Fixing the 'pain' isn't enough

Fixing the 'pain' isn't enough

No pain By trees like lungs on flickrIan Brodie wrote a nice piece last week titled Why “Finding the Pain” is a bad strategy that resonated with me.

The approach that many companies and consultants take with clients and potential clients is to ‘find the pain’ and provide services to fix this ‘pain’.

I’ve taken this approach many times myself with much success, but Ian makes a very valid point – solving the ‘pain points’ is really just the first step…and its also the easiest thing to do.  But easy is just that…easy.

Ian writes:

Problem solving to address clear areas of pain is something most organisations have got good at, and that a whole bunch of consultants and coaches can do pretty well.

Very true.  Many companies know what their pain points are and they have a good idea on how to solve those pains…or at least they know many companies / consultants they can reach out to so solve those pains.

Ian continues:

Sure, you might have to start by fixing some core problems – find the pain and stop the bleeding in medical terms. But you then have to move on to something much bigger.

Ian wrote his blog post from a consultant’s standpoint….but the idea can be applied to all areas of business…especially IT.

After reading the post, I shared the link on twitter. Almost simultaneously, I heard from two folks – Tom Catalini and Kelvin Lindley – who had the same thought.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/KelvinLindley/status/74675652971855872″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/tomcatalini/status/74838478889824256″]

Both Tom and Kelvin are spot on when they said that ‘fixing the pain’ isn’t enough in IT any longer. We (in IT) can no longer look for the ‘pain’…there are too many easy ways for the organization to ‘fix the pain’ these days.  Its much too easy for a person or group to find a solution to their problem in the ‘cloud’.  Its much to easy these days to plunk down a credit card and buy a year of service from a SaaS vendor.

Finding the pain is a tactical approach to solving problems. Rather than look for the pain and try to fix it…we need to dive into the organization and really understand their needs and wants.

Whether you are an IT professional working inside an organization or a consultant like me, its time to step back and take a strategic approach to helping the organization.

Sure…fixing the pain is necessary but oftentimes that pain is a symptom of a larger problem.  The CIO’s, IT professionals and consultants that can help organizations solve those larger problems are the ones that will survive and thrive.

Image Credit: No pain By trees like lungs on flickr