Great problem solvers are among the scarcest things in the world. There simply aren’t enough of them, and there never will be.
What do the laws of economics teach us about scarcity? That the things of which there are very little or never enough, but which are in great demand, are the most valuable things in the world.
If there’s anything the world needs desperately right now, it’s people who are great at solving problems. In fact, if there’s anything the world always needs, in good times and bad, it’s people who are great at solving problems — in short, who are great at what they do.
No matter what you do, you have an opportunity to be great at it — to solve the problems and challenges you encounter on a daily basis with a high level of skill, and with passion and enthusiasm as well.
Almost without exception, the people in organizational life that I encounter are feeling exceptionally insecure — worried, understandably, about their jobs. A great deal of their energy is spent fretting about their short-term professional safety and security.
I tell them that the only thing they can control — in a time when it seems so much is beyond our control — is their ability to solve problems. It’s also the only genuine source of personal security and safety.
So, put your energy into:
One. Building your problem solving skills. Learn, grow, practice, experiment. It’s the best investment you can make, in good times and in bad.
Two. Embracing the opportunities created by today’s problems. The whole world is being reinvented. It’s painful, of course, but the more innovative and clever you can be, the more adaptive you prove yourself, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Three. Understanding that the better you and your colleagues are at solving today’s problems right now, the safer and more secure you’ll all be — personally and organizationally.
Four. Being great at helping others be great problem solvers. This is the essence of leadership.
Of course, being a great problem solver is no guarantee of personal economic security in today’s environment. Many people are suffering what is, we hope, short-term pain.
You simply have to have faith that, over the long-term, there is always a place in the world for a great problem solver.