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4 Ways to Become a Better Problem Solver: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | May 23, 2023

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to become a better problem solver. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: 4 Ways to Become a Better Problem Solver

Problem solving is a skill we need in all aspects of business and life. The better we get at it, the quicker and more efficient we become – leading to the results we want. Become a better problem solver by investigating possible solutions with a time limit, analyzing the options against the goals, enlisting the help of the RIGHT others, and testing-and-learning to optimize the solution. Let’s solve some problems. This episode covers everything from problem solving to goal setting. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you become a better problem solver?
  • What does procrastination have to do with problem solving?
  • Why should you put a time limit on your possible solutions?
  • How do you analyze the options against the goals?
  • Who are the right people to help you?
  • What are insecure overachievers?
  • How do you test-and-learn?
  • What did The Filson do masterfully?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:29
Welcome to Marketing Smarts! I am Anne Candido. And I am April Martini. And today we’re going to cover a topic that we believe transcends all levels in all positions in any company, and really honestly can bleed into our personal lives as well. And that is four ways to become a better problem solver. We recently did an episode on moving past procrastination and really that episode in this episode go hand in hand, because we believe that if you can become a better problem solver, then you can sit for less long in the state of procrastination, because you have new tools to getting things

Anne Candido 1:01
done. Yes, and and the more we can implement these ways into our lives on a regular basis, the faster and better we become because we can make problems from an objective point of view and know what to go and do in order to get to the solution. And for those of you guys who are engineers, you’re gonna be nodding along with me, right? Because engineers already inherently are good problem solvers. And the rest of you might have to work a little bit harder. But you know, this episodes for everybody?

April Martini 1:26
Good, good. Okay, as you can pat yourself on the back, yes. Okay. All right. Well, with that, we’ll get into four ways to become a better problem solver. So the first one we have here is investigate possible solutions. With a time limit. You’ve heard us talk on various episodes about just going and doing the first thing to get started. And that definitely applies here. The first thing though, is to start to dig into the information you have at hand, or researching what might be missing. So you can feel like you’re informed enough to start to frame up what the options are for potential solutions. The reason the time limit comes into play and is so important is that one of the places that’s easy to get stuck is in thinking you need every single ounce of information out there before you can possibly start to go down the path of making a decision. This is simply not true. And in most cases, it’s not even possible with the sheer amount of information that is out there. I mean, you google something, right, just as a simple example. And what you get back is pages and pages and pages of potential options. So in defining the time, think about the magnitude or the impact of the problem and the subsequent solution. So I’ll give a couple of recent examples. For me, if it is finding a restaurant for Mother’s Day for your entire family, yes, I was on the hook for that. Quickly list out the parameters, number of people location of town that’s convenient for everybody time of day, will they be open and then just run a quick search, pick a few to share with the group and then done, you’re finished with it, right. So this is a relatively simple thing that is on your list as a task that you’re going and trying to go and figure out a solution for, it’s not worth the laboring thinking of every restaurant, for example, in your area, none of those things should come into play, it should be pretty simple. Here are the options, here’s what we’re going with and move forward. However, if you’re figuring out how to save a client relationship, that’s failing fast, that’s on the other side, right? That’s an place where you need to spend some more time. So that might require, call it a few hours, go and meet with the people that are on the ground with the relationship, talk to even maybe the client and list leadership so that they have some say in there have visibility to what’s going on, build a cross functional team of folks to quickly come together and think about what you could potentially do. Again, this is not like a week long process, I said a relationship that is failing fast, that means you need to get in front of it quickly. But the point here is to say it requires more due diligence than something that is more simply task oriented. So really think about the timeline that you need to make the decision and that you feel like in your gut, you’re going to have enough to go and process what those potential solutions are. You’re not solving it necessarily, especially in the client example, but you’re pulling together relevant information in a timely manner.

