The girl sitting on my right in 8th standard [about 16 yrs ago] spent 10 minutes doing “nothing” during a 20 minutes assignment. The teacher had asked the class to summarise the learnings of a really interesting short story by Mark Twain [The adventures of Tom Sawyer].
The whole class frantically copied the whole story right away from the text book. The only competition was the speed of copying, the number of pages to be filled.
Yet, she got the highest marks and praise from the teacher. How could she beat us, even after wasting 10 minutes, and then calmly writing only for 5 minutes and submitting the assignment with 5 minutes remaining. I found it hard to digest then.
Recently I read this quote from Einstein on my timeline:
If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution. – Albert Einstein
It triggered the class 8th memory and a realisation of ‘how important those 10 minutes were’ and how it was the whole class include me, who actually wasted them, and not the girl on my right.
16 years since then, am I still wasting time by not spending enough time ‘defining the problem’?
The answer is a mix of ‘Yes’ and ’No’. Being in a fire-fighting mode, me and my team have become efficient in fixing problems, but a lot of times we are not actually solving them. Solving a problem requires patience and ‘thinking’, and thats were the problem starts. Is thinking so tough, that we would rather die than think ?
“Two percent of the people think; three percent of the people think they think; and ninety-five percent of the people would rather die than think.” – George Bernard Shaw
Well, its unfortunate that we can’t live and learn along with the great minds of Albert Einstein or G.B. Shaw, but there must be people around us, belonging to that 2% who can inspire us. Our team took it upon themselves to open up their minds, look for inspiring leaders and understand how they go about solving small and big operational or strategic problems in their company.
Finding the thinkers …
We didn’t need to look far. At Happay, our team works closely with the CFOs, who happen to be our customers too. So, Ruchi, Head of Marketing at Happay had a good conversation with the CFO of ‘Soch’- which is also known for the Red Dot Sale and is a fast growing retail chain with 95+ stores across India and what came out was a peek into the pragmatic and problem solving approach to finding the right solution to a pressing concern every retailer has.
Here’s the link to the complete conversation: Read the full story here.
She has kept it as raw as possible so that that insights are first hand. Do read and let us know if you would want to get answers to some burning questions from the CFOs. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some of the best of them in India, among our 3500+ customers.
[Varun is the founder/CEO of Happay]