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LeCastor

Less Blaming, More Problem-Solving

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There's a tendency in society and on this forum to seek first to lay blame rather than a real effort to solve the underlying issue(s) at hand. How can me solve the issue while doing our utmost to keep the Scout in Scouting? How can we find the true cause of the problem without blaming someone? We must be the change we want to see. If we are constantly looking to blame someone or something we're darned well gonna find that someone or something. But if we seek to find a solution while working with other people, without pointing fingers, I think we'd be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

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I suppose it is easier to affix blame than find a solution, isn't it? Of course, that does not fix the problem.

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According to Speed Lea's levels of conflict, by the time we get to the blaming level we are well beyond being able to solve the problem because the issue is now someone screwing up rather than having a problem (which has now become irrelevant.)

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You say blame. I say, finding the root cause. ;)

 

As I mentioned in one thread that may have been the source of LC's post, what some people think of as "solutions" boil down to "actions that don't matter for problems you can't fix."

 

Now, all of us on this forum have had our world view shaped by the humanist movement. Therefore, we are insulted to be told that there exists problems that we can't fix. This isn't necessarily bad, because when someone reports an intractable problem, we can kick around the tires on the thing and sometimes a light-bulb goes off and the OP or an anonymous reader says "Hey! I never thought of that." The cost of doing that, however, is that the OP feels like Job or Elija ("Some friends I have." or "Nobody really gets me.")

 

On the other hand, our world-view has been shaped by the Great Awakening and the Protestant work ethic. (Actually being Protestant, or even Christian, is inconsequential to that. The very fact that I could use "world view" in a sentence and nearly everyone reading it believes such a thing exists is a testament to the efficacy of Christian missions.) In short, we believe that there exists a simple action that will provide short-term positive results, (answer the altar call, think happy thoughts, random act of kindness, "Yes, we can!", "Mission accomplished!"). That sort of thing gets a lot of people hopping and doing a lot of good ... most days.

 

But some days, the "quick fix" does make things worse. Fretting over a boy's self-esteem for example may make you feel noble, but may make the boy think, "Here's the key my entitlement." Some times, the best course is the hard one, through a narrow channel in hard winds against rocky shoals. (Sorry Seabase-on-the-brain.) Sailors shouting abruptly over the wind to an angry helmsman ... it's not pretty, but then again, neither is a crab-trap on your keel or coral head in your hull!

 

Some days, words are tough to swallow. So you need grit to dig in, keep on course, and wait for a miracle ... It's entirely possible that may require more patience than you are willing admit to lacking. ... But, I'm told rare events happen every day ...

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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:D Finger-pointing (read blaming) often leads to grid-lock. Identifying the "root cause" leads to solving the problem. And not a "quick fix" either. (Qwase, if wasn't you who sparked this post, btw.) I'll admit there are some things you can't fix but you can still makes things work out for the better. Stay positive. Stay focused. Are we as Scouters here to do Scouting or bully each other?

 

As far as patience goes, I've got plenty of it. ;)

 

Sure, my opinions are soundly based in Christian teaching. Love one another. Turn the other cheek. Acceptance. Compassion. Thus, I have a hard time putting other people down and pointing fingers. In my opinion, it's better to include than exclude even if that means it's going to take extra effort on my part to make things work.

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LeCastor, finger-pointing does not lead to grid-lock, it only changes the subject from the problem at hand to some bystander. Somehow people get the idea that miraculous things will happen to solve the problem if we get rid of the person being blamed. It's just a way people keep others from solving the problem. There are those out there that really don't want the problem solved, but the blaming of others is fun and somehow self-justifies the ruckus they produce.

 

"We got a real problem in Troop XX and it's all the SM's fault." Okay, what's the problem? I don't know but I'm sure whatever it is it will go away when we dump the SM. Now there's a surefire way of fixing things using the spirit of the Oath and Law.

 

This kind of crap happens all the time, even here on the forum. Ever wonder why most of the threads start out with "...we have a problem with our SM or our CC or some parent, or our UC or our DE or or or..."

