Focus on solutions, not problems.

Solving problems is the one thing all employers – and clients – want.

In the world of work, I find two things to be true:

  • Employers want a job candidate who can solve their problems
  • Bosses or co-workers want someone who comes up with the solution to whatever problem they have also identified.

As a boss, when someone came to me with a problem they had encountered or identified, I asked them how they would solve it. Using the “coach approach” to management, I asked many questions to guide them to a potential solution. I contributed my own perspective and information once the person had a potential solution – then we could work together to refine it.

Gradually, my staff learned that they needed to think through a solution before coming to me with a problem. I found my approach worked far better than simply saying “don’t come to me with a problem, just come to me with a solution.” That provided no guidance nor did it develop the person.

Similarly, when I was hiring someone, I looked to their resume to see if their past experience would help me and the organization meet our goals, solve outstanding problems, take away the pain of not having someone in the particular position. That’s why I cared about their past – in terms of our future.

When interviewing, I listened for how the person related his/her past to our organization’s work and goals. The people I hired were those who already saw themselves as part of the team, putting their abilities to work on solutions for the organization’s problems. They listened to hear what the pain points were, and then addressed them directly.

Focusing on solutions channels our energy in that direction and increases our value to our current or potential boss – or client.

If you do that one thing, you will definitely increase your chances to get your “right fit” job, advance in your career, and be sought after by clients.