A few years back it became clear one morning that a change was needed and my current employer was never going to provide that opportunity so with that I set out to find a new job. During this time I had been working crazy hours jetting around the world just busier then all get out if you know what I mean.
After a month or so of looking in the market, a new opportunity presented itself (actually a couple) which prompted me to tenure my notice and because of the current role gave one month and since the new job was not competitive with the old. I was allowed to stay on-board and help wind things down from my current role with my soon to be former employer. During this time I was no longer in the first row and had basically moved to be a member of the audience if you will. Where there once were 12 and 14 hour days, there were now six hour ones with a lot of coffee break’s as I was no longer “the guy”. Than around two weeks into the month long transition, a realization struck me.
When I looked up no one was doing all the crazy things I had been doing, my replacement was far from up to speed as they had only selected an interim person (while they looked for a permanent one) at the time and while the customer was not overly happy with the situation (personal change always has an impact), the world per say wasn’t falling apart either, then it hit me. It hit me like a ton of bricks landing square on my chest with enough force to take my breath away!
The epiphany which struck me that day is I loved a good problem, I loved the feeling of solving a good problem, I loved it so much I even created them and not only did I do this, so did most every other human being which I knew!
Sitting there that day staring out of a frosty window watching the snow fall, it seem to me a “problem” was not much more than a personal value proposition. Where the majority of the people benchmarked their “perceived value” by the problems they had to solve and if they didn’t have enough, the solution was to simply create more! It was easy for me to do this as the opportunity to create them seemed to be limited by my own imagination. If this was true for me, was it true for others? I started to think back as the snowflakes continued to fall outside to the problems which others had provided to me via the on-slot of daily e-mails, phone calls and seemingly endless array of meetings. All of these required a solution and 9 out 10 were not aligned with the goals of either our company or the customers which they had set out. These were instead personal value propositions which individuals set out to create in order to have something to add to some dashboard as saying “everything is ok” doesn’t seem to carry the same weight (read as frowned upon) as “look at all these issues I have to solve”!
Well the snow kept falling that day, my coffee cup now empty and the winter sun had set, with this it was now time to make my way home. However first I pulled a cell phone from my pocket and dialed my wife to say the falling snow was going to be a “problem” and I would be late…