Deepavali or Diwali, a very widely celebrated festival in India, represents the symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil. I wish you a happy Deepavali and victory in solving problems over fixing them.
A leaking boat is used to describe the phenomena of fixing and solving. People emptying the water analogically are fixing the problem and those plugging the hole are solving the problem, whereas those doing neither this nor that are totally aloof of the reality.
In this blog I will attempt at just focus on the fixers and solvers.
Fixers normally continue till breakdown, even after noticing the symptoms.
Solvers stop immediately and contain deterioration till finding a solution.
Fixers take a shortcut by taking risks, cutting corners, and going against rules.
Solvers follow the correct path despite urgency, after containing the problem.
Immediately after the quick fix the fixers restart as if it is normal.
Immediately after the containment solvers start finding the solution.
Fixers procrastinate diving deep to solve, while focusing on perfecting the quick fix.
Solvers deep dive to unearth the causes for occurrence, failing to prevent and predict.
Fixers avoid diving deep and opening closets for the fear of hidden skeletons.
Solvers embrace diving deep to open closets for discovering all skeletons.
Fixers drive teams by controlling and exercising authority by safeguarding behind a mask.
Solvers motivate teams with Freedom and Opportunities to Improve without masks.
In my experience and observation, those organizations with a solver mindset and culture, are more competitive, more profitable and on a sustainable growth mode. Even societies with a solver mindset and culture have a better quality of life.
I recollected a program of Prof Shoji Shiba which I attended. The key to breakthrough management, I understood, is to go to the boundaries and even beyond them to discover the background of the current reality. This sank through in me very deeply, and in my executive roles, I would often go to the edges and corners of our production hangers to look and feel the reality. It was really amazing the wealth of improvement opportunities I used to regularly find there.
It is a very strange that the scarcity in resources, which is the most common perceived barrier for choosing the fixer mindset over solver mindset, in fact further increases by choosing the fixer mindset, while diminishes when the solver mindset is chosen. It took me quite a few years to really experience and learn this wisdom. Even though I consider myself to be more a solver than a fixer, I humbly admit that I am still internalizing this extremely important wisdom.
As usual I will end my blog with this quote by Albert Einstein.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
You may want to seek someone with a better level of thinking than yours to first discover your mindset and culture – are you a fixer or a solver. Then use their level of thinking to solve the problem.