The key to great problem solving.

I love my job. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of my work. Not just the advertising-specific stuff. But all of the businessy work I have to do as an entrepreneur. The problem solving I do is extremely rewarding. Every day feels like a game. Sometimes it’s Monopoly. Sometimes it’s Go Fish. Sometimes it’s The Running Man.

Netflix

As much as I love the work I do, one of my favorite parts of the workday at The Weaponry is when we eat lunch and watch shows on Netflix. We watch a broad range of programming that either helps stimulate our thinking, makes us laugh, or both.

The Repair Shop

Yesterday we watched an episode of The Repair Shop, which is a reality show about a British repair shop (go figure) that people bring antique treasures to in order to have them restored to their former glory. At the shop there is a furniture expert, a fabric expert, an art expert, an electronics expert, a clock expert and more.

The Repair Shop

I love watching the experts at The Repair Shop work, because they are all really great problem solvers. And I learn from the way they solve their problems

The Desk

In the episode we watched yesterday an old Davenport desk came into the shop with a great deal of damage. One of the problems that had to be addressed was that there were drawers with locks but no keys to open them. Because the furniture expert really wanted to get in those drawers (#snickering), he approached the clock and lock expert to see if he could help unlock the locked drawer. The clock and lock jock was happy to help.

Davenport desk
A Davenport desk, like the one on The Repair Shop. Not like the Davenport my Grampy used to nap on.

The Keys

The lock expert then pulled out a large jar full of all kinds of random old keys. The man explained that he has a large collection of old spare keys that he uses to help unlock tricky locks. He then said that whenever he sees keys in an antique shop he will always buy them to add to his collection. So that he can unlock even more locks in the future.

skeleton keys
A collection of skeleton keys, in case you ever need to get inside a locked skeleton.

Ditto

I instantly recognized that I do the same thing. I am always collecting keys. Except my  keys don’t come from antique shops. They come from books, magazines and podcasts. From discussions with experts, and from asking a lot of questions.

The keys that I collect don’t go into a jar. They get stored in my library, my notebooks and in the files of information in my head. My keys wait patiently for me to call on them to help me unlock the next problem I need to solve. And while I can’t display them for the world to see, I know they are there. And the older I get, the more keys I have in my collection. Which means I can unlock problems faster now than ever before.

Key Takeaway (literally)

There are keys to unlocking problems everywhere. They are found in the things you read and the experts you meet. They are found through experience, and observation. So look for them. Collect them before you need them. And be prepared for whatever your world and your work send your way.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them.

Published by

Adam Albrecht

Adam Albrecht is the Founder and CEO of the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry. He believes the most powerful weapon on Earth is the human mind. He also authors two blogs: the Adam Albrecht Blog and Dad Says Daughter Says, a Daddy-Daughter blog he co-writes with his 14-year old daughter Ava. Adam can be reached at adam@theweaponry.com.

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