 

The problems that can't be solved are the ones people have escalated to the point where the original problem is the least of the worries.

 

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BEGINNING

 

If I was going to point the finger of blame, or attempt to find the root cause, I supposed I'd say something like we never actually listen to each other. This goes beyond just active listening. The listener must also validate the concerns of the speaker rather than consciously attempting to invalidate those concerns. By attacking the other we can comfortably hold firm to our own hard positions. By surrounding ourselves with the like-minded we find strength in the mob.

 

I would argue part of what challenges our society and the BSA is there's limited shared vision of what the future actually looks like. And on the rare occasion that there is a shared vision of outcome, the discussion of the method to get there devolves quickly. It devolves because compromise is only possible if everybody in the decision process is willing to give up some of their hard positions.

 

GOTO BEGINNING

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How do you identify the 'hard' positions? I am skeptical of any prediction of the future that goes more than a few months or a year out. That said, I also admit that I've made my share of those predictions....and most of them were wrong just like I said they'd be, lol.

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Finding root cause of a problem is not important. Finding a solution is. Identify what we have and what we would like. Solving the "problem" is moving away from what we have to what we would like. Nothing more, nothing less. The problem is to be identified. "I have a leak in the gas tank in my car." That's what we have. Is it important how I got that leak? Nope, not at all. It rusted, hit a rock, vandalism, who cares? It's not important. Move to what we would like? Well, take it to the shop and get a new one put in. End of discussion. There now is no problem regardless of whose fault it might have been and regardless of any root causes. Too often we make mountains out of mole hills, spin our wheels and waste time, get everyone all worked up and cause more damage than the original problem.

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If a problem is recurring, determining the root cause can be helpful.

 

Frequent, similar mistakes? Tracing it all back to a single employee, a particular shop, or a faulty process isn't blame, it's the first step in figuring a solution that will work.

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Problems often have human causes,

 

Finding what causes a problem may be the only way to solve the problem.

 

Treating people without respect is one of those human problems.

Refusing to be open to the experiences and judgment of others is one of those human problems.

Being so afraid of change that you are closed to the new is one of those human problems

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If one finds it necessary to "work back to the root cause". That's fine with me, I have found, however, about 100% of the time it's a total waste of time. It changes nothing and it offers no solutions.

 

Here's the scenario. Troop X is running smoothly, everyone is happy. As we all know things change, older boys leave, new ones come onboard, SM's change as do CC and MC's. So the once running smoothly process doesn't work anymore. Well the root cause is, the world changes on a daily basis. Live with it. So what's the big problem now. SM didn't move forward with the times? Good guess. CC is a new tyrant? Good guess. MC's aren't cooperating any more. So what's the root cause? The world changed. Live with it.

 

So just look at the situation the way it is now. Identify things that would be nice to have different. Then move in that direction (which is forward, not backward). Is it ever going to go back to the way it was? Heavens no! One doesn't want that and it'll never happen. Go and create a new smooth running Troop X which is more in line with today's needs.

 

Of course if Mr. Z steals $2,000 from the scout treasury. Then call the cops. That's pretty cut and dried simple. Those that are a bit more complex need witch-hunts which no matter how much lipstick you put on it, it's still a pig. There is no place in BSA literature that will train anyone on how to do a good witch-hunt. Root cause witch-hunts only make some people feel good, important or powerful over others. I have never seen one work out as offering anything beneficial to anyone.

 

Of course one can justify it in many different ways, but a witch-hunt is a witch-hunt and if one is looking for root causes to big problems, witch-hunting is a great way to create really good big problems.

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Of course one can justify it in many different ways, but a witch-hunt is a witch-hunt and if one is looking for root causes to big problems, witch-hunting is a great way to create really good big problems.

 

LOL...I like that line, Stosh. :D

 

We are starting to split hairs, though, I think.

 

The reason I started this thread is because I see a lot of finger-pointing on this forum. Some of it leads to resolution but most of it just causes a lot of negativity and, quite frankly, makes my blood boil. I'm fairly certain we are all in Scouting because we believe that it's the best program for our youth, and I believe we all hold the Scout Oath and Law dear to our hearts. We don't always follow the Law and slip from time to time, myself included. However, we do our best to abide by those 12 points.

