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Throughout my career I have made observations about teams and individuals, my career almost spans two decades and as I have worked across multiple disciplines and business sectors, I have seen many versions of individuals who raise problems or pain points.For the most part, people raise pain points, typically it is for the right reasons and depending on your work environment or manager, you will see types of three types of people:
(1) Problem Raisers
(2) Problem Solvers
Problem Raisers usually have the right intent, they want to raise pain points for themselves, for users or for clients. Problem Raisers wants to create a fix to these pain points however they might not engineered in that way, are not creative (Problem Solvers are) or environmentally it is not their place (position within the org or down to core individuals or departments to be the fixers) to offer a solution.
Problem Raisers are concerned over the problem but the fix is not always an important milestone for them, they potentially work around the problem or in some cases can continue to work without the Problem being explicitly fixed or removed. A great team or cross-functional teams have a blend of Problem Raisers and Problem Solvers.
Problem Solvers (often the rescuer in Stephen Karpman's The Drama Triangle) are those people who find pain points, raise problems and then offer solutions, typically driven by the outcome and fixing the problem that is at hand. Problem Solvers can come in two subcategories:
The first, Empowered Problem Solver, Empowered Problem Solvers want to solve the puzzle, they see puzzles, not problems.
Empowered Problem Solvers have the ability to lead from the front and often act as the project manager and engineer the fix. The fix is their energy source.
The second; “Problem Solver Solutioniser” who are not empowered to make the change themselves and have to push for the solution from the passenger seat.
From experiences, the best Problem Solvers typically have growth mindsets and want to take it on as a learning curve and grow from the experience.
There can be a negative to Problem Solvers, they can get frustrated and do not understand why these problems are not fixed. Frameworks and showing Problem Solvers logic and workings out typically helps. The best Marketing, Growth and Product people I have worked with are Problem Solvers and want to address the pain point.
If a Problem Solver Solutioniser is ignored or their pain points are not addressed in a reasonable time Problem Solvers can turn into Problematics and that can be a difficult place for you and your teams and often have negative impacts.
We have all worked with Problematics, they stand out, they are a negative bunch and unfortunately, the likelihood is they have been burnt, the pain points they raise have not been addressed in the way they have felt heard. Problematics feel like their pain points have never been addressed or fixed and every time they raise pain points it comes across as a problem or someone else fault.
Problematics are often overly negative and it starts to spread or they compare their experiences versus others and start resenting the work or workplace. Two or more Problematics in close proximity can have a real negative impact on people and teams around them.
Problematics fall into two subcategories:
(1) Negative Problematics and (2) Positive Problematics.
I generally believe Positive Problematics can be moved back to Problem Raisers with specific frameworks and measurements to help them understand the logic behind the decision made.
My Problem-Solving Power Half Hours can work with Positive Problematics.
Once a Problematic knows deep down that won’t help, unfortunately, they become Negative Problematics, Negative Problematics are faced with a realistic outcome and that is to move onto a new workplace and have the opportunity to become Problem Raisers and reset their energy.
Framework to help
My favourite and most recommended framework that can help is: One Problem - Two Solutions framework: One Problem - Two Solutions: With every problem raised you should offer two possible solutions, one preferred and show how you landed with this solution and the second an alternative. This works particularly well with more senior people who are unaware of these types of pain points or those who like to make the decisions. It is always important to ensure you show business impact, external impact with revenue figures and I recommend going that step further and showing internal/cultural impact.
Offer a way to show which people or teams need to be involved and the timeline of the proposed solution. If this pain point is to replace other issues or stop work on existing items on roadmaps everything needs to be laid out and thought through.
Often you will need to speak to the relevant teams to gain this insight however if you are a Problem Solver this will be part of something you have thought of. So make sure you are happy in your environment, try and be as positive and proactive as possible and if you ever a negative problematic look to improve your situation or change your work-life situation.