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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Problem Complexity: Determine the Details

I saw the anguish on the individual's face.

I know this person has great depth and has worked beyond reasonable time or expectation to do good work.

Yet the individual erred, and the person's erroneous ways have been highlighted again and again and again and again.

All fault pointed in one person's direction, when many own the situation, problem, error, mistake.

When this happens, what can we do?

First, we must all recognize that it is rare for one to own an entire problem--problems typically belong to many.

Problems belong to those who knew, but didn't speak up.

Problems belong to those who collaborated around the misdeed, and don't own their actions.

Problems belong to those who could have helped, but turned away when they saw the wrong action happening or a better way.

Problems belong to ignorance when people don't know a better or right way.

Problems belong to an individual's history, erroneous and challenging information, experiences, and events that laid the foundation for future work.

Problems belong to change in time when what was once embraced is no longer seen as acceptable or right.

When problems arise, it's often the case, that the public looks for the most noticeable, approachable, or clear depiction of the problem. As humans, it seems to be our nature, to quickly judge, accept, or hold on to the problem's most colorful, imaginable part, and to ignore the more subtle, quiet, complex details of a problem's story.

When we resist the complexity, details, and hidden nature of a problem, we deny the problem's possible solution--the depth of remedy that can truly make positive change.

In this regard, I advise that we do the following:
  • Mostly force ourselves to see problems as a continuum rather than simply right or wrong.
  • Make the time to tease out a problem's subtle nature, the hidden details that matter.
  • Usually don't blame one or a single factor, but see the problem as a system or interlocking parts.
  • Don't turn a blind eye on problems when they begin, speak up right away, be compassionate, help an individual(s) out, be part of the solution.
My prayers and care are with the anguished individual, a person of good heart and kind acts, as I write. I wonder why that person is taking most of the blame and attention for an issue that involved many, an issue that seems like it could have been remedied long ago when it first surfaced with the help and support of others.

No one is all things. None of us are all good or all bad. Yes, there are definitely acts that we should never commit-true wrongs, but in general, most problems include more than one individual, act, or event, and in cases like this, it takes the good, collaborative work of many to solve the problem and move forward in ways that matter. Do you agree?