“Do you have a plan?”

First, let’s agree that there’s a problem.

It may be that I think we’re facing something serious, something costly, something urgent–and you don’t.

We can have an honest conversation about the problem without worrying about whether there’s an easy or certain solution.

We can also have a conversation about whether it’s a problem (problems have solutions) or whether it’s simply a situation, something like gravity that we have to live with.

Once we agree that we have a problem, the status quo will show up. It will argue with every tool it has that any variation from the current path is too risky, too expensive and too painful to consider. The status quo will stall. It will argue for studies and will amplify the pain that will be caused to some as we try to make things better for everyone.

And the status quo usually wins. That’s because the makers of change are now playing defense, forced to justify every choice and ameliorate every inconvenience.

Perhaps there’s a more useful way forward.

We begin by agreeing that there’s a problem.

And then each party, every single one, needs to put forward a plan. A plan that either addresses the problem or takes responsibility for not addressing it.

And for each plan, we can consider the likely outcomes. For each plan, we can ask, “will that work?” and follow it up with, “why?” and “how?”

Perhaps you don’t think it’s a problem worth solving. That’s important to bring up before we ask you if you have a plan.

Delay might be the best option. But then let’s be honest and announce that instead of simply stalling.