VanderUnicorn Spotlight: Jennifer Paulson is a Solver

Jennifer Paulson - Solver

With over 30,000 interviews to our name, Vanderbloemen has mastered the art of identifying the best. It comes down to 12 data-driven traits that set the greatest workers apart as “Unicorns.” These traits are covered in-depth in William Vanderbloemen’s new book Be the Unicorn. 

But even the best of the best aren’t expected to master all 12 traits simultaneously. Excellence in just one of these traits can qualify a candidate for a vital role on your team. We believe each member of our team of experts exemplifies these traits in various ways, and we’ve chosen one person to highlight how each trait translates in the workplace.

Meet our Problem Solving VanderUnicorn, Jennifer Paulson

The fourth of the 12 Unicorn traits is The Solver. When your team inevitably faces challenges, your staff may split into problem-focused people and solution-focused people. Be the Unicorn explains that those who choose to find solutions, who refuse to be a victim, and who spend energy moving past those challenges are irreplaceable. These are the Solvers.

Every team needs Solvers. One of Vanderbloemen’s greatest Solvers is Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Paulson. Part of Jennifer’s strength as a solver is her ability to identify inefficiencies and to encourage her team to find solutions.

“I do not like wasted time, wasted energy or people heading down the wrong track for too long of a time,” Jennifer says. “The sooner we can identify a problem, the sooner we can solve it.”

Steps toward problem-solving

Jennifer says her love of math and logic has made her especially adept at problem solving. Finding solutions to problems in real life is no different from solving problems in a Calc 2 textbook. “Just take it one step at a time,” she says. 

“When you find yourself in a situation that isn’t working, first drill down to identify what exactly isn't working,” Jennifer explains.

 “Actually,” Jennifer corrects herself, “First you pray.” She sings this line, a reference to a song from a formative church musical she took part in in the mid-1980s called Fat, Fat, Jehoshaphat. 

“So first you pray,” she says. “Ask God to weigh in, and then come up with two to three  potential solutions that you could use for the problem, and think through what that looks like.”

For Jennifer, this ideation portion usually involves brightly patterned, spiral-bound Lilly Pulitzer notebooks. “I’m an external processor,” she explains. “So when I’m problem solving, someone or something needs to be there to receive my thoughts.” 

Then, it’s time to take action. 

Solvers in the workplace

“Every single thing isn't going to work out perfectly,” Jennifer says, “but trying one possible solution is better than not trying anything.”

That’s how a solver thinks. There’s a bit of risk involved, but the reward is that when others were stumped in the face of a trial, you pushed your team forward. Eventually, whether there are failed attempts at first or not, it’s the solver who successfully brings the team out of challenges.

“It makes an employee that people, bosses, gravitate toward,” Jennifer says. 

Solvers in everyday life

It’s not just about efficiency, growth, and bottom lines. The Solver is a valuable friend and family member, too. 

“I like helping people,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer’s ability to be a solver has allowed her to support her friends and family time and time again. Like many Solvers, she’s the oldest daughter of her family, and she brings that big sister energy, determination, and confidence to every challenge. It’s one of the many reasons Jennifer plays an integral role on the team here at Vanderbloemen. After all, it’s the relationships that build a strong team culture. Whatever qualities an employee brings that make them a better friend to the staff makes them that much stronger of a team member. And being ready with a salient verse from obscure church musicals of the late 20th century never hurts, either. 

First you pray. Then you get a solver like Jennifer Paulson. 

Find your unicorn

We're lucky to have unicorns on our team like Jennifer, and we want to equip your team with candidates just like her. To start the search for your own top talent, get in touch today.

To learn more about the 12 traits the best employees share, pre-order Be the Unicorn for yourself, a friend, or even your whole team. Buying in bulk can save you up to 47% off the cover price, plus it comes with bonus content and other extra perks. 

Finally, if you’d like to assess the strengths of your own team, check out the Vander Index, our new tool that's a companion to Be the Unicorn, based on our years of data collection and experience.