I solve problems for a living. Problems I’ve created in the past. Problems people have created for me. Wild problems that suddenly appear out of nowhere. Quiet problems you barely knew existed. Would you like some problems with that? Don’t mind if I do.
Entrepreneurship requires kind Pit Bulls. Dogs that set their teeth in a problem, refusing to let go until the issue is resolved.
There are a couple of ways to go about it. You could either sign on the dotted line making a problem go away. Telling employees to go left. A supplier to go forward. A manager to go backward. Similar to moving chess pieces across the board. Approving or disapproving matters all day long. We’ll refer to this as interruption-based problem-solving.
The other way around could look like this. A rather unpleasant fragrance protrudes in the hallway. You put on your boots and anticipate the toilets about to overflow. Consequently, when they do overflow, you grab a shovel and start shoveling, well… Shit. Let’s call this problem-solving method: boots on the ground.
Senior (vice) problem solvers or even chief executive problem solvers with a long career at big companies are often excellent interruption-based problem solvers. Inversely, they suck at the boots on the ground style.
Startups have little need for interruption-based problem-solving. When it’s just you and four other people, there isn’t much use in strategically approaching how to approve the right person for the job to alleviate the sanitary situation. Again, put on your boots and shovel shit.
If problem-solving doesn’t make your heart skip a beat, consider a different career.