As an entrepreneur or founder our mind is running on all cylinders trying to solve every problem. Time seems to be the enemy and every day is a battle between the to-do list and sleep. We often label this feeling as "overwhelmed". It has a negative connotation and is often wrapped with an emotional state of mind.
By contrary, in business, you want to overwhelm the problem as much as you can. Overwhelming the problem is a management tactic that dates back to Julius Ceasar to force a positive result. It should be a decision in your tool belt to move your business in the right direction...let's explore...
Why Do We Feel Overwhelmed?
Doing too many things at once and running out of time can be overwhelming. Ironically, the labeling is self-diagnosed as each overwhelmed individual could simply choose to relax - solving the stress problem.
But people are much different than businesses. For one, a business doesn't complain about stress levels on Facebook. They do however hate the color red and anything with the word "Tax".
So why would a business choose to be overwhelmed? Because being overwhelmed is not about stress it is about compartmentalization. When a business can compartmentalize the problem, it will have less of them.
Compartmentalizing the Problem
Compartmentalizing is a tactic that managers inherently understand how to execute. You think of a problem, find a solution, and then execute inside of a few boundaries. You move onto the next problem in isolation. Once all the problems are solved - you start making money. Pretty simple.
But businesses are way more complex. Problems become half solved or ignored due to their effect on the business. Managers begin to fire fight and problems become more apparent. The solutions often have a ripple effect downstream as more problems arise.
How Julius Caesar Overwhelms The Problem
The Roman Emperor created a masterclass in overwhelming the problem. In battles, strategy is paramount to success and understanding the battlefield then reacting makes for a good general. Julius Caesar is one of the greatest military generals of all time - and his success came from always overwhelming the problem.
At the battle of Avaricum in 52 BC against the rebellious Gauls, Ceasar found himself with 40,000 troops starting down the most fortified town in the territory. All his scouts informed him it would be impossible to win considering the fortifications of the town and it's tactical position on a high hill.
So instead of trying to flank the town, or pick apart the weakness what did Ceasar do? He overwhelmed the problem. He built a giant hill with two covered towers right next to the city's walls. Then, he simply walked over the wall and took the city.
Overwhelming the Problem In Business
In business you MUST put all your attention on the most optimal way to defeat the problem then place all of your resources on that solution. The more the better.
This allows you to fully understand what you are facing and places your entire team on finding the solution. It will inevitably squash the problem all together without creating a trickle effect of issues. And It will Always Work.
Winning The Battle vs Winning the War
Firefighting can for sure allow you to win the battle, claim victory and be rewarded. But winning the war is what the great generals are known for. They do not celebrate victories, the celebrate sustained success. As I personally mature as a business leader - my mind is more focused on the 5 year plan then the 1 year. It is a training that has come from experience and failures. But for me, the greatest victory is when you see the team overwhelming problems.
For the last two weeks on Altar, the entire team has been focused on our new pricing page. We spent at least 10 iterations and countless meeting hours to solve the problem. Why? Because overwhelming this problem now will create years of lasting success. It took a designer, two engineers, CTO, CEO, COO, two QA's and a PM for at least three weeks meeting and changing the plan.
Do you overwhelm problems at your business? Let me know...
Are you interested in building a mobile or web app digital venture?
If so, follow @andrewamann on Twitter or https://www.ninetwothree.co/author/andrew-amann
I am writing about 30 ways to build your digital venture the right way in 90 days.