Anne Candido 4:32
Yeah, this is a really hard one for a lot of people because they just don’t know how much information they really need to know. And a little bit more of an art, it is definitely more of an art and I’ll give you a couple of cues. They’re going to help you understand like when you’re done processing so that you can move on because a lot of people will tend to process forever because they don’t want to miss anything. They don’t want to get to a point where they are on the hook for something and then something out of the blue comes out I mean, so there’s a lot of pressure to You get all the information as possible before making any kind of a decision. So if you kind of know that yourself to be one of these AI processors, listen up here, because I’m gonna give you a couple of things to think about. One is you need to think about the risk versus reward. Yes, right. So if you get to a point where your risk is a lot lower than the reward, or to the point where if you tried it, it’s not going to be detrimental. Or if you are going to like take some action, you might learn more than saying to having a hypothetical discussion all the time, that’s when you’re likely done process. Yeah, you’re never going to know everything there is to know. And the big risk here is making sure you don’t go down into a rabbit hole, because that tends to happen is that people will tend to go off on these angles, and they go down the rabbit holes, and they just spend a lot of time processing, it can never get to the point where they feel comfortable enough to make a decision. The other cue is if you feel like you can’t take it all on yourself, you need to share the risk, you need to share the responsibility you need to get other people. We’re going to talk about that in a second. So I’m not going to belabor the point, but you need to get other people who can share the risk with you so that you can make this decision together.

April Martini 6:08
Yeah, I think those are really good points. And I think you your point about knowing when it is tricky, you know, I said it’s a little bit more of an art. And some of us have really learned that we have strong gut instinct, and we can roll with that. And we’re comfortable there others of us don’t have that. And again, it’s another thing where it’s everything in between. But it’s really around arming yourself with enough that you can go and do to your point so that you’re not just sitting there paralyzed. And as a processor, quite frankly, it’s interesting for me, I think the agency, quick fire situation sort of trained me out of my processing in certain instances where it was like, Okay, I have to get to make faster decisions, or I’m going to be here all night, every night until three o’clock in the morning. But being able to really hone in and then lean in as part of this process. To no one you can’t just sit and process forever. But then to like you said the risk associated with it, to be able to feel like okay, I can move on or like you said, go ask someone else, etc. Right, right. All right. And so we’ll get into the next point here, which kind of steps off of the idea of making sure that you have enough information in a timely manner. And that is to analyze the options you have against the goal. So I just said in the previous point that what you’re trying to do is loosely frame up what the potential solutions are. At this phase, you’re going into analysis, and this is where you should try to get as objective as possible. We talked in the previous point about how people can get stuck in processing, I think in this point, what people get stuck in is their emotions. So really, what you want to do is do your best to turn that off. So that you can counter the emotions and get crystal clear. And that’s where those goals come in. So and talked about the risk associated, right? If you can start to frame up your options through the lens of this problem came up and what we are trying to achieve is X that starts to give you a filter for which solutions may be pushing you in the right direction. So what is an example of this? All right, and in April, yes, and third person make a revenue goal. They look at their current funnel and most of what feeds their current funnel is word of mouth. So what did we quickly realize that we were not going to be able to deliver the growth number that we had listed out within the limitations that a lot of our business comes from word of mouth, which by the way is amazing, not saying yeah, turn to us. Thank you. Yes, yes. It’s just that we gave ourselves a pretty audacious goal from where we were last year. And looking in that we said, Okay, we are growing every year. That’s amazing. To make this leap. We’re going to have to figure out another way to what could we do? We could figure it out ourselves. With all the other things we have going on on our plate. We could hire someone to help us figure out in fact, someone who may potentially be an expert in funnels. And then we had to figure out who would those people be? And what are the pros and cons are the risks and rewards of investing the time ourselves versus hiring someone else to meet our goals, which was x amount of revenue in 2023. calendar year, right? When we got super focused through the lens of the goals. It helped to really show us what the answer was, and that was to bring someone on to our team to help fuel the process of building our funnel and leaning in with us on our business so that we could continue to do all the other things that we do day to day A with another partner who could help expedite that process for us. And when I say it sort of showed itself to us, you know, you put things out into the universe. I mean, we got connected to someone on the podcast, actually, Alicia Colin Hurd, who came on the podcast, and we liked what she had to say. And because we were kind of in this sort of problem solution mindset, it became clear that based on the options we were looking at, she was the person that we ultimately needed. But going back to the beginning of this one, if we had leaned into our emotions, it would have prolong the analysis, we probably would have gone back and forth about whether we should do it on behalf of our business, or make the investment and make the investment to hire someone, there’s so many places you can invest. I mean, you can see how it gets very muddy, very fast. So just an example, to exemplify this point of if you’re clear on your goals, and you use them with discipline as a filter, you get far better at problem solving way faster. Yeah, I

