creative problem solving

Problem Solving – Hugely Valuable and Relatively Rare

There are characteristics some people naturally just have. You can train skills. You can teach theory. You can share knowledge. But you cannot instil beliefs or fundamental character traits in people.

We often refer to “problem solving,” as a skill. I don’t consider it a skill, necessarily. Sure, you need knowledge and experience to solve some problems and certain training and teaching will make you better at it. But no matter how much knowledge and experience an individual has, unless they have a desire and natural leaning to look for the solution, they won’t solve a problem.

One of my favourite quotes is this one by Theodore Rubin:

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.

There are 4 ways someone might deal with a problem:

  1. Ignore the problem and hope it goes away (or a colleague will fix it for you)
  2. Acknowledge the problem and complain to someone about it. Then complain about it some more. Then stare at it… until someone else solves it for you
  3. Tackle the problem head on. Find a solution and put in place
  4. Find the opportunity in the problem and turn that problem into a positive thing

The first is dangerous in a workplace. The first, in our industry, results in upset clients and and colleagues. The second results in poor morale amongst a team.

The third is good. The third makes for efficiency and, in our game, happier clients and better results.

The fourth is amazing. And incredibly rare. I’ve come across very few people who exhibit that ability.

Candidates with Problem Solving Skills

I would much rather work with someone with a natural desire to find solutions and little experience in our industry than work with someone incredibly experienced with no desire to produce solutions.

Lots of people claim “problem solving,” on their CV. But I’ve actually found that relatively few people demonstrate a real natural ability and desire to deliver solutions whatever is required.

Incidentally, if you are one of those people, please do get in touch about roles at Tecmark.