Are you a problem solver? Can you define the problem, gather data, expand the team, brainstorm solutions, and execute on the best one? Great! That puts you way ahead of the pack. Problem solving skills are highly valued by every manager around. But, what about sniffing out the bigger problem? Is there a bigger problem? Whenever I see a problem, I do try to accomplish the above steps AND see if the problem could be a symptom of a bigger problem.
I think so many people are satisfied just by completing the first part – just solving the problem. That is great and most managers will be very happy you did that.
But, I’m challenging you to look beyond the immediate and see if there is a trend or a larger issue that needs to be resolved. This secondary problem will certainly be more abstract and strategic in nature. This problem may be beyond the scope of your position to resolve – maybe even beyond your manager’s scope or interest. That just means it is an even more important problem to solve. Keep gathering data on the smaller problems and the bigger issue you think they point to. Then present to your manager or you manager’s boss.
Are you sympton sleuth AND a problem solver?