Problem Solvers vs. Opportunity Creators

We all have different professions and titles, but ultimately we can be separated into two categories: problem solvers and opportunity creators. Those who work in areas like “operations” or “technical support” are quintessentially problem solvers. On the other hand, positions in “sales,” “sponsorship” or “marketing” are intrinsically opportunity creating efforts.

The two have a symbiotic relationship – neither can survive without the other. Either a plethora of problems or a lack of opportunities could sink a business.

The main difference between these two is one of visibility. A great team of problem solvers is rarely recognized, as a lack of problems can seem “normal” and even make those who solved all the problems seem unnecessary.

In contrast, opportunity creators are celebrated at every possible juncture. A successful sponsorship, contract or campaign is good news for everyone, so of course it should be celebrated. However, this can cause opportunity creators to appear more appreciated (or more valuable) than problems solvers.

They’re not.

Don’t get me wrong. As a purebred problem solver, I don’t want the spotlight. What am I going to say that warrants it?  I mean, this isn’t exactly going to set the world on fire:

“Today, our systems are working as expected. We’ve enabled you all to do you work.”

Although new opportunities “sound better” than solved problems, neither one is more valuable than the other. Problem solvers and opportunity creators are joined at the hip; they’ll sink or swim together.

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Peter is Vice President of Digital Marketing at an investment holdings company in Washington DC and Co-Founder at True North.


  1. Mustafa Kurtuldu on the 9th July

    Excellent article mate, sadly so true.

  2. Scott Taylor on the 10th July

    You nailed it. This is a management must-read.

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