It makes sense, doesn’t it? Those who solve the biggest problems provide the biggest value and — as a result — earn the highest incomes.
In her bestselling book, Lean In, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg shares a wonderful story in this regard. Shortly after beginning at Facebook she was contacted by a woman named Lori Goler who was at that time a highly regarded executive at eBay. She told Sheryl:
“I want to apply to work with you at Facebook, so I thought about calling you and telling you all of the things I’m good at and all of the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you:
“What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?”
Sheryl was floored. As she related, in her career she’d hired thousands of people, “and no one had ever said anything remotely like that.”
In other words, Ms. Goler was asking how she could add value to the company; not how could the company add value to her.
Which question is most likely to get someone hired?
A while back we looked at the storied career of Kat Cole. Beginning as a restaurant hostess at age 17, she actively looked for ways to add value to the organization above and beyond what anyone asked and certainly way above and beyond what was expected. She was constantly solving problems and increasing her market value to the company.
At just 32 Kat was named CEO of Cinnabon and now, at age 35, she is CEO of Focus Brands, the company that owns Cinnabon and five other restaurant chains.
You needn’t be applying for a corporate job or be part of a big company in order to do this. Whether you are in sales, have a small company or…whatever you do, if you can seek ways to add value to people’s lives and businesses through solving their biggest problem(s), you are on your way to major, major business and life success!
What problems are you focused on solving in the marketplace?
Please feel free to share with us.
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Adding value is indeed an important element not only for business success, but for personal growth too – creating a brand for yourself that people will always remember. A wonderful post, Mr. Bob about ‘Solving the biggest problem’. Much need one to rejuvenate our thought process – about adding value. Love you…….
Simple and profound. Thank you for reading this book and for sharing that nugget of wisdom.
Thank you, Brother Rajib. So glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for your always-kind feedback. you are a person who ALWAYS seeks to add value to everyone whose lives you touch!
Amy, my pleasure, and thank YOU. Your “Walking in your value” story is among my all-time favorites and I continue to share it from stage. People comment afterwards on how the story touched them and often ask me to “thank Amy” for them! Which…I do! 🙂
Great article and topic! Thank you for sharing your insights, always powerful. I totally agree with adding value, not only in business but in life! My focus is to bring back the lost art of Human Communication one person, one company at a time.
Nina, thank you for your very kind feedback. Very appreciated. And, best wishes for great success with your focus. A very worthy goal!
Great story! I would also be floored if an potential applicant called me and asked, “What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?”
My take away is asking this POWERFUL question when inquiring of a potential client I would like to work for.
Thank you, Bob!
Steve, thank you for your kind feedback. So glad you enjoyed the post. And, yes, the cool thing is that the lesson she taught is principle-based thus pretty much applies across-the-board of value-providing! 🙂
Yes, those who increase the value of a company/organization are valued. Our only value is the values live by: providing solutions – any one can point out problems. How much better our business, company, class and everything will be if we create values, add values, and thus prove our values in deed.
Bidur, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You make some terrific points!