The Office Jester… every office needs one to take the mickey out of lame business problem-solving techniques
How do you define business? Investopedia says, “A business is an organisation or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial or professional activities”. Merriam-Webster defines business as, “the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money”. Dictionary.com has a similar definition of, “the purchase and sale of goods in an attempt to make a profit”.
We have a different take on it. We feel that business is about solving problems. Your product or service will always try to solve some kind of a problem of your customers. Your operations will be all about big and small business problem solving. And, if you’re successful, your business problem-solving skills will be utilised in figuring out how to spend all the money you’ve made. Similarly, if you’re successful and a good person, maybe you’ll activate your business problem-solving skills to help your fellow man. In a nutshell, for us at IJW, “business” is about problem-solving and it’s only the problems that keep changing.
However, entrepreneurs often overcomplicate things. This results in elaborate but lame business problem-solving techniques being utilised. Haven’t you ever felt that your boss has given you a solution that is tantamount to hiring a scuba diver to help you across a river when you could’ve simply taken the bridge a kilometre away? If you have, then we have just the medicine for you.
Here is a video from The Bob Newhart Show, an award-winning situation comedy from the 1970s that should release the pressure on you, especially if you show it to your boss.
Business Problem Solving Simplified!
If you’re really lucky, then your boss is going to take a lesson from this video while guffawing like a donkey, who just saw a green-skinned ogre. What will be his lesson? Maybe he’ll learn to simplify things when it comes to business problem solving – that’s the indirect message in the video. Then, there is our honest hope that your boss gets the direct message from the video – “Stop It!”
We know that we don’t have to tell you how much we like this video. We understand that it makes us dinosaurs in the eyes all the emo kids out there, but that’s just how it is. Everything about this video is pure class, except for the graphics. After all, it’s no Avatar, is it with that grainy image. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to have Avatar’s graphics because Bob Newhart is the avatar of common sense in it.
It’s like a math equation. If you simplify any equation enough, you’ll end up with a basic x = y. That’s essentially what this video does. It takes psychotherapy and simplifies so hard and so much that month-long sessions turn into a two-word solution – “Stop It!” Think about it. What happens when a person sits down with a psychiatrist or psychologist? Both will manoeuvre the patient into a state of mind where he’ll be able to tell himself to “Stop It!” It’s a different story that the psychiatrist will prescribe a million medicines before coming to the same point.
Bob Newhart boils the entire psychotherapy session down to five minutes. The woman has your typical claustrophobia based around the “fear of being buried alive in a box”. The natural simplification of five years’ therapy into five minutes is that the doctor tells her to “stop it”. You’ve got to love the deadpan voice with which Newhart delivers his two-word advice. We call it his “common sense supreme”.
His solution to all her self-imposed problems such as bulimia, self-destructive relationships, and fear of driving was the same common sense supreme. In fact, like most people who overcomplicate things and receive common sense as advice, she didn’t like it.
Even when she tries to talk about her childhood, her mum, her dreams, and her horoscope, the doctor doesn’t budge. Why should it? Your fears and problems are rooted in your psyche even if they stem from your past. The day you tell yourself to stop it is the day that the past stops mattering. In fact, this is how most psychology breakthroughs happen, by encouraging patients to let go of their pasts.
Jokes apart, people with real issues out there, we request you to take this in the spirit that it was meant. It is supposed to amuse you, not belittle your problems. Watch it, read it, snigger at it, laugh at the world and simply “Stop it or we’ll bury you alive in a box!”