What do you mean, “you have no idea?”

One of the first lessons I learned when I started in the corporate world was to never approach my boss with a problem that wasn’t also immediate followed with an idea for a solution.

He taught me that screw ups, obstacles, and changing circumstances happen, but just walking in without a solution was not an appropriate behavior. It was okay if my solution wasn’t ideal, and frequently in the beginning they were pretty weak, but it taught me how to think and problem solve.

It was also a great lesson in client management. From my perspective, the cardinal sin of client interaction is presenting a problem or issue without a proposal to solve the problem. Clients never like bad news, but they’ve hired me for a reason. The solution may be costly, it may require more time, or tax precious resources, but it’s better than just dumping a problem onto the client’s desk and hoping he tells you what he wants.

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