Anne Candido 11:03
think that’s a really good example. And I’ll bring up a personal one too, from my days at P&G, and people might be sitting here listening to this episode going, Wow, this sounds a lot like decision making? Well, ironically, a lot of people’s problems is making decisions. So it’s a very intertwined conversation. So if that’s what you’re hearing, that’s totally by design. So I what I think this point really does nicely is it sets people up to be a credible resource. Yeah, right. Especially if you don’t feel like you have a seat at the table or a voice in the room. So for example, when we were do creative reviews at P&G, I was in PR was in public relations, I was invited to the table, I had a seat at the table, I didn’t necessarily have a voice in the room until I could define what my point of view was going to contribute to the overall goal of the work was which not was not directly attributed to the actual creative itself, but more about what the impact of the creative was going to have. So my criteria was, are people going to talk about it? Can I get people to write about it? Can we develop social around it, that’s going to make it bigger than just this one piece. So that criteria became my voice, it became my POV that became valued in the room. So I’m not sitting there saying, well, then I like the creative, that’s actually irrelevant, even though we’d like to have a vote. And that would be like nice if people cared if I liked it or not, to the point you’re making before, that’s not my objective POV. That added value. So there from that when people started realizing, Oh, I see where she’s coming from that perspective will be valuable, I started getting invited to a whole lot more other things. And my point of view about things beyond my scope specifically became valued as well. So then people didn’t care what I thought about the creative because they’re like, Hey, man, is this creative going to be good enough for these things that we want. So you can see how this all starts to work. And it helps to, if you if your problem is reputation, credibility, growth of voice in the room, those sorts of things, this could really, really help. Yeah, I

April Martini 13:09
think that’s a really good point. Because I mean, the personal lens, and what you’re trying to achieve is also part of this, right? Because you start to see it as a self reflection of who you are as a person as well. And that can be where some of that paralysis starts to happen. So I’m not going to go into our whole spiel on personal brand, we have plenty of assets for that. But I do think it’s another important piece to bring into this conversation. Because if you are actively managing your personal brand, you should have your personal goals for what you’re trying to achieve, spelled out to yourself and kind of on a recurring loop in your mind. So as you’re going to solve problems, you know, what your criteria and agenda not a negative way but what you’re trying to achieve is so that you can go and do that with intention.

Anne Candido 13:59
And that’s a great point. And also like I was very clear, like I would say, I’m looking at this from knees for points now even had the VP go, that was very helpful to understand what lens you’re looking at it through everybody should come with a lens. So then the whole meeting became a whole lot more productive because then everybody was structuring it based on what they thought their criteria was versus having a very subjective conversation about what people liked and didn’t like it’s it’s really irrelevant because the only mattered is what the people we were making it for. We’re gonna like

