Have you ever been asked if you are people-oriented or task-oriented? Maybe you’ve been in an interview and you’ve been asked how you would approach solving a specific problem. And maybe the interviewee wanted to classify you in one of these two buckets, for example.
But what if there’s a third dynamic outside of being people-oriented and task-oriented that allows us to succeed in our work? I believe there is. It’s called being ‘solution-oriented.’
Recently, my boss mentioned how he viewed himself as being a ‘solution-oriented’ worker. What he meant was that, in all his work, the end goal is to help provide as clear and quick a solution as humanly possible. Sometimes, this requires exercising relationship-building skills. Then there are moments where one might need to utilize superior task management. Almost always though, we need quite a bit of both to succeed, especially in a busy work environment.
I work in the service industry for a fast-growing tech company in Fort Worth, Texas. In my workplace, I come in contact with dozens of people every day who face a challenge of some sort where our team’s help is needed. Maybe it’s not even a problem, but rather a question surrounding an idea they, or their client, is wondering about.
Being on the client-facing side of the business, we typically operate on the front lines handling the day-to-day communication on behalf of our company and our clients. Maybe you’ve never heard of programmatic advertising, or maybe you’re an expert in it. Regardless, what’s important is that the nature of our rapidly growing industry (which is projected to account for 67% of all digital media in 2019, globally) leads to plenty of tech/industry-related questions and requests.
In my opinion, the teams that succeed are the ones that play to the best of their strengths. And every team needs at least one solution-oriented virtuoso to lead the way.
While many could be listed, here are three primary ways solution-oriented people perfect their art and help add value to their team:
Solution-oriented people always find a way.
Solution-oriented people use critical thinking.
Solution-oriented people answer the ‘why’ question.
No matter how big or small the circumstance, these types of driven people always find a way to get things done and done right. Being solution-oriented means you won’t sleep until you help find the answer and/or fix a problem. Solution-oriented people don’t just solve problems, they help identify the source of a question or challenge and provide the right, or a better, way of doing things.
Additionally, one of the greatest strengths of a solution-oriented individual is their ability to think critically. This requires the ability to think, evaluate, analyze, and decide clearly and quickly, in such a way that helps solve a problem.
Lastly, solution-oriented people funnel all decisions through a filter that helps answer ‘why’. This unique approach immediately gets to the heart of the matter, or the individual, where the roots help clarify the situation or question.
Think about it this way…
People-oriented individuals evaluate life through a ‘who’ lens. They primarily concern themselves with the wants and needs of another person(s).
Task-oriented people focus on answering the ‘what’ question. They might ask, “What all needs to be completed? What is our timeframe? What will this take to get the job done?”
But a solution-oriented person looks at life’s problems through one simple word: why.
From a fundamental perspective, a solution-oriented person might ask:
- Why is this a problem?
- Why should we solve this problem?
- Why do they need our help, and how can we best offer it?
Questions like these allow solution-oriented individuals to see more clearly, to understand their role in the process, and to take action towards any necessary steps that will result in accomplishing the end goal.
How would you describe yourself in the workplace? Are you more focused on building relationships? Do you find satisfaction in getting things done? Or are you inspired to help find and create solutions for others?