Editorial #147 Art of Problem Solving
I have mention in past editorials the steps necessary to solve any problem. The first step taught in any consulting class is to define the problem perfectly!
There IS only one right answer to any problem. But, every solution has an agenda and different agendas will change the best answer. This is what causes the famous “Gray Area”, by the fact someone does not like the answer. It is typically someone’s special interest being compromised. They simply don’t like the answer because it takes away any advantage they may have had.
Defining the agenda behind the problem is the most difficult step. In a democracy the answer is never going to address everyone’s concern, only a majority. The agendas must be fully exposed and expressed before there is any hope of finding a solution. The target must defined. You don’t go to the shooting range with a blind fold on. You must see the target to have any hope of hitting it.
Agendas usually falls into one of four categories:
1. Fairness: will the answer still be acceptable if the tables were turned?
2. Truth: does the answer violate fundamental laws of economics or scientific principles?
3. Sustainable: does it require significant artificial support to maintain?
4. Integrity: does it have an agenda that is corrupt or self-serving?
When legislatures make laws, ideally it is to solve some problem that is costing more than the price of fixing it or to address some unintended consequence that has creeped in, not noticed at the time of the law’s formation.
Once the problem is completely defined, with all the outstanding agendas addressed that do not violate our core values, the answer is a matter of turning the question into a statement, and the problem is solved. The implementation phase is all that remains.
Most government laws do not survive the filter of a core values test. Short cuts to passing laws that violates one or more of these core values is called “compromise”. That means some who has no skin in the game is asked to look the other way. In return, that person may need help to pass a law at a later date. To put it bluntly, “they’ll let you cheat in the future if you let them cheating now”. This is business as usual in government and causes us the shake our heads in disbelief when certain laws are enacted. 2+2 does not equal 5 and to compromise on 4 ½ is ridiculous. This is what politicians mean when they say they are “Reaching across the aisle”.
The solving of any problem is very difficult in a democracy. Thank goodness for the slow pace of government. It takes a long time to pass any law and should weed out bad laws before they pass. If a bad law passes, the truth of how bad it is will eventually be exposed as nothing can be hidden from eventual truth and knowledge. This is frustrating. But in this day of instant gratification and rapid news cycles, this too will pass.
This is Keith Kube wishing you the best in making the world a better place.
Bumper: Keith has a regular commentary on WJAG 780 radio at 7:40 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Check his website www.keithkube.com for past editorials.