On Friday night a storm came through Southeastern Wisconsin and knocked out our power like Mike Tyson, pre-face tattoo. The combination of wind, lightning, and rain was more than our grid could handle. As a result, we had a very Amish Friday night.
Five hours later, when the power was finally restored at about 11pm, our internet, cable, and phone didn’t come back on. My wife tried unplugging the modem. She tried disconnecting and reconnecting the coaxial cables. But nothing helped. So we blew out the candles and oil lamps in our little house on the prairie. We tucked Laura, Mary, and Carrie in. And Ma and I went to bed.
Saturday morning we tried rebooting the stuff again. But still nothing. I asked my neighbor Paul if his bundle was functional. (No innuendo intended.) And it was. Which meant the problem was likely at our house.
We called Spectrum, our bundle supplier, and they told us we were the only ones with the outage. They sent a re-booty signal to try to get things going. But it didn’t work.
So they lined up a tech to come find the problem. But he wouldn’t arrive until Monday at 5pm. I assumed the delay was because he was coming from another state, by horse.
Then my wife had an a-ha. She said the last time she called about a problem the Spectrum service rep told her our modem was very old and likely the issue. So Dawn called Spectrum again, and they agreed that we should swap our modem for a new one.
So I drove to downtown Milwaukee on Saturday morning to initiate a modem transplant. I came home, plugged in the fresh new Modem and router, and still nothing. I felt like Yukon Cornelius licking his pick ax while looking for gold and tasting only gravel.
So we waited out the rest of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday without our bundle of digital joy.
Monday at 5 pm we were excited to finally get our bundle back. But the tech didn’t show up. At 6 pm he still wasn’t there. In fact, he didn’t arrive until 9:30 pm.
When he entered our home he asked to see where the cable came into the house. I took him to the basement and showed him the cabley-wirey area by the fuse box that seemed to be the nerve center of our home.
The tech immediately announced, ‘Your amplifier isn’t working. It probably got zapped in the storm. I’ll go grab a new one from my truck.’
He went out to the truck, got a new amplifier, installed it, and everything came back on.
Get to the root of the problem. Know where it starts. When you discover and address the core issue, everything changes. Actions become easier and more productive. And your situation improves right away.
In business and in life we don’t always dig deep enough to get to the root issue. We find other issues to address. We address symptoms. We find secondary, easier issues to deal with. But not the root causes.
Surround yourself with people who are great problem solvers. Find people who think scientifically, and can go beyond the obvious issues to find the underlying causes. Learn how they analyze and diagnose root problems. Adopt their methods. And your problem-solving value will increase dramatically.
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