Sunday, April 16, 2006

Applying Your Skill

If you work in manufacturing, you know that problem solving is a daily event. The heart of any problem solving activity is the root cause. You have not solved a problem until the root is eliminated. Easier said than done for the root is often hard to find.

God bestows gifts on each of us. It is our job to apply these gifts in life. If they sit stagnant noone will benefit from them. By trying to use them every day, you will be a better person because your time will be spent on things that make you happy.

Some of the best problem solvers in the world are engineers. In fact, if you could summarize what engineers do in a few sentences, it would be that they solve problems. Whether you work for NASA or Nissan, most of what you do (as an engineer) is solve problems.

You should never leave your skill at work. You are obligated to share your gift with others. Use it to make society better. For example, the following was an insert in my church's bulletin this morning:
"What do you do if the jobs that feed your family are poisoning the water they drink? For the women of Huanuni, Bolivia, the question is pointed. Every morning when you look at your sleeping children, you know that the toughest part of your job is not the cold air deep in the gold mines or the back-breaking work of gathering chunks of ore by hand. What makes it hard to leave them is knowing that what puts their beans and potatoes on the table-basically the only work to be found in your community-is also poisoning them."
The article continues to talk about how the Presbyterian church has joined with an organization called UMAVIDA to study root causes of hunger and poverty and strategize how to address them. Does this sound familiar? Finding root causes. Strategizing for solutions.

These people are not engineers but couldn't such an endeavor use a professional problem solver?

Always try to find ways to apply your skill(s).

For results of this project go to


Stew Denslow said...


I think you are right on the money about the need for problem solving that engineers are trained to do (and probably have a specific gift for). I would add that there always seems to be confusion about the phrase "problem solving". Many folks look at it as more of a political issue that would need a someone with strong political or negotiating skills. These are tremendously important skills but when people think only this way, something is missed. I think there are also problems that occur in communications between engineer problem-solvers and the manager/politician problem-solvers. So much more could be accomplished if this communication were clearer. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stew. You may have this talent but there are times that a person can be held back from utilizing their talent. I for one love to problem solve and see "light bulbs" click in individuals minds, but not having either the time or opportunity creates this stagnant notion. I am not an engineer, but it comes somewhat natural to me to always ask "why". I believe that we all can solve problems to a certain level, but there comes a point when you would need a so-called problem solving expert with not only the experience, but also the time to do such projects.

Stephen said...

I see this relationship often in manufacturing: Engineers and managers. In many cases, managers came from the engineering ranks so they can "speak the language".

It is a language. For the communication to be effective, both parties must speak the language.

Stephen said...

I'm not a big believer in super problem solvers but instead have a vision of work forces strong in the basics of problem solving. Everyone would have his/her tool box for solving problems.

The work environment would be conducive to solving problems. Solving problems would not be something that takes time but would be a integral part of the daily business routine.