Target the Right Problem

In business, we too often look for easy, short-term victories and focus on the wrong target. For example, the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) focus is on drug smugglers. Unfortunately, this does not address the user’s appetite for drugs. However, targeting the users instead of the seller is a bit harder. Consequently, the DEA’s energy is often directed at the easier end of the problem instead of the right one in an effort to show short-term success.

As we discussed in a previous post, when you target the wrong end of the problem, you don’t solve the underlining issue. Often, you make the problem even harder to solve in the future. The shallow victories against Napster did not address the real issue of piracy. Rather, it only caused the problem to become worse as centralized Napster was replaced by decentralized Kazaa.

The lesson here for businesses is to target the right problem. If you target the wrong side of the problem, you make solving the real problem more difficult as various parties react to your actions. In business, you have to consider the consequences of your actions to accomplish your overarching goals.

Let’s compare business to the DEA’s fight against drugs. If the DEA targets drug dealers, they drive up the price of illegal drugs, which provides higher revenues. In turn, these higher revenues attract better and more sophisticated drug dealers. If businesses attack the wrong end of the problem like the DEA, they could drive up prices and attract more sophisticated competitors.

Are you guilty of wanting short-term victories when it comes to solving problems or do you look at your overarching goals and try to solve the right issues even if it is hard?

Don’t forget to sign up for our free email delivery so you can get future inspirational blog posts deliver directly to your email each morning.

Follow us on Twitter @SteveImke
If you like our post “Like” us on Facebook LikeUs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *