There is Always a Solution (but We Can't Always See it)

"If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem and one minute resolving it." - Albert Einstein


In every state and national park I’ve visited, I’ve noticed that there is some kind of homage paid to the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp). I understand why.


During the great depression, FDR was looking for a way to get young, unemployed, unmarried men to work. That way, they could send money back to their families to help with the financial crisis during the Great Depression.


The CCC was a clever and responsible solution to growing and debilitating unemployment in the US. But this solution was worth even more than that. Newly employed Americans planted trees (to the tune of about 3 billion), built bridges, trails and lodges in parks all across the nation, and built service buildings and roads in remote areas.


Sometimes, the best solutions have effects that far outreach their original promise.


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For a more "practical" example, consider clever solutions to housing. Around where I had been traveling in Africa, natives were having issues with growing crops because of the bitter cold after nightfall and during winter.


When they did have crops, the wildlife would eat most of them.


But some ingenuity gave way to a fascinating and unique solution. By gardening on their roofs, they were solving issues of agriculture, hunger, and even insulation. Animals were hard-pressed to find a way up to the roof to eat. The people were better fed. And, finally, (one of those unintended benefits) the garden roof provided insulation against the biting cold.


The solutions exist. Somewhere. They may not be obvious and they may not be easy, but there's always a way to improve things or solve seemingly unsolvable problems.


Whether I’m coaching an individual or a corporate client, I’ve often found that the problem they believe they are having is not the actual problem. We have to look at something from every angle. An iceberg's peak pales in comparison to the mountain underneath. And when we're just looking at what's obvious, we come up with obvious solutions.


The best solutions are the ones that begin at the root -- those that create a stronger foundation and prevent other problems from cropping up.


Here are a few steps to get you started on the path to solving a problem:


What is actually causing or contributing to the issue?


Determine what solution there is and/or what expectation is not being met at the time?


Who is responsible for the problem and who is responsible for the solution?


Once you’ve determined the options for solutions set a solution, determine a time-line and make sure you work with it.


Get the entire team involved in providing solutions, feedback – take ownership because they will be more committed to the solution if they helped come up with it.


Set the parameters of how and what will let you know that the solution is working – that the issue is in fact being resolved.