Moaning about the nature of things is easy. Groaning about processes and procedures can be achieved with minimal effort. Every day, teams will work through problems, and will often have bull sessions where they gripe about the nature of things at the office. Work processes and procedures that may not make sense, customers may be difficult to work with. Virtually everyone can agree on the inefficiencies of the government bureaucratic machine. We may not all agree upon politics, but rest assured, most people can agree on this point.
As you enter the workforce, be focused on not just the problems, but what can be done about them. Everyone can complain about an inefficient procurement process. Everyone can also complain about workflows that add time to customer checkouts and returns. Management will not place much value on those who can identify the problems. Most of the time, they’ve heard it all before. Given them a solution as well.
As a manager of an Information Technology service desk, I heard many of the problems of our staff. We were too small. We were responsible for too many physical locations. The computer purchasing process made little sense. These points were not new to me, and in my own limited way, I tried to improve and streamline where I could. What I did not hear much of was solutions to these problems. I appreciated the efforts of the team to identify what needed improvement, as any manager would.
While I studied for my MBA, our capstone class called for the students to form into groups and start a company. We discussed ideas for our project, and began our work to research and develop a business model and plan. However, the key takeaway from this class for me was the professor telling us to find out what sucks, and then improve it. Such a simple idea. Maybe a little blunt, but so simple. Businesses come and go, but if you identify a problem and come up with a solution, your chances for success and profit will increase.
As you enter the workforce, and as you begin your journey into a hopeful fruitful and prosperous career, adopt the mindset of a problem solver, not just a problem identifier. An individual who solves problems will add much value. Maybe a solution is not attainable, or laws prohibit changing of a process, but in many instances, take a problem, and a solution, to management. You will be adding value to the organization, and in many instances, you may be the one who spearheads the project.
Complaining is easy. Take a further step to research and come up with a solution. Your manager will thank you, and you will take steps to further your career in the process. People who provide solutions will always be in demand for any organization.