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The Martian - One Problem at a Time

Written by Tom Bouwer on January 25, 2016

Leadership IDS

The Martian In the movie The Martian, Mark Watney, finding himself stranded 140 million miles from earth (and 4 years from rescue), sums up his situation like this:

"If the oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the hab breaches, I'll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So, yeah. I'm &#$%!@.”

Many of us, most of us, would be overwhelmed by this challenge. Instead, Watney starts IDSing—or Identifying, Discussing (with himself!) and Solving his problems. 

“In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm gonna have to science the $#!& out of this.”

This is What We Should be Doing in Our Businesses

We often get overwhelmed by the 157 things we need to fix/decide on/solve/manage… We’re swamped by a To-Do list with 53 things. We have 23 priorities. If you ever feel like this, take a lesson from Watney:

“You solve one problem—do the math, do the legwork—and you move on to the next. And when you’ve solved enough of them, you get to live a bit longer.”

There are several take-a-ways from the movie: how to prioritize issues; how to break issues down to their root cause; how to work the most important issue first (solve it and only then move on to the next)—to mention just a few. How can your team apply these lessons?

Leadership Training Idea:  

Watch and discuss the movie with your team. Ask, "How can we get better at IDSing and working one problem at a time? What is the first issue we need to solve?" Use this exercise to frame up your first quarter activities, to set your company up for success at the end of the year. Wishing your team health, and traction on your vision this year.

Next Steps:

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