Have We Had This Problem Before?

“Everyday Leader: Priceless leadership principles that connect to everyday life for the everyday leader” by Frank Boudreau –

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” —John Foster Dulles, former Secretary of State

Without a doubt problems will come. Some problems are tougher to solve than others. The question is, do we solve them for good or do we come up with temporary solutions? Do we find ourselves dealing with the same problem over and over again?

Oftentimes we approach a problem and are only able to see them from the surface. Trying to solve a problem based only on what we see on the surface can be fatal. Think of the iceberg. What we see on the surface of the water can sometimes be as little as 25 percent of the total size of the iceberg. And the part below the surface can often cause the most damage (the RMS Titanic). What we see on the surface can be very deceiving. Think about the doctor visit if you have a possible broken bone. The doctors can’t tell how bad it really is or how they are going to correct it until they see the X-ray.

When we are faced with a problem we have to look below the surface and get to the root of the problem before we can know how to really solve it. If we only deal with what is on the surface, we are only dealing with the symptoms and the real illness doesn’t go away. Basically we might only be putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg, or we might only be taking an aspirin for a major sinus infection. The immediate pain might be covered up, but the real problem is still there. Let’s take time to dig into the real heart of the matter. It takes more time and we might get a little messy, but we will be able to get to the real issue and then be able to find the permanent solution.

Also, be encouraged to do the hard work up front and early on. If we don’t deal with the real issue or illness as soon as we are aware of it, a mild problem can turn into a major problem. Things can get to a point where there is permanent damage that can’t be fixed. If we choose to ignore a problem, it WON’T go away and it will only get worse. Sooner or later the real problem will have to be dealt with.

Remember we will all have tough problems from time to time. The question is how well and how quickly we will deal with those problems.


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