April Martini 14:29
yes, I think that’s a great point. All right, and and preempted this one a little bit before but it’s definitely worth its own point. And so number three in the four ways to become a better problem solver is enlist the help of the right others capital R IG HT. So another place we tend to get stuck is one in whether to enlist other people period, and then to deciding who we want to enlist. We are not fans at ForthRight People of decisons by committee. Because this is a another huge holdup in solving problems. Sometimes this holdup comes from a good place, I’m gonna be on my soapbox for a hot minute here. And that we want to make sure everybody feels heard are included. And we want to make sure that everybody feels good and the culture feels good. And the temperature check is right. Other times we do it because we’re not competent in making the decisions ourselves. Again, this is where you want to take into account the magnitude of the problem to decide whether one anybody else needs to be involved. And then to who and what role are they going to play, or what are they going to bring to the table that is supplementing your ability to solve the problem on your own. If you do decide others are needed, you need to think about it through the lens of people that either have experience that’s going to round out your thinking different experience from you have differing point of views. So that could be through the lens of experience. But a lot of times it shows up as this is someone who usually takes the opposite approach that I do. And so therefore, they’re a good person to bring to the table, they need to be involved, because the decision that’s going to be made is going to directly impact them, meaning they have to own some of the solution that you’re coming to not necessarily that they’re just a part of the team. That’s where you would get back into decision by committee again, which is what we’re trying to avoid. So in other words, you’re giving yourself and this person in objective reason that they are important to getting to a solution, and then you owe it to them and to you to define that role. And be clear, if you’re asking for input that’s going to help supplement what you already know and what you’re trying to solve for. Or if you’re asking them to help you decide these are two different things, you may go and solicit input from someone who is an expert, but that actually has no bearing on this situation, the problem or the solution that you’re trying to get to, you may go and ask someone to solve alongside you, because like and set up a couple points ago, they have to own some of the risk as well. So for example, if this is a problem with some serious magnitude, like you could lose this client, then of course, your boss needs to be included in that whole conversation and what you’re going to go and do about it right? You may present possible solutions and ask for thoughts or opinions. Or you might be asking them to help you choose no matter what you have to be very clear on the Ask, and why you’re making this ask. And I’ll give an example. And then I’m sure and we’ll have some thoughts on this one, too. So when I had a team, and I was trying to get out of solving it for them, I flipped the script and would ask them what role they wanted me to play in order to be clear, so it didn’t just become a knee jerk. April should always be involved in the decision making, right? This helped in a few ways. One, I stopped getting so many requests, because a lot of times I didn’t need to be part of the discussion

Anne Candido 18:08
then once you come in at the last minute either and screw it all up.

April Martini 18:10

Anne Candido 18:11
wow, it’s gonna be one of those episodes. I’m gonna say this right

April Martini 18:15
now, just totally true. Just come in and flip the script completely. Yeah. It helped them get clear on the previous points that we’ve made here about doing some of that homework themselves. So going and seeking out information, not coming to me again and saying, Well, what would you do? What would you do as the knee jerk default, it was they would go and do their research. And they would go and start to frame up what the potential solutions were. And then when they would come to me, I would ask for clarity of my role. So like I just outlined, are you asking me for input as someone who has sat in the seat before? Are you asking me to help you come to a decision? And so once that started coming back, and the purpose of this episode, right is to make everybody better problem solvers, they started to be able to step away from any involvement with me at all, quite frankly, and make decisions on their own. Or if they were coming to me, and they really did need help. More often than not nine times out of 10. By the time I had left that organization, it was stuff that I should have been involved in. So yeah, I

