Why we can’t solve other peoples’ problems

People never learn anything by being told - they have to find out for themselves

Let’s be honest: we love other peoples’ problems! We feel our advice (if adhered to) will certainly be of use and bring a favorable outcome of the situation. But most important of all: it gives us a chance to escape from our own problems and worries.

But what happens when we’re at the receiving end? When we’re opening up to a friend or mentor and share a problem?  Clearly we long for advice, long for an easy fix or solution and guidance. Yet, when we receive suggestions we often back out and pursue our own line of action. Whether the advice confirmed or confronted it.

Reading this you might think this to be true only for personal situations, but I think we’d all do well to remember that companies consist of people. And without an individual’s problem no company would ever have been started.

That’s why I wrote Corporate Travel: Hiding in Plain Sight. A text book for students and others interested to learn about an industry that operates behind the scene. When I started working in London, some colleagues were in corporate sales. Having just come from university and a degree in tourism management, it was unfathomable to me that there should be a whole industry I knew nothing about. I had a problem and I believe that I’m not so unique to be the only one who would have liked a book to read up on the industry I eventually got myself into.

Work satisfaction is about solving a problem and being rewarded for it. That can be in a company environment or by connecting people and offering one part of a puzzle they’re working on. Not as advice, but as collaboration.

Yes, bills need to be paid and cutting ties to make independent life work is a challenge. But it’s also created a new problem for me to work on: getting universities to adopt corporate travel as a subject worth teaching. It’ll be a long road on which I’ll get advice and (hopefully not too often) ignore it. And that’s only one side of the coin.

The other is coaching: I don’t want to give you advice for you to ignore. I do want to help you raise questions and seek answers: within your companies, that is, from the people you’re working with.  I want to help you open your eyes to the uncomfortable things we all encounter and support you in changing your focus back to what your problems are. Because in solving your own problems, you also solve the problems of your customers.  

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