How does your company's culture view problems? / by Joseph Palumbo

The fundamental purpose of business is to solve a problem in exchange for money. Look at any business model. When you distill the model to its most fundamental concept it's people paying you money to solve a problem. 

Hungry? A restaurant can solve that problem for money. 

Have termites? An exterminator can solve that problem for money. 

Bored? Netflix can solve that problem for money. 

Need hosting, but your not technical? A fully-manage hosting company can solve that problem. 

The list goes on and on. 

How does your company view its own problems? 

The way your company deals with problems internally can you tell you a lot about that company's culture. Are they innovative and vigilant in the face of adversity? Or are people more likely to take the route of the defeatist. When it comes to how a company's culture views problems, you can easily put them into two separate buckets

Problems are the things that prevent them from doing the work they need to do. 

If you've worked for a few companies, you've probably worked for a company like this. Any time you approach somebody with an idea or a project that fully aligns with the objectives of the company, they respond by outlining everything that could, would and should prevent them from fulfilling that tasks. They usually walk away with a hardened resolve that the problems are insurmountable and they should focus on easier, less lofty goals. 

Solving problems are part of the work they need to do. 

Other companies look at the problems standing in their way as, well, part of the job. If they need to launch a new product, fix an existing service problem, establish better reporting. All of the problems that are outlined are simply viewed as action items in the project charter, not reasons to quit. 

Which company do you want to work for? 

I'm going to make a strong assumption that if you're reading my blog, you're more likely to be an innovative problem solver - why else would you be reading a random blog about a guy who writes about business, productivity and Customer Success. 

In that case, if you're unhappy in your current company, maybe it's because you're an innovative problem solver working in a "can't do" environment. This almost always leads to frustration and dissonance between you, your leaders, your reports and other teams. 

If you're thinking about joining an organization, ask the recruiter, hiring manager or any other key stakeholders you'll be working with to walk you through one of the larger, more complex projects they've finished. Chances are "larger, more complex" will illicit a project that required the solution to a number of ancillary problems before they got to the primary objective. This will give you insight into how culture perceives problems. 

Bottomline, awareness of your company's culture as it relates to problems will help you make better decision, find internal allies and champions that support your initiatives.