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Tried and tested strategies for success

Posted: December 19, 2008 9:31 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 4:55 a.m.
When Wilbur and Orville Wright finished the first successful manned flight on Dec. 17, 1903, they amazed and astonished the world. They also demonstrated the power of their problem-solving method.

They not only solved a problem that others had found too complex and technical, but they also did it without any help from outsiders. These brothers had little formal training or education, but they had amazing brainpower. Few accomplishments can match what these two former bicycle mechanics did with that flying machine.

The key principles of problem-solving used by the Wright brothers are still relevant for business owners today.

There are only eight of them, and here they are.

* Constructive conflict: This conflict can be used to discover and validate new ideas/strategies to find a practical answer.
Tackle worst things first: When big problems are put first, the cost for the whole is limited to this set should a solution prove unachievable.
Just plain tinkering: New approaches can be created by tinkering with parts of a problem when you're trying to understand it.
Rigid flexibility: Flexing the mind allows for thinking of possibilities outside the realm of policy, tradition or experience.
Forever learning: Learning as a lifelong passion is essential for finding the information to solve problems.
Methodical meticulousness: The fastest, most efficient way to solve a problem is by being meticulous and methodical in your approach.
Equitable teamwork: The force of a group with a common purpose is multiplied by interdependence and powered by trust, effort, profits, power and honor.

A side benefit to these steps is that there is a financial bonus. By using these principles, the Wright brothers minimized their costs to less than $1,000 and solved the problem of flight with mind-boggling speed. What business owner wouldn't want to solve a problem in his business and cut costs at the same time?

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of Santa Clarita-based REMS Publishing & Publicity. Her column represents her own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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