Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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It is Time We Reengage, Renew, and Reignite Our Desire to Find Solutions.

Early in my Navy career, I had a boss who told me that one of my main jobs was to find, search for, and identify problems that were getting in the way of our mission.

And then seconds later he said, “Do not bring me problems. Bring me the solutions.”

He was a great boss. And I could always go in and bounce ideas off him. As a result, he led a team of people he trained to find and solve problems. Part of anyone’s job is to find and solve problems.

Most people are good at finding problems and complaining about them. Organizations today want people who do more than just complain. Where do we find solutions?

A mom with her 7-year-old son was on a plane and the boy was being entertained on the 3-hour flight with his video game. There was shooting and explosions and cartoon conversations, and the entire plane knew that because the boy was not wearing headphones. People were visibly agitated, and the mom was trying to keep the volume down as much as possible, but the boy was oblivious. Passengers were getting angry.

A lady a few rows behind them moved toward the bathroom, and quietly slipped the mom both earbuds and earphones for the boy. Happy silence resulted.

Some people naturally find win-win situations. They find the best in people, and they create environments where people are comfortable and productive.

More importantly, they find solutions to everyday problems.

During the height of the COVID scare, people became more myopic, more inwardly focused, and other people somehow became a threat.

We did not make eye contact.

We ignored other people, partly because we could not hear them under their masks.

One stranger’s cough sent people taking cover under clouds of disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Lord help you if you suffer from allergies.
Somehow, that meant not watching out for each other.

We stopped looking for solutions. We only saw problems.

It is time we reengage, renew, and reignite our desire to find solutions and watch out for each other.


  1. Jonas Reyes

    Very true, if each one of us puts our two cents in being more positive and helping out this world will be a much better place. It all starts with oneself.

    • Mary Kelly

      Thank you, Jonas! Yes, it all starts with oneself, indeed. 🙂

  2. Frank Freeman

    I love this! As a manager and a human, I completely agree. Bring solutions. Always. To bosses and to meetings. Care for others even at risk for yourself.

    • Mary Kelly

      Thank you for your feedback, Frank. I think if we focus on bringing solutions, we’ll see big improvements in all areas!

  3. Peter Constantinou

    Always love your short stories which send a powerful and insightful message. On this Veteran’s Day, THANK YOU for your service to this country, and everyday as an inspiration to others.

    • Mary Kelly

      You made my day, Peter. Thank you so much!


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