Bring Solutions, Not Problems

When you identify problems, do you generally also offer options for solutions? Or do you tend to just identify the problems and see what others, or you and others, can do about them?

When I was a young worker low in the ranks, I often asked for guidance on problems I found without offering potential solutions. I automatically conceded that others senior to me knew more than me so they would either have solutions, or would come up with better ones than I could. Sometimes, those people had solutions. Other times, they didn’t and said they would get back to me. The rare time, though, I was asked to propose a solution. That, I always appreciated, for, both, the faith in me to find a solution, and the challenge to find a good solution.

After a few years of intermittent work experience as a student, I pivoted my problem raising approach to always bring at least one potential solution with a problem raised. Pending timelines and circumstances associated with the problem, I would even bring bad solutions, if that were all I could muster. I would just acknowledge it, with intent to save some time and effort for others as a minimal outcome in having tried to find a solution in the first place. For that, I have never been criticized, whether my solution became a starting point for further discussion, or was immediately eliminated with certainty.

Finally, people might ask if the quote should be bring solutions with problems, rather than bring solutions, not problems? I would argue no, because what you bring are solutions. The problems are only needed for the solutions to exist, even if you created the problems.

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This post is one of 70 quotes I wrote, each with an accompanying essay, in my e-book and paperback Stars I Put in my Sky to Live By, on Amazon or Smashwords (choose your price including free!).

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