Anne Candido 19:18
mean, I think that’s a really good example. And I’m going to speak to the insecure overachievers here for a second. I love that term. I know and you know who you are, there’s two sitting here at various points, these are words that are career right. And I speak to you because as you’re hearing this point, I know that there’s a lot of anxiety associated with this because one there is this feeling that God if I like reveal that I don’t know what I’m doing or that I’m having this problem that everybody kind of knows my dirty secrets. And I have to admit that maybe I wasn’t as smart as I you know, they thought I was or I don’t have it all together like they thought I did and are somehow I’m gonna be found out and I can tell you You know that this is one of the hardest things to get over for sure, but can be done very elegantly, in being able to ask for help and making the problem bigger than there was something that you just had to solve on your own. Yes. So for example, if the problem is that, you know, the business is not growing, and you know that there’s something related to what you are doing a way to be able to engage others in that conversation without it making it sound like it was your fault that the business isn’t growing is to say, How can I help you do your job better? Right? So you, you ask and solicit input, which is basically like you know, that there’s something going on in your group, that’s just not working quite right. But instead of like asking somebody or revealing that, you know, that that’s the case, you know, you can kind of like, stylistically, be able to outreach to people in a way that is seeking input without it having to be like airing your dirty laundry. So if you really like that, that that’s an anchor point, because it there does take some vulnerability in that. And I’m not saying that you should cover up something that is a major issue. So don’t please don’t hear me when I say that. If there is a major issue in its has like traumatic and catastrophic impact, you should be like telling everybody because the best thing that you can do is to bring everybody together in the in the smartest minds in the smartest brains in order to kind of help solve your your problem holistically. But if it’s something that’s more of that, like, you know, more isolated, if you will, you can use that. The other thing to consider as well. But another thing that kind of sneaks its its ugly head is ego. When we talk about this, it’s like, I don’t want to have to ask for anybody’s help. Because I want to do it on my own. I want to do it my way. And I want to get it done. Now, if I have to go ask for somebody’s helped. And that means I need to get these people involved in I need to listen to what they actually have to say. And then I have to maybe consider it. And then I’m like, what if they actually do have some good starts and then have to redo everything that I’m doing. And the only reason why I can like rattle this off really quickly is because it’s exactly the way I used to.

April Martini 22:08
You’ve done that with me before.

Anne Candido 22:11
It is a little hard to touch with like, gosh, dang, if I send it to her, she’s just gonna blow

April Martini 22:16
it up yourself all the time you tell on yourself? Yes, all the time.

Anne Candido 22:19
Now? I do I do. It is a hard thing. I’m a recovering Mom, I’ve been recovering. And I’m still in the acknowledgement and denial side of it. So just if that’s you, that’s fine. Know that it’s me as well. And I think the reason why I have overcome it, especially in the situation with a brown eye is because I know she’s going to make it better. So it to finding the right people capital ri ght, find people that are going to help make it better and you trust, they’re going to make it better. But it’s okay to set up the parameters like, Listen, I’m looking for you to provide input on these things. I’m not giving you this like for carte blanche like opportunity to blow this whole thing up. Right? I need you to do these things if they provide you other input outside of that great. And then give them a timeline for providing that input. I needed by you know, whatever thoughts you have, by close of business today, making sure it’s reasonable people, but like, you can qualify how you want to receive feedback, you can qualify the people that you want to engage with it. And that helps you to help manage the anxiety and the emotion of it all.

April Martini 23:23
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And I just want to put a fine point on that – all caps. I think the reason that the it works now between us is because we’re aligned to those same goals. So the idea is that we are always making things better, that is our desire. Not that we’re going to blow things up for each other. Because I think sometimes where that PTSD comes in, is that and listeners, I’m sure you all have these people where you would be like, Oh, I have to show us so and so. But their MO is to blow it up. Yeah. And so I’m gonna have to gear up for that. And then how am I gonna handle that, and we’re already so far down the path and all of those types of things. Finding the right people is really important so that you can feel confident that they’re gonna give you the feedback through the lens of making whatever the situation is better. Instead of fill in the blank, their ego self serving, playing into that mo being the one to blow it up. You’ve got to look for those people who are really going to assist and play their roles in the proper way. Yeah,

Anne Candido 24:28
I totally agree. And I think the other side of the coin that people need to really watch out for too is the full deferment of everything. Yeah, right. If I defer the whole thing, then I only have to take responsibility for it. Right? So you get like a brainstorming session together or a whole group together. Everybody would get in and they did throughout all their their thoughts about how to solve this problem. And you being the leader of the whole thing would just be like, I’m looking for somebody to take responsibility for it in the room. That’s not you, right? You can’t defer problems that are on your plate. A this is where you have to find the right people to share the risk with. But the other side of that coin and watch out at that shoe is to defer the whole decision of solving the problem because you are afraid of taking on that responsibility.

