Monday, May 25, 2009

Hey, What Are We Anyway – Automatons?

Yesterday I was listening to a BusinessWeek podcast when the guest said:

“Too often we hire people to solve our problems, when we’re supposed to be hiring them to carry out our solutions.”

Do I agree? Well, Perhaps. That is, if you’re mowing lawns for a living and have just one truck.

The rest of us have to ask ourselves: ‘What business am I in”? And there’s really just one answer – as pointed out by Craig Stull, Phil Myers, and David Meerman Scott in their book Tuned In:

‘We’re in the business of continuous problem solving for our market’.”

If you’re really just hiring people to ‘carry out your solution’ then you’re going out of business. Markets move quickly these days. If , like chimpanzees brachiating through the tree tops, you’re not moving from solution to solution, you’ll be overtaken by competition.

As a business leader, you are very susceptible to mindset that endorses the current solution. You need problem solvers at every level of your business to keep the pool full of new ideas. And don’t expect you’ll know a good idea when you first hear it. Chances are, that at first, you will think the best idea you hear this year is utterly stupid. You’ll be in the company of famous leaders who’ve done the same thing – Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Thomas Watson of IBM, Ken Olson of Digital Equipment, William McKnight the legendary Chairman and CEO of 3M, and many others.

Success = Hire problem solvers and give them space to work.
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