You as “dot connector” between pain and solution

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

There is a supply that you can connect to a demand even in unlikely looking places.

Liz Ryan is an expert on job search to circumvent the Human Resource system. She explicitly addresses the frustration felt by so many about filling out a resume online and sending our hopes into the “black hole” where software scans our experience to look for just what “the system” wants. She says research the employer to find out any pain that they might be experiencing that you could solve.

To summarize from her book “Reinvention Roadmap”:

  • · How you could use your gifts, interests and skills to solve problems for someone or some company.

  • · Do research on companies where you might work as an employee to solve such problems.

  • · Find the names of the managers over those functions in some of those companies.

  • · Write each manager a personalized letter showing your awareness of such challenges and how you have solved similar situations in the past.

By the time you become proficient at research you will know many things about companies but also much about their industry. You should start to feel more confident about your own value and skills, because that is the kind of research taught in MBA programs. Hiring managers would actually prefer initiative takers who can change systems. You are starting to have sales skills.

After that research you could easily find yourself with “too much information” for an interview. You might have answers to questions and pain that your target company and industry aren’t even asking yet. When you interview to be an employee you will have to be tactful with your extra answers. You could be seeing the pain that the hiring manager has trying to get the job done but also the pain their customers have.

After the interview what do you as you sit there brimming with solutions? You might not read a lot of business books or the Harvard Business Review, but here is where you could go with your fresh momentum.

Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School is one of the most influential business school professors anywhere. His research shows that innovation doesn’t work often enough because companies don’t focus enough on customer pain. Solutions?

  • · Find a job that needs to be done, or rather a job that isn’t being done very well.

  • · Take notes and pictures of how customers are fixing the pain now.

  • · Are customers not buying a solution to their pain because it doesn’t exist or is too expensive?

  • · Have people invented their own solution even if it is a little crude?

  • · Have customers used an existing product in new ways? Are there jobs customers avoid?

Companies are often no better at identifying customer pain points than you were before you started with your Liz Ryan job search tools. The next step seems big but you are brimming with solutions. In another article, Dr. Christensen says there are lots of opportunities and potential for growth in what he calls “frontier markets” in developing countries. What he doesn’t mention but should is that there are inner city and rural places in America with lots of potential for growth. Existing products could be made more affordable. Innovations in such areas create new jobs and whole new systems of delivering better lives for people. Succeeding in a “frontier market” means innovation pulls new development into that market. Great pioneers to lead those innovations would be those who have personally experienced the pain in that market.

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