Yesterday’s Solutions, Today’s Problem
Last Saturday, I was awaked by a frantic phone call from a friend to tell me that she has bed bugs in her apartment. My friend lives in an exclusive neighborhood and never dreamed she would be eaten alive by bugs that were supposed to be eradicated sixty years ago.
If you do an Internet search on the minuet little creatures, you will learn that 1 in 10 New Yorker’s have dealt with this problem lately including such prestigious locations as Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, CNN and the Fox News Studios in Manhattan. Bergdorf Goodman has hired special dogs to sniff out the varmints at night so customers won’t be alarmed.
How can this be happening in the USA in 2010? The origin to the pesky infestation comes from yesterday’s solution. In 1960 Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring and gave birth to the environmental movement. DDT, a powerful pesticide, was banned to prevent further contamination of the earth and now we have bed bugs from New York to Cincinnati and west.
Please understand that I am not advocating for the return of DDT although I am curious why someone hasn’t come up with something to control bedbugs, malaria and typhoid. What I am suggesting is that we can solve a problem today and never know what we set in motion for tomorrow.
Solution or decisions that seem right at the time, may not always yield stellar outcomes because your decisions are separate from the outcomes.
You cannot possibly control all the variables impacting future outcomes but you can ensure the best decision available.
Here are some considerations that may help you make better decisions:
- Are you asking the right questions?
- Is your perspective big enough?
- Have you assessed the risks and trade-offs?
- Do you have meaningful and reliable information?
- Do you have creative, realistic and attractive alternatives?
- Do you have a logical method of evaluating your alternatives?
- Have you involved key players in the decision from the beginning, building ownership and commitment along the way?
Rachel Carson probably did not foresee the current bed bug epidemic. Nor can you know all the ramifications of your decisions. Even with your best efforts most of tomorrow’s problems will still be rooted in today’s solutions.
So, do the best with what you have. Take your best shot. And as my grandmother used to tell me, a half-century ago, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
Here’s to your success,
Linda K Sommer, MBA