April Martini 25:14
Amen to that one. All right, and number four here should be no surprise if you listen to the show regularly. But the fourth way to become a better problem solver is to test and learn to optimize the solution. And Anne said this early on in this episode around going and trying something out or doing something, we are big fans of that stepping into it, you know, seeing how things go testing the waters, it is actually the one caveat to the feedback about processing or taking your time or setting a timer all those things is if you are actively doing things to chip away at the solution, that can be a really good approach to take. Once we make an implement a decision, it’s also important to analyze those outcomes because at the very least we should be learning from every decision we make that is one of the top ways to become a better problem solver, because many times there’s potential for optimizations builds other solutions, if the first one didn’t work out quite right, even if that situation is put to bed, you have new tools to try the next time, it can be really hard to pull the trigger for fear of being wrong. We’ve talked about that throughout this episode. But if you take the test and learn philosophy, it allows some of the pressure to be taken off, it allows for some grace. And really, it allows for you to have some breathing room to know that you don’t have to get every single solution 100% right all the time. This goes back to that insecure overachiever mindset, I think very much. So leaning into my past experiences well, it can be tough, but if you just think about it as test and learn instead of this is the be all end all and everything rides on this one decision. Yes, there are some big ones out there, right, there are huge problems, you should be able to identify those on your own. So you don’t need to go down that rabbit hole. But generally speaking, everyday problems kind of are sort of a blip on the radar. And that really leads me to my example, or some advice that I was given because I was one of those insecure overachievers early on. And someone told me once that I needed to stop worrying about quote, unquote, failing, because the way I’m built in the way I work and the amount of personal integrity I put into my work, not to mention OCD, perfectionist all of those things, that my quote, unquote, fail, and the magnitude of it in my head would be a blip on most people’s radar. And that was some of the best advice I could have ever gotten, especially as a young person, because it allowed me to lean into this test and learn mindset and to be able to fail gracefully. And to feel like there was some flexibility where I didn’t have to be 100% Perfect all of the time. And also to know that I wasn’t going to be penalized if things didn’t go 100% The right perfect way. And so I think that’s just another contextualization or example of how testing and learning can help you make a start on getting to a solution. And also then how to get better over time in that sort of optimization feedback loop that we should all be doing. Every time we’re making decisions and solving problems. Yeah. And I think the other side of that coin of

Anne Candido 28:44
dramatizing the failure and having that be like so debilitating is that is an argument about who’s right and always wanting to be right. Yep. Right. And so if you’re not wrong, you’re right. And if you’re right, you’re right, so then who else ever wants to be wrong? And so it becomes this like hypothetical discussion a lot as you think about where people’s filters are coming from again, which is why it’s so important to understand that, so that you can see where everybody’s kind of positioning themselves. And when they position themselves, in certain instances, it is in order to serve themselves. And that’s not I’m not saying that to be like that everybody’s narcissistic and just looking out for themselves, but they are going to serve themselves first, in the context of whatever this problem is being solved for. If you’re not constantly putting in front of them, the greater problem that is whatever is impacting the business, right? So you have to always ladder it up to a bigger problem, like I said before, so people can see that they need to consider more than just whatever is their issue in this. And you can hopefully then put some of these hypothetical discussions to bed by actually then going to test out some of these hypothesis that people have. So that’s what I’m really wanting to get out here to test and learn is like it’s action oriented. And you need that in order to move forward your business. Otherwise, you’re going to sit there in these hypothetical discussions forever, and everybody’s gonna profess to be right. And we all know that not everybody can be right all the time. But because people don’t want to be wrong it then you have to kind of make sure that that human quality and the natural nature of people is recognized in your problem solving.

