At Accenture, there is never a shortage of networking events and other opportunities to meet and mingle with others in the firm. I believe in the value of strong network of colleagues, and I try to attend as many of these as possible. In doing so, I tend to hear the same question over and again – what advice would you offer to someone fresh into their career? This is not surprising, since there is a lot to be gained from those with experience. What’s amazing is how many times I have heard the same answer. It goes something along the lines of this: “never bring forth an issue without also suggesting potential solutions.”
While this statement seems simple enough, I believe it contains a notable amount of depth. Uncovering a problem is only half the battle; the real struggle is coming up with how to approach and solve it. As someone recently told me, solely pointing out an issue is simply “admiring a problem.” Without actionable suggestions for mitigation there is very little added value. It is recognizing a need for attention and passing the burden on for someone else to do anything about.
Accenture people, at any level, even analysts, are encouraged and empowered to be proactive. When we uncover an issue, our first reaction should be to switch into problem solving mode and start thinking creatively and realistically about solutions. This approach is certainly not easy, but it is through the challenge that we are able to develop and grow. Also, and perhaps more importantly, I’ve discovered those in leadership positions take bad news with much cooler heads when a solution is already teed up even before they are presented with the problem. An individual is much more likely to come off as an asset to the team rather than the constant bearer of bad news if their approach is that of a problem solver, rather than a “problem admirer.”