News flash: businesses and dreams live or die depending on the problem-solving skills of its employees. Considering this, you’d think there would be no shortage of problem solvers in the marketplace. But the truth is many people struggle with overcoming obstacles—and that puts problem solvers in very high demand in today’s global economy. Problem solving is a skill that cannot and should not be undervalued.
A good problem solver is more rare than you think.
Why is problem solving important?
A good problem solver is more rare than you think. Let me give you an example. I recently took my son to a restaurant. He prefers grown-up food but can’t handle the adult portions, so I asked the manager if I could pay extra to get a kid-sized tuna meal instead of ordering off the kids’ menu.
This request absolutely confounded the manager. He was so locked into their cookie-cutter menu that he couldn’t figure out how to make the request happen.
Which do you think was a better, more customer-oriented experience?
Because it’s all about customer service!
Now contrast this with a sales call I was on just the other day. We’re looking into putting solar panels on our home, and I contacted a company to get more information. The sales person was clearly following the company-approved script, and I was starting to get frustrated. I let him know that I’m a fast thinker and that I tend to be hyper-focused so a normal sales call won’t work for me!
Luckily, this sales person was a problem solver. He threw the company playbook out the window and adapted to the type of customer I am. He found a creative solution that satisfied all parties. Which do you think was a better, more customer-oriented experience?
My point is this: you can accept and submit to the obstacles that constrain you, or you can look for a better, more innovative way to overcome challenges. Be a critical thinker. Look at every issue from a new angle. Never accept a problem—or a solution for that matter—at face value.
Problem solving skills are like a muscle.
Fostering an environment of creativity and critical thinking both in your mind and in your company will encourage you and your employees to analyze and tackle problems together. Do this, and you’ll be amazed at the positive growth you’ll see.
Problem solving skills are like a muscle. You can exercise to increase strength, but there are some people that are born with natural ability. Be better than your competitors by encouraging a problem solving approach and by recognizing and rewarding those who use their skill every day.