Question: Why are systemic problems seemingly without solution?
Answer: Because of the decision maker’s insistence to adhere to specific familiar beliefs, rules, theories, best-practices, or the use of specific and generally preferred resources, thereby effectively maintaining the status-quo.
Consequently, the obstacle to finding an appropriate solution in a timely manner is not due to a system’s complexity or its apparent physical inability, but due to the decision maker’s mental resistance to exploring unknown and unfamiliar sources of knowledge and wisdom. Willingness to stretch one’s comfort zone is the key requisite personality trait.
Moving off the beaten track and wandering through uncharted territory is both scary and exciting at the same time. It is filled with opportunities and possibilities about which you’ll have to form an opinion regarding their validity. It teaches explorers to accept the uncertainty that arises from being on unfamiliar terrain, and to let go of the need to be in control all the time. It is quite okay to ask for help or guidance from an outsider, someone experienced in exploring uncharted territories. Keep in mind that this “other” person is not Mephistopheles, demanding you to sell your soul to him or her. This is a personal learning opportunity, an exploration of new ideas, an opportunity to look at the world through different eyes and from different perspectives. Just like shopping for a new coat, you’re only trying it on for size, without any obligation to purchase it. Make sure though, that you keep an open mind and do not reject new ideas off-hand based on any of your preconceived notions standing in the way of finding a solution.
The commonality between this exploratory process and psychotherapy is that the answers we are looking for have been inside of us all along. Rather than looking for the right answers outside ourselves, we need to look inside with the help of an outsider in order to find the right questions to ask ourselves. These questions are typically about specific experiences that make our eyes light up; they are about values and our purpose in this world, something that makes us feel alive and connected with other people.
Invariably, these questions evoke answers grounded in humanistic principles rather than economic ones; they reflect a vision bigger and beyond selfish interests.
And yet, we have tried so hard to separate humanistic principles from economic principles with the weird rationalization that “this is business”, as if business is all transactional and not at all relational in nature.
How remarkable that today, we wonder why systemic problems persist or keep coming back; why employees are not engaged, why buyers/users are disloyal, why investors remove certain stock from their portfolios, why grass roots organizations spread their seeds in an effort to block a particular business’ attempts at doing more of the same, and why there are so many other expressions of discontent with the behavior of businesses in general.
Now you know that:
- Stubborn systemic problems have adequate solutions.
- Adequate solutions are obscured by decision makers’ mental resistance to exploring unknown and unfamiliar beliefs, rules, theories, practices, and resources.
- Business systems are just means to ends; tools for the realization of one’s vision for the world in which we live.
Our world is intentional, because it is governed by the law of cause and effect. Therefore, I invite you to join me on the CEO Adventure in order to explore some of those laws. I’ve always preferred understanding WHY a specific decision causes a certain effect rather than absorbing random solutions through rote memorization and applying them through trial-and-error. Not having to memorize so much stuff opens-up the mind to absorb new impressions, experiences, and joy!