What’s the problem with a quick-fix?


Quick-fixes are appealing. Who wouldn’t want their problem to go away quickly?

But, the problem with quick-fixes is that they only address the symptoms not the source of the problems.

So, the impact of a quick-fix is very, very, short-lived. And once the effects wear off, the problem returns, bigger and badder than before.

But, quick-fixes still sell.

I saw a TV commercial for an over-the-counter painkiller. It featured a heavy-set guy moving furniture. He was pushing 300 lbs and lifting a piano. His knees hurt. The solution? Take the pain killer.

Not a bad idea for a quick-fix.

But, it completely ignores the strain the extra weight puts on his knees or the possibility of changing jobs.

Neither of these are problems that a pain killer can solve. In fact, using a pain killer misses the mark completely.

Because, the pain isn’t even a problem.

It’s a signal. It’s communication that needs to be heard, understood, and responded to.

Where are your organization’s “knees” are hurting?

Where is performance or customer satisfaction taking a hit? It’s very seductive to look for immediate ways to eliminate symptoms. To take a quick-fix painkiller. But, this always drives the real problems deeper into the system.

The habits of thought and action that really need to be addressed for a sustainable change – are never touched by the quick-fix.

Questions for reflection & action:

  • Where are you/others relying on a quick-fix solution?
  • What underlying problem is being overlooked?
  • How can you begin to shift attention away from the quick-fix in order to address the real issues?
  • Who can you talk to about the long-term cost and damage of the quick-fix approach?

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Categories Leadership · Learning · teamwork

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 The truth about yoga! ~ Heidi Chadwick | elephant journal // Mar 10, 2012 at 4:49 am

    […] of you looking for a quick fix, and an instant cure all, all in less than a few hours’ worth of mat time had better search […]

  • 2 D.O.T.K // May 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Thank you this helped me with an essay for my english class!

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