By Christian Green, Kepner-Tregoe
Have you been thinking lately about that "dream job" - the one that you can really get excited about sinking your time and creativity into? What is stopping you from getting there? Do you know where to start? Up-leveling your Problem-Solving skills may be the key to your future success. Here are 3 ways that better problem solving skills could help you get your dream job.
If your dream job involves working for someone else, the first thing to understand is why companies hire employees? The answer - because they have Problems that they think you can solve that they are willing to pay you for. Spoiler alert… it isn't about what you want, it's about what the company needs. For some companies, the problem is capacity (they need your time and skills); for others the problem is a lack of ideas (they need your knowledge and/or creativity). If your dream role is in management, perhaps it is your ability to lead people or improve processes that can help the company solve problems of productivity or efficiencies. Nowhere are problem solving skills more directly relevant than customer facing roles - every customer has a problem or a need that they are hoping the company can solve. Understanding what problems the company is facing and clearly and directly articulating how you can help them solve those problems is key to impressing a hiring manager or interviewer.
What if you don't have the exact skills and experience required to solve the company's problems today? Does that mean that your dream job is out of reach? Thankfully there is still an opportunity, but a different approach may be in order. Companies are not only looking to solve their problems today but to find employees who will help them grow and solve the problems they will face in the future. Solid Problem Solving skills are a strong indicator of employee adaptability and ability to learn. By demonstrating your past successes in identifying problems, diagnosing their causes, working with the right people to drive changes, and achieving measurable results in a variety of situations sends a clear message to hiring managers that you have the potential to grow into the role you are seeking and then grow with the role as it changes over time.
If you can't find your dream job, create it! Problem solving skills start with identification of a problem, figuring out the pieces of the puzzle, envisioning what success looks like and then figuring out a path to get there. Sometimes that path may not exist and you will need to build some bridges and blaze your own trail. Perhaps that is proposing a new product or operations function within your current company, or maybe you have entrepreneurial aspirations and your dream role involves starting your own company. Improving your Problem-Solving skills are the key to every successful business and new innovation.
What is preventing you from pursuing that dream job that you've been thinking about - skills, confidence, understanding the opportunities available or the ability to stretch and capture something that seems just out of reach? Problem Solving skills can help you apply structured methods to both the big problems of figuring out where you want to go and the small problems of how to get there. Kepner-Tregoe has been helping companies (and individuals) improve their Problem-Solving skills since 1953, offering structured Problem Solving methods, skills training, and organizational consulting. They have worked with customers across a wide variety of industries and can help you build the Problem-Solving skills to help you land that dream job!