THE BLOG
06/07/2013 10:16 am ET Updated Aug 07, 2013

Do You Speak Problem or Solution?

To be really successful in life or business there's one profound necessity and that's the ability to communicate well.

However, ironically we have many obstacles. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Then we have to worry about all the generational gaps. Now throw into the mix all the technology that supposedly makes communication easier by shortening the process to 140 characters or less. Don't forget about learning texting shorthand if you ever want to speak to your kids again! (BRB, LOL, TTYL)

Now to add insult to injury I have uncovered yet another language barrier, speaking problem or solution.

Someone that speaks problem is the "drama queen or king" of the office (or the home). Everything begins with an "Oh No!" or "You're not going to believe this!" If the Internet goes down, for example, it's the end of the world. They find themselves paralyzed and their entire day is ruined.

The person that speaks problem gets angry very easily when they arrive at an obstacle. Their frustration clouds their judgment and causes them to act on impulse. As a result, they can be bad decision makers.

I have personally experienced having an employee that speaks problem and it can be a difficult situation. Especially when you're someone like me who runs a very small ship. I need an employee that I can rely on to be multi-tasked and not seek my constant approval.

Making a mountain out of a molehill, a problem speaker tends to make small setbacks look large so they have an excuse to let themselves off the hook. Having an employee like this can be costly as they are not the most productive, not to mention their mindset can be toxic to others around them.

To the contrary we have the person who speaks solution. They're natural problem solvers and have a sense of independence. Solution speakers are typically productive and multi-task oriented. When a solution speaker is approached with a problem or an obstacle, instead of "Oh no the sky is falling" it's "Okay, let's try this instead".

An owner of a solopreneur business takes a great risk and a bold step by hiring someone to assist with daily operations in an effort to grow their business. The hired hand needs to speak solution in order for them to be a good investment otherwise they can cost you a lot more than the freed-up time makes you.

Here are some ideas you can integrate into your screening process to ensure you hire someone that speaks solution:

1. Make sure you include in your advertisement for an employee that you need someone that has the ability to work with little supervision and be very productive.

2. When you're interviewing them explain in detail the obstacles you face on a daily basis and WHY you need someone that works independently. Sometimes people have only worked for large companies and they are inexperienced with the dynamic of working for a really small business.

3. To gauge their thought process on problem-solving give them actual problems that have or will come up in your specific business and ask them for detailed answers on how they would solve them independently.

4. Ask them what they liked and disliked about their past positions. If the parts they disliked were related to obstacles you may be able to identify that they are problem-speakers pretty easily. However to the contrary, if they mention likes that relate to problem solving - you may have hit the jackpot, hire them!

The hurdle is, the people that speak problem far out weigh the people that speak solution. You will have your work cut out for you when looking for that one golden egg. However, if you're very careful in your hiring process and ask the right questions hopefully you can avoid making a bad and costly decision.

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