When the Problem isn’t the Problem

Abhishek Paul
2 min readJan 20, 2024

Talking about one of our rockstar colleagues with S (Founder & CEO, Kissflow), I shared how he had mentioned about being swamped with work. In my mind I had the usual thoughts on work load management, ie helping him prioritize, spread the work among others, maybe even hire people if needed. All valid and probably could’ve eased the pressure and thereby given the impression of having solved the problem. But that’s assuming we have identified the real problem, and in an investigation assumptions kill to paraphrase Reacher.

That’s what I love about the conversations with S, his ability to not just offer a different perspective, but a deeper insight yet simple and may I add elegant one. In this case, his POV was that high performers rarely have complaints about workload. Not that they don’t experience it, but to them it’s just another problem that needs to be solved. It becomes an issue only when there are other problems, typically challenges with their manager, peers or reportees. Its rarely the work content because its almost impossible to be a superstar /rockstar (someone in the top 10% of performance) without being passionate about the work. They want to do more work but start finding people not just unsupportive but actively working against them, becoming a drain on their energy. Ofcourse there are going to be exceptions, but definitely something to investigate before jumping in to solve.

When I thought about this person I could see how true this was and how ineffective we would have been had we tried to go the traditional route of workload management.

As cliched as it might sound, I walked out that day with enhanced clarity on how to dissect problems that come my way and ensure that we find and work on the actual issues and not just the stated ones. Sure its going to be tougher, even frustrating at times but I don’t think we would have it any other way.