Problem Solvers vs. Problem Finders

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The world today respects problem solvers – without question.  Intriguingly, however, many senior managers are now assigning even higher value to problem finders or problem identifiers.  In the current regime of big-data-what-question-would-you-like-to-ask, people who can identify insightful questions to ask may be providing higher value than those who find the ways to answer those questions.  It is argued – and I’d strongly agree – that identifying insightful new problems to address is often a harder task than  solving problems already identified. 

Interestingly, the Challenger sales model may have elements of this:  those sales/marketing/presales people who can pose intriguing and expected questions may be the people who can drive the most important changes.  Problem Finders are often unsatisfied with the status quo – they are unwilling to accept that things couldn’t be better.

Problem Finders are often operating at higher levels of thinking than Problem Solvers – they are concerned with Critical Business Issues.  Many Problems Solvers find they are dragged into the day-to-day morass of the mundane…

The best case?  Problem Finders who are also Problem Solvers – this is the essence of Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship…!

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