Philie Group Blog

What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
By Mike Philie

It’s critical that you clearly define what problem you are trying to solve as you introduce a new initiative. Whether it’s a software application, a continuous improvement journey, or a new CRM, a clearly defined objective will help everyone sign on to the mission. Without one, you’ll run the risk of having naysayers and those that will grumble something about the next project of the month. You may be trying to solve an issue to help you get back to your current standard or perhaps to move the enterprise forward¬—raising the bar. Either way, you’ve got to define it.

Implementing new initiatives can face stiff headwinds, even in the best of conditions. On their own, most folks are not looking to take on new tasks just for the sake of change. If for example, one of your core values is the pursuit of operational excellence, initiatives that help to achieve that core value may be more welcome because everyone knows that it supports the overall mission.

For many initiatives to get traction, you need to identify a type of burning platform. This is a problem that is apparent within the organization and is clear to all that if left unchecked, may take the organization to its knees. Making progress in these initiatives isn’t easy, but can be easier if a few steps are followed. Begin by setting a clear objective. This describes the endgame, where are you going with this project. The key results, or milestones can help identify the steps along the way that when accomplished, will solve that particular objective. And then the initiatives, or tasks, are the blocking and tackling moves that need to happen to accomplish the milestones. In a sense, you’re breaking down the problem into smaller, objective work statements and time-frames.

Your journey will have successes as well as failures. Make sure to learn from both. Make the time to re-group along the way to discuss and document your options with your team. Doing this will help prevent you from following one bad decision with another bad decision. And yes, all of this is hard!

Please give this some thought. Taking on any new initiative shouldn’t be taken lightly. New initiatives bring disruptions, endless meetings, and non-productive time. This is a true investment, and as such, this should only be introduced when there is a clear objective, a clear problem to be solved that all those concerned can wrap their arms around and take ownership.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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