Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

It's about the process

Why do outside solutions fail?

One reason could be that the organization lacks the skills to execute on the solution. Just because we’re told what we need to do, doesn’t mean we have the capability or capacity to do it. All the tips and tricks in the world won’t improve my drawing. I have to put in the work, and even better, put in the work with others.

Another reason could be that the solution addresses only the symptoms, but not the deeper cause. If the dam is weak, plugging the existing holes will just create more pressure and new cracks will start leaking somewhere else. Sustainable results only come from addressing the structures and beliefs underneath the current challenges. Then new possibilities can be found and the old challenges will go away.

A third reason is that the solution doesn’t take into account understanding that is hidden in the current system. Challenges that customer service representatives have heard, but are afraid to tell their managers for fear of retribution. Pain that employees are feeling because of the culture, that the leaders are ignorant of. Or burnout in the C-suite which they don’t want to admit to themselves or to each other.

This is why most organizational challenges require a process to get to a solution. A process that includes a safe enough space to uncover hidden understanding. A process with tools that can see, sense, and feel beneath the symptoms to expose current beliefs and structures as well as possibilities for a stronger, healthier foundation. And a process which includes learning skills to grow the capability and capacity to create sustainable change in the organization.

What we call “problems” might just be opportunities to uncover what need our attention and action to create a solution together through a process.

5 August 2022

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