April Martini 30:32
Yeah, I think it’s a great point. And I also think that on the other side of the theoretical, if you are making enough decisions and solving enough problems on a regular basis, there is a lot of muscle memory associated with it. And so we talked about objectivity throughout this some as well, the magnitude comes into play here as well. But it’s like if it’s day to day stuff, like smaller stuff, you just get really good at churning through those things, right? So you don’t even have to get to the like, in your point is well taken, ask everybody bring everybody together. And it’s like, what kind of pizza should we have for Friday’s what so important conversation

Anne Candido 31:12
should be grouped.

April Martini 31:17
But you know, you you see where we’re going joking aside here. But I think that the testing and learning if you can think about it, as a practice, it does start to develop that muscle memory because there is nothing worse than sitting in that theoretical. I mean, I’m sitting here and when I was listening to an talk, I felt like my skin was starting to itch for how many times I was in those meetings and conversations where I was like, we’re never going to decide, we’re just going to sit here, we’re going to sit here and the problem is going to exist. And guess what, it’s going to get bigger. And we’re still going to keep coming back and having these theoretical conversations. Meanwhile, something’s on fire, and nothing’s being done. Yeah.

Anne Candido 31:51
And I think two more points to that one. One is, that’s when people start deferring again, the discussion, they’re like, well, let’s go off and think about it and come back tomorrow. You can’t delay these things. Sometimes people you have to decide in the room and somebody needs to take the responsibility. And in the way that you do that is you assign those roles before you even have this these discussions, right. So you need to know who is the decision maker, so that we are very clear about how this is going to process itself through. And then once you find stuff to start working, start establishing dos is whatever you want to call it, best practices, processes for decision making, if you like charts, whatever I mean, find something that starts documenting how this worked well before. So do you have something to go back to that doesn’t mean it’s going to work? Well, every single time for every single problem. But at least you have something to say, hey, this worked before, is this gonna work this time? Or we tried this before and it worked like this before? Is this now the time to bring it back? So it starts to kind of create some legacy of some of the decisions that were made some of the problems that were being solved. Now, don’t take that out the window and being like that guy who sits there 30 years later saying, Well, we tried that 25 years ago, and it didn’t work, right. So you still have to have it like with some level of rationalization and modernization, if you will. But it does help to start establish a legacy of decision making problem solving that you can then refer to

April Martini 33:19
Yes, I think that’s a great point. All right, in our next segment is a brand that is or is not using its marketing smarts based on our observations and experiences. And so the one I’m going to talk about today is The Filson. I’m bringing it full circle like an often tries to do with her length through the episode. Oh, I mentioned the Mother’s Day restaurant decision. So this is the answer to that we went to The Filson. However, full disclosure, I did not come up with this option. It was my brother Braden who came up with this option. And so I will give credit where credit is due. So they brought in the right people, I brought in the right people to solve the problem, because we were having trouble finding a place where you could accommodate, what did we have 14 people?

Anne Candido 34:06
And I think it was an excellent opportunity to defer all the risk to I did.

April Martini 34:12
Actually, we were driving down there and Bryce goes, You know what I think is the best thing about this for once you didn’t plan it, which means if it goes to shit, no one’s gonna look at you. I know.

Anne Candido 34:23
And I know, based on some of the conversations that we’re having earlier on about whether or not there was gonna be Coors Light or not, it could be that way.

