Every day, we're faced with problems. Some are old. Some are new.
Some of our own creation. Some we had nothing to do with.
Regardless of the source, problems need solutions. Perhaps it's just one person who has to put in the effort. Sometimes it's a collective effort of everyone
on the planet that's required.
How you solve a problem is related to your values and beliefs. This means that who you are biases you toward a certain way of solving a problem. Your solution
that requires negotiation and listening won't appeal to someone who thinks going in all-guns-blazing is the correct approach. Who's right? It's hard
to know, but one certainty is there will be a debate over which approach is better.
For the big problems in society, we'll only know how good a solution is a decade or more after it's implemented. Even something the majority of people
thought was good at the time has the potential to fail dramatically. Sometimes it will be because the solution itself was flawed. Other times it will
be how the solution was implemented. Teasing apart why a solution isn't working is often so complicated that many are tempted to scrap it and try something
different. If you've followed an election, you'll know what this looks like. Most political parties are quick to point out why something their opponents
did was useless. The challenge for them is to come up with something better.
That's the challenge for all of us, really. How do we come up with something better than the status quo? On any given day, we have an opportunity to do
better within our selves, our families, our workplaces, our communities, our country, and in the world. How do we do this?
I suggest we take more time to listen, on all levels. Start by listening to yourself. Tune into your emotions, gut feelings, hopes, fears and dreams. What
can you do to be a better person?
Remember, the solutions you choose for problems are connected to your values and beliefs. Making change in the world means making changes in your self.
You won't create a better outcome for yourself by making the same choices.
This approach scales. Remember that when you're in a position of leadership. Creating better outcomes for everyone starts with listening, empathizing,
having compassion, collaborating, choosing a solution and then clearly communicating the reasons for that choice. Keep stakeholders informed as you
go. Honestly evaluate progress. Be flexible and humble enough to admit mistakes if there were any, then get re-focused on the task at hand.
Remember: when you're confronted by a problem that if it was easy to fix, it would already be fixed. "Silver-bullet" type solutions are rare, largely because
most situations are more complicated than being attacked by a werewolf. If there's any "magic" in solutions, it's doing your best to make the most
appropriate decision, implementing, measuring, adjusting if necessary and continuing on.