The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The solution shortcut

When a problem appears, the typical reaction is to try to solve it. The quest then becomes one of finding how to solve that problem.

It seems to be the shortest path. And yet it’s easily also short-circuiting how the situation is best addressed.

Two “detours” are worth considering.

The first one is to go back to the situation in which the problem emerged. Usually, such a problem is first of all one of discomfort to those experiencing the situation. While they may be right to call it a problem, it might also be a feature of the process they had not seen or understood. Another option is, that it is a symptom of a different problem that is hidden somewhere else in the process.

Checking in with the situation thus is a way to verify the context of what is reported as a problem. It allows validating if the problem needs to be addressed. And it provides information allowing to shape how the situation can best be addressed.

The second “detour” is to check in with oneself. The reasoning here is to ask oneself, what we would be solving that problem for. It puts solving the problem into our individual context and invites us to notice how we feel about solving the problem and to sense what purpose it has within our activity.

Checking in with ourselves allows us to verify if we actually want to solve it. It also allows seeing if we can solve it and have the necessary resources to do so. Ideally, the verification also allows us to see if acting is within our responsibility and if we need to involve others in addressing the problem.

In both cases, the information we’ll uncover might not be the one we hoped for, nor convenient.

That’s the point! We want to learn if the solution we wanted to bring is needed, useful, and asked for. We want to learn if the immediate discomfort we felt when the problem was named is ours to contain or an indication that we need to step in.

It allows us to choose if short-circuiting our work with our intuitive priority system is the right thing to do. And it shapes how we’ll address the problem.

The detours thus become a solution shortcut towards finding the right solution.

And reminding ourselves of what our involvement is for shifts it from an obligation to solve a problem to the work we do on purpose.


Share this post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *