone finally thought about the issue as a math problem, and figured out that you could leave most of the obsolete programs alone if you inexpensively wrote a short subroutine to simply add the number "50" twice (or 100) for the years beginning in "00" to overcome the computer's presumption that the twentieth century years were involved, and create the year 2000 that way.

Yet another enterprise found a way to train programmers to make the standard changes more than ten times faster than the time required by external consultants, at a cost savings of over 95%. Both approaches were terrific breakthrough solutions for the year 2000 problem. Locating such solutions eliminates the desire to become defensive and inactive when situations go awry.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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