This is Part 2 in a series about working relationships. Be sure to also check out Part 1 if you haven’t already.
I want to touch on something that’s universally true for all industries, all positions, and all people:
At a fundamental level, all companies exist to solve problems.
Clothing companies exist to solve the basic problem of warmth/protection from the elements, and also help solve the supplementary problems related to identity, self-esteem, and confidence. Software companies exist to solve problems related to complex tasks, making a would-be impossible task suddenly manageable with the click of a button. Likewise, marketing companies exist to solve problems for their clients: helping them gain recognition in their space, acquire more customers at a lower cost, and set themselves apart in a world full of distractions.
Okay…so what does this mean?
It means that you–the employee, manager, or exec–exist within a company to support the larger goal of helping your company create solutions for your clients. It’s what clients pay you to do, and it’s what ultimately keeps you in business. It’s also what your boss hired you to help with, and what your co-workers need from you in order to work together to create the best end product.
The Point: The value that you bring to your clients, co-workers, and boss is directly tied to your ability to create solutions.
Regardless of what role you play in your company, there’s a niche area that you (and possibly only you) have expertise in. You know the ins and outs of insert your expertise here. You know how it works best, how it works worst, and how it relates to other areas of the overall service your company provides.
Within your area of expertise, there are different ways in which you can operate on a daily basis. You can be one of the following:
The Bare-Minimum Guy. This guy comes in to work, does the required tasks, and leaves. He’s the “C student” of the corporate world. A coaster, if you will. If a problem exists, he probably won’t address it–he’ll wait for someone else to address it and tell him what to do. Hopefully there aren’t many of these guys in your organization, but chances are you’ve encountered them from time to time.
The Showing-Some-Initiative Guy. This guy does the required tasks, and may occasionally bring an idea to the table that’s above and beyond what’s expected. If a problem exists, the Showing-Some-Initiative guy (or girl) may very well bring it up and ask others for feedback on a possible solution. Most people fall into this category.
The Game-Changer. This guy tackles everything he does with the ferocity of a thousand lions. She’s/He’s not satisfied simply completing a task, but wants to destroy the task such that the task itself will never be the same again. This employee is hungry for solutions.
Pro Tip: Be the Game-Changer. Be hungry for solutions.
In a world where companies exist to solve problems, those that create the most success are those that are most hungry for solutions.
So if you want to improve your working relationships, be more valued by your clients, co-workers, and/or bosses, take a look at how you can create solutions that positively impact them. Take a look at what you influence directly, and see how you can improve on a system, idea, or process that will help those around you succeed.
Here’s a few practical applications:
- The next time you are working on a project, ask yourself how you can do it better than you did the last time. Even if what you are used to doing is good, see if you can make it great (pro-tip : this is sort of like solving problems that aren’t even problems yet, which is what really solution-hungry people do).
- The next time you are tempted to complain about something, ask yourself what could be changed to reduce frustration the next time around.
- The next time someone around you has a problem, ask them if you can help (even if you aren’t yet sure how you will).
- The next time you lead a team meeting, ask yourself how you can better motivate or support your team members.
What I like most about this concept is that hunger is not something that is permanently taken care of. You don’t eat one hearty meal and then retire from eating for the rest of your life. It’s a daily thing.
Be hungry for solutions daily, and see what happens with your working relationships.
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