I read recently that we should not ask kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead, we should ask, “What problems do you want to solve?” This line of questioning promotes thinking about the content of the work and the impact you can have on society.
In the same way that this is a good method to frame things for children, it can also work for executives. I recently reflected on the kind of problems that I strive to solve in my work. Identifying the problems is harder than it would seem.
I could easily identify the activities of my days and even my over-arching objectives, but framing them as problems was a good exercise. Especially because I, like you, consider myself and my company a solution provider, and those who provide solutions must deeply understand the problems they are solving.
These are the problems that I spend my days solving as a marketing executive and product strategist:
Prioritization and Allocation
The challenges of prioritization and allocation of time, energy, and resources to the most important things required for us to grow our business profitably.
Brand and Product
Cracking the code to bring our brand and product offerings to the forefront in the minds of potential buyers and to create identity for our products and harness demand in the market for our products that we can deliver to our sellers globally.
The problems related to recruiting, retaining, coaching, and celebrating our employees. Talent is at the heart of everything and creating a happy and inspired work environment is key to keeping talented employees a part of your team.
Solving the balance between my responsibilities in the office (and to our customers, partners, and employees) with my family and with the communities of which we are a part (i.e., the AV community, the business community in all the cities where we have offices, the marketing professional community, our neighborhood, and a group of students and mentors that is served by a local non-profit with which I serve).
What problems are you solving in your role at work? What problems are you solving at home? When you take the time to look at your roles from a different perspective, you might just get your next big idea or at least discover a way to improve your productivity and make your day-to-day more meaningful. We should all be problem solvers first and foremost.
About the Author
Jennifer Davis is the CMO of Leyard and serves as the vice president of marketing and product strategy at Planar Systems, a leader in differentiated display systems and digital signage with offices in North America, Europe, and Asia.