25th October 2023

What is your problem?

My 3 interesting things this month…

1. What is your problem!?

Whatever you’re looking to do next in your career: get more interesting work, scale your role, get a promotion / pay rise or even get a whole new job, one theme runs throughout.

What are the problems you’re going to solve for other people?

I’ve been working with some new clients over the last few weeks. And I found it hard to figure out from their LinkedIn or CV how exactly they would solve someone’s problems.

Why is this important?

Well, when someone understands how we can solve their problem, they are far more likely to buy us and what we do.If we spend more time thinking about our careers through the lens of the problems we solve, rather than what we do or what we are interested in doing, we can connect more easily with other people on what we could do for them.

A few tips for figuring this out:

  • What gave you the most job satisfaction recently? What problems did you solve for that?
  • Ask people: what are your goals? What are your challenges with achieving them? Ask yourself: are you interested and able to help them solve those challenges?
  • Ask recruiters: what problems does the hiring manager have?

It takes a while to adopt this approach, but I see it as one of the most highly effective ways to grow your career.

If you’d like a more in-depth discussion on this, get in touch.

2. You don’t need answers, you just need the right questions…

This has been a big theme since the summer for me. I’m going to write more about this soon in a blog, but an exclusive for my subscribers!

A number of my clients are grappling with new bigger roles, asking, “how do I scale my influence?” Or saying phrases like, “I haven’t built my credibility enough to be able to say ‘No’ or ‘I don’t agree with that.’”

The super power is not knowing the answer and how to share it, the super power is asking a question which leads the listener to arrive at the conclusion you know to be true, without having to say it.

While you get slightly less credit for this (sometimes), you will grow your influence far faster.

The takeaway is this: it’s not always your job to answer the question, but usually, it is your job to ask it.

Facilitate others to get to outcomes by practicing better questions!

For a more in depth look at great questions, check out this book: Change your questions, Change your life.

3. Your co-pilot has arrived! (At last)

A date has been set: co-pilot goes on general release on November 1st.

I will definitely be getting myself a license at launch. It will cost $30/month but I think the payback will be pretty fast – if you actively use it.

Next step: get talking to your IT leaders.

In most organisations, you probably won’t be able to turn it on without the support of IT.

Your best bet? Put together a proposal to convince your CFO and CIO to let you run a small pilot over 6 months with a few other people. An opportunity to be first in!

You’ll also start to see it in your Windows 11 updates soon too – check out the announcement on that here.

A few other things on AI while we’re here:

  • Microsoft have launched Python in Excel – check out the video here. Combining python (a tool that enables you to do advanced analysis on big data), Excel and Copilot should unlock all kinds of interesting outcomes that were previously inaccessible: too hard to learn, not enough time to figure it out, etc. Now all you need is a load of data and some interesting questions!
  • There are so many new AI tools out there that do one specific niche thing or another. But how can you find out about them? This handy website opentools.ai is doing a great job at curating them

Finally, a challenge that I am setting all finance professionals by the end of the year…

Every single one of us should have had at least a 5 minute play with ChatGPT by Christmas.

A simple enough challenge, but anyone who hasn’t experienced first-hand what it can do, will probably get left behind…

That’s all for now

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Oliver Deacon

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