Agreeing on the problem
Please don't tell us it's complicated.
Organizations, scientists and individuals always do better in solving problems that are clearly stated. The solution might be complicated, the system might be complex, but if we don't agree on the problem, it's hard to find the resources and the will to seek out a solution.
For a business, the problem might be that:
- there aren't enough customers
- gross margins are too low
- word of mouth is poor
- hiring sufficiently talented people is too difficult
- competition just moved in next door
- production quality is off.
Identify and agree on any of these and we can get to work. Denying the problem doesn't increase the chances it will go away.
This is the political/lobbied challenge facing our stalled response to the melting icecaps. There are a variety of possible problem-denials along with one simple statement that actually opens the door to progress:
- The world isn't getting hotter, the data is wrong.
- The world is getting hotter, and that's okay.
- The world is getting hotter, but it's not caused by us, and anyway, we can't do anything at all about it.
- The world is getting hotter, it's urgent, we need to hurry, and dealing with it is a difficult technical and political problem.
Which category are you in at work? What about the people you vote for and work for?
Often, the reason people don't want to agree on a problem is that it's frightening to acknowledge a problem if we don't know that there's a solution, as if saying the problem out loud makes it more real, more likely to undermine our lives.
The irony, of course, is that fear of the problem makes it far more likely that the problem itself will hurt us.