April Martini 34:32
Anyway, all of that aside, the reason I want to talk about the Filson is because not only was it a great experience it was but one of the things that we’ve talked about that is suffering tremendously right now is customer service. And we’ve given some not so great examples, and I think the restaurant space is where it’s real dicey right now. So, we went there, and I will tell you this server is probably in my top 10 servers of all time for eight for a group for a group like, I mean, we are a big group, right? So there were 10 adults, my sister is in Atlanta for at work, so she wasn’t there. And for little kids, that’s a lot. It was Mother’s Day weekend, which means there were a whole lot of parties like us in that restaurant. This server was masterful in her management of us as a group and just understanding how to add value. On top of just providing us with our food, which I think is a lot of what’s happened lately. So some examples of that are my one of my biggest pet peeves is when a server, see small kids and bring glasses full to the top for those kids, right? I know, that’s a really silly thing. But come on, right, it’s like reading the room. So she came and they had plastic cups, but they didn’t have any lids left. So she filled them like a third of the way for all the kids at the table points. Okay. She brought out proactively all of the like condiments and things, and kept them away from where the children were sitting. And this is not all about the kids, I’ll get to other things. quickly identified to the point of the Coors Light, this was a drinking table, nobody’s drinks went empty, or you know, she’s keeping her eye to make sure that we’re all taken care of as the food took a little bit of time, which was fine. There were 14 of us. And then the thing that really got me was my sister and her fiance, we’re going to be late. And so I said, out loud, I have their order. So we’ll just go ahead and place it. I didn’t say that to her. So she goes all around the table. And she comes back. And she said, Ma’am, did you mention you wanted to order for the people that are going to be at the end, I was like, You gotta be kidding me. But what I’m trying to exemplify here is she was very, very tuned in I think, in a time where customer service is lacking a lot kind of across the board. This was a situation where I felt like this person, but also the restaurant. I mean, I’m watching the others, she was the best of the experience. But I mean, it was very well choreographed. This is a young restaurant, it’s been around for less than a year. It’s sitting in a highly competitive part of downtown Cincinnati on the banks where there’s lots of different choices. And I am a quick one to say there aren’t very many of them down there that I really love. That’s one that I will definitely be returning to. And the other final point I want to make is, it wasn’t like it has to be that hard, right? It was just a matter of her, assessing her customers, and then thinking through the lens of what she was assessing what she was going to provide to make our experience something that is worth talking about, especially for people that are out eating out all the time. So there you go. I love

Anne Candido 37:46
that one. Because you know, at the surface, it looks very much like she is just trying to be of service to everybody there. But she’s trying to be of service to herself as well. So if she was to bring full glasses, and they get spilled everywhere, and she’s spending her time cleaning stuff up, yep. If she didn’t like take that order wasn’t listening for that, then she’s running back and forth. And then she has to coordinate that with the kitchen. So there’s a level of anticipation and savviness there that I feel like is a big differentiator when you’re coming talking about customer service. So for me that one was like the prime story that if you are looking for a differentiator in your business, and you are using customer service right now is that differentiator, you better get very clear about what your element of differentiation is within customer service. And I think where people can start to really excel, there is an anticipation of people’s needs. And that could be used across the board, you do see what that looks like for your own business. But if you think about how can we better anticipate people’s needs, or give them what they need and not necessarily what they asked for? That’s gonna be a huge differentiating factor. I totally agree. All right, so just to recap four ways to become a better problem solver. Number one, investigate possible solutions with

April Martini 39:01
a time limit. Dig up enough info that you feel confident you can reach a solution within the allotted amount of time. Number two, analyze the options against the goals get clear and objective about which options make the most sense as it relates to what you’re trying to achieve. Number three, enlist the help of the right capital RIGHT others. This is not decision by committee. Enlist the people that have related experience, and or those that can help you with the decision be clear in defining each person’s role in the solution and that includes whether they’re part of making that decision or not. Number four, test and learn to optimize a solution humans make mistakes, which means sometimes we choose the wrong solutions. learning from our mistakes is more powerful than always being right as long as we learn from each of them. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our websiteL We can help you become a savvier marketer through coaching or training you and your team or doing the work on your behalf. Please also help us grow the podcast by rating and reviewing on your player of choice and sharing with at least one person. Now, go show off your Marketing Smarts!