 

Someone recently stated, we're like a family on this forum, complete with sibling shouting matches. I, on the other hand, am an only child and I don't know what it's like to have a brother or sister. My outlook on life was formed by my Lutheran pastor mother and my Scout buddies.

 

As you have probably noticed, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. This sometimes leads to my getting walked on and spit on. But, hey, I don't regret the decisions I've made in life. If I've helped give a Scout a positive experience in a life that is normally less-than-stellar, I think it's okay if the boy's mother took advantage of my money or my time. Maybe she's a single mom who wants the best for her boy but can't make ends meet. I don't know and I don't care. The problem, as I see it, is the boy needs Scouting and can't afford it. I can fix that with the help of my friends, fellow Scouters, and the chartering organization. I'm not going to blame the mother for not being able to afford Scouting for her son.

 

Some of you will be quick to jump back with words like "enabling" and "entitlements". I hear you and I understand where you're coming from. However, I choose to address the issue with the Scout and the mother at a time that is right for all involved. That's just my approach to problem-solving. Some have called me "warm and fuzzy" and that made my heart sing. Yes, I do approach Scouting from a warm and fuzzy angle. There's enough cold and prickly stuff going on in life and my Troop provides a safe-haven for a lot of young men who need a warm and fuzzy place to go. There's a safe place for them to go and fail, learn, and become better men.

 

I don't expect most of you will agree with me and that's fine. :cool: Scouting is my passion and I enjoy working with the boys in my Troop and the Scouters at the district and council level. Is there finger-pointing going on there? Duh. Is it helpful? No. We have "toxic Scouters" at every level but we can't let them ruin Scouting for us. Let's take roundtable, for example. It can be a great place to learn new things, meet new people, and keep up-to-date on the news of the district/council. If you let it become a waste of time, complaining-session, "Latin American General" [cringe] greet-and-greet, then you're going to hate it and become all jaded and cynical.

 

So I'll stop rambling and wish everyone a Merry Christmas--if you celebrate Christmas. Otherwise, just know that I enjoy reading your posts and look forward to opening Scouter.com every day. We don't always agree with each other but we're united by Scouting and that's pretty darn cool.

 

LeCastor

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If a problem is recurring, determining the root cause can be helpful.

 

Frequent, similar mistakes? Tracing it all back to a single employee, a particular shop, or a faulty process isn't blame, it's the first step in figuring a solution that will work.

 

If a problem is recurring, the process is broken. Just change the process and one will reach a different destination. What we have here is X. We don't like X but by doing something the same way each time, we seem to always end up with X. We would like Y. Okay, find out what it's going to take to get to Y. Then do that. I don't need to know whose fault it is. I don't need to know the root cause. All I need to know is I don't like X and prefer Y. Here's how to get to Y is all that is necessary to know. Finding root cause only justifies a solution, it does not create one.

 

Frequent, similar mistakes? Trace back to a single employee and then fire the manager for not training that person correctly in the first place. Then fire the HR mgr for not making sure the manager didn't trained the employee correctly. Then fire the employee for not doing their job correctly. Then fire yourself if one thinks that any of this will solve anything. :) Sure it justifies a lot of things, but like I said witch-hunts are often fun, but really not productive.

 

If there is a recurring problem and it's always ending up with X then have all the employees trained to a new process that will end up with Y. No witch-hunt, no blame, no wasting of time, but we now have lots of Y and we're all happy (and no one got fired or even had their feelings hurt.)

 

Stosh

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Stosh, if your gas tank keeps getting punctured, and you keep fixing it, at what point do you figure out what is causing it? Or do you just keep fixing it without digging up that big stone in the middle of the drive way?

 

Now, if I'm tracking with you, agree with your thoughts about avoiding long, involved assessments. Sometimes the cause is as plain as day. No need to assemble a committee to examine things at length. Just fix it.

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