Home > Alex, Core Business Skills > We are paid to find answers not to have them…

We are paid to find answers not to have them…

Is that true? Or let me phrase it another way… as employees we are frequently (or not) asked to solve problems. Be that what it may: creating a sales forecast, making a bank reconciliation or  creating an innovative slogan, we often do, on occasion, use a very helpful tool called Google to “refresh our memory” or to “find some inspiration”. So here is the question… what employee is more valuable: one who knows something or one who knows nothing, but is able to find an answer if a problem arises? It’s quite a broad question and, as with most things in life ,the answer is “It depends”.

You would probably prefer a surgeon who knows something, rather than the one who can find an answer when a problem arises :). But at the same time you would like your entrepreneurs to be quite different, able to learn and find answers quickly. As you can see, it differs from one profession to another, but a clear continuum emerges. On one side we have people who are walking encyclopedias, on the other – the agile, but inexperienced.

Once we have established the continuum several interesting issues emerge.

How effective is the education system in training individuals for professions where agility is useful? I personally remember very few details from my marketing courses I did at a bachelor level, but I remember enough to understand where to look for answers in this field when I need them. Is this how it should be?

How should you position yourself in the recruitment process? Should you demonstrate that you learned the latest techniques academia can offer or that you are able to adapt? Are preconceptions in any given field a burden you would rather avoid? Does the way you position yourself change with age? Should you be an experienced and knowledgeable executive when you are 40-50 or should you remain (or can you remain) open to suggestions?

And the last and most important issue… How far should you go to find the answers to the business problems you are facing? Should you try to figure the problem out by yourself? Should you ask almighty Google for help? Talk to your coworkers? Phone your professional association?  Ask your friends who work in different professional fields? Talk to your competitors?

Just kidding… “It depends”.


“Relativity” by Escher

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