Just in case you are wondering. Your boss hired you to reduce their workload. Not increase it. The more you can take off their plate the more they can do. Yes, that is delegation 101. When done right everyone grows with the business. When you have mastered your role you’ll get to be that hiring manager. Even if it means small tasks initially. It all builds upon itself.

A simple guideline to remember:

You are valued for the solutions you bring forward. Not the problems you bring up.

The most valuable employees are the ones that bring solutions and ideas to the forefront. If you are looking to get started at a company or get your next role you need to be looking for solutions. Not excuses.

Whether you are hiring in from the outside or whether you are looking for your next role within your organization. There are a few things a hiring manager looks for. There are also a few things smart managers look for when growing their team. They want people that Bring Solutions.

Smart managers do a few things consistently:

  • They hire people that make their lives easier.
  • They hire people that make them look good.
  • They don’t like surprises.

Everything you can do to achieve success on each of these points make you a more valuable employee, team member and candidate for promotion.

Smart Managers Hire People that Make them look Good

Not because it’s all about them, but because it’s all about the accomplishments of the team. If a manager hires someone and they spend inordinate amounts of time hand-holding them they will not be able to get their job done. Which puts everyone at risk.

Risk Mitigation & Management

When you were interviewing, the hiring manager was making assessments about your ability to do the job. They were also making an assessment of your ability to help them get their jobs done. Some will come right out and say it, but every hiring manager is thinking it. They are also assessing how well you can fit into the current team. They want to know that you can help the firm’s bottom line.

Getting Started

As you consider bringing solutions to the table there are a few things you should consider and here are a few pointers to get you started.

  • Ask Questions – You have already identified something that you think might be an issue. It may only be an issue to you. Or it may have already been tried. Asking questions both of yourself and of your colleagues can help validate the solution you are thinking of bringing forward. Don’t be afraid to be the contrarian (see this post), but don’t go overboard.
  • Seek Consensus – Ask colleagues, get advice from peers, look for information on how other companies solved similar problems. There are a lot of challenges that other companies have already experienced, addressed and solved. See if you can find those examples and build from them.
  • Don’t start at Zero – Again, check with colleagues, peers and externally. The problem you are facing has more than likely have been seen before. So, don’t start with a blank slate. Make some assumptions and seek to prove them out with others peoples’ experiences. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and perhaps a lot of headaches.
  • Trial Runs – Which leads to the last tip. Try Before You Fly. Before you jump out the window with your makeshift wings … check them out with a test run. Your first effort doesn’t need to be perfect. Doing something is a step in the right direction. Commit to Trial Runs. A trial run is just that … a test to see if your assumptions are correct.

No Surprises

This is what my manager at Microsoft used to say. It worked really well. To reinforce this behavior she also said …

I know things will go wrong. I know problems will come up. All I’m asking is … Give me a heads up so we can be prepared to deal with it.

Her message and mantra were as simple as that. No Surprises saved a lot of headaches and opened the communication channels. It lead to a more successful team and to a team that was able to share their trials and tribulations. The end result was a high powered, highly focused, and very successful team.

Putting a Bow on It

Remember – You are valued for the solutions you bring forward. Not the problems you bring up.

Bring the Solutions! When you do you will be invaluable to the organization, you will be building skills and a reputation that will stay with you for many years, and you will be well on your way to your next promotion.


Jeff  is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.