A discussion on LinkedIn regarding my recent article “Does Knowing the Truth Matter” prompted this comment from Kim Gelinskey, Credit and Collections Analyst for Veolia ES Technical Solutions, L.L.C. “I’ve learned you are more productive working through a problem than plowing through the issue.”
This immediately struck a chord with me. I thought of all the people I have worked with over the years, and how much I appreciated those who would take the time and have the persistence to work through a problem. Recognizing that this was also the most productive way to solve the problem was an insight.
Kim shared the following example. ” When I finally make contact with a past-due customer who has vanished for a few weeks, the first thing that pops in my head is ‘Finally! I’m not hanging up until I have my money.’ I’m like a dog on a bone – I’m going to chew on this until they surrender and I get what I want. But, I’ve found that if the customer mentions a problem, I get results much faster if I’m a problem solver instead of simply, aggressively forcing the ‘pay now’ mantra.”
A frequent issue is the customer’s long outstanding receivables. Kim explained he’s willing to review their situation and offer them advice on how to recover their past due billing and manage their receivables more efficiently. This sharing of knowledge and resources helps strengthens the relationship with this customer and puts Kim’s company at the top of the list when there is available cash.
We’ve all heard that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But, when there is a business problem, simply repeating your position and trying to force it on the other side is not always the best strategy. While it may seem like more work to listen, think, and work through the issue, that often is the path of least resistance and highest productivity to successfully resolve an issue.