Solving Problems Requires New Thinking

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December 10, 2012

Consider the following thought:

Paraphrasing Einstein (gray hair, intelligent): We cannot solve the problems of today using the same level of thinking that created them. We like this, it is pithy and it makes sense. Next, our vogue definition of insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting different results. OK, this seems to track right along. Lastly, from the field of management science: Decades of empirical (observable) research show us: Every organization is perfectly balanced to produce the outcomes it produces. If an organization does something well, it is because its resources (people, cash, facilities, equipment), its competencies (knowledge & skills), and its capabilities (the linking mechanisms that use resources and competencies for production/service, such as the organization’s culture and structure/systems/business processes) are aligned to produce that good outcome. If any aspect of the organization’s performance is not optimal, it is because the resources, competencies, and capabilities (or lack thereof) are balanced to produce this less-than-optimal outcome – even in a poor marketplace! What we see is that any form or poor performance is linked to current operations, current policies, and current behavioral mind-sets that support this level of performance. It cannot be otherwise.

Stated another way: I know how to grow grass here in North Carolina and you can walk barefoot in my lawn and daydream all day long. Every spring, however, towards the rear woods on the hill where the water washes down in the rainstorms, I might find a clump of weeds here and there. The weeds aren’t the problem; the problem is there’s no grass there. It’s a cultural problem. If I allow my turf to deteriorate, then I get what is sown there by the wind, the birds, or as the result of other undesirable conditions. If I influence the correct culture by maintaining the topsoil, the PH, the sun, water, and nutrients, I keep those problems from creeping in and taking over. It’s the same in the organization. Do you craft and maintain the good and desirable attitudes and behaviors or do you allow toxicities to harm your culture? How are you going to behave your way to your desired future with what you’re doing now?