Obstacles or hurdles in life represent the many challenges, confrontations and battles that we normally experience on a daily basis, mainly as a result of changes taking place, and which often - to a greater or lesser extent - give rise to future shock. By implication, obstacles, normally are an integral part of any kind of change takinf place in our lives that tend to disrupt our present comfort zone, unsettle our umwelt and obstruct our .
Obstacles ain't categorized as either being easy or difficult, mainly because the level of difficulty is determine by the context of obstacle manifestation. Therefore, it makes much more sense to evaluate the strategy of addressing a in terms of possible resulting consequences as being effective or ineffective, rather than right or wrong. When…
- doing just enough to either confine or avoid a looming crises,
- following a collective accepted recipe/template process and “memorandum”, because everyone is doing it,
- spending time and energy convincingto solve the problems you are currently experiencing and/or
- doing nothing about it and hoping that it will somehow miraculously dissolve all by itself, in time to come.
The dynamics of obstacles can be indicated and briefly explained as follows…
A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and solved.
A perceived gap between the existing state and the desired state, or a deviation from a norm, standard or status quo.
Although many problems turn out to have several solutions , difficulties arise where such solutions are either not obvious or immediately available.
Issues are important topics (i.e. perceived problems) for a debate or discussions. Things such as…
- Collectively: racism, discrimination, selling drugs, human trafficking, abuse, …etc.
- Relations: mainly disagreements, differences of opinion, points of view, ideas and conflicts.
Issues are DACIP-method are still quite useful in this case, but the linear problem solving technique generally delivers limited successes… if any at all. Issues are best addressed by following the ADKAR-change model and associated techniques.have a medium to long term impact, difficult to predict and the result only becomes evident after a considerable amount of time has elapsed… often years, rather than months. Issues are mainly governed by disputed facts and characterized by extended gratification. The
3. Wicked Challenges
Wicked challenges are a multifaceted that are hard and extremely difficult to define, let alone solve. Identification, definition or description (i.e. the hurdle statement) depends on perspectives, ideas and views held regarding the hurdle experienced, which - more often than not - result in stuckness. Therefore… they’re called wicked not because they are evil or fundamentally bad, but because they are resistant to one-size-fits-all resolutions.
For example… Let's assume - for the moment - that actualizing the potential of individuals is limited, curbed or prevented.
- When regarded as an educational hurdle, strategies to address the problem will focus on establishing more and a greater variety of educational, training and learning opportunities.
- If seen from a financial point of view, problem-solution strategies would concentrate on financial assistance such as bursaries and loans.
- When perceived as a social fairness problem, strategies to address it will most likely focus on laws, rules, regulations and controlling or directive mechanisms.
- If identified as an economic problem, efforts will most probably concentrate on expanding employment opportunities and work creation programs.
- From a disability perspective, solutions would deal with aspects such as identifying and creating sheltered workplaces.
- When seen as originating from personal/emotional issues, various psychology, facilitation, orientation and coaching techniques, processes and procedures will most likely be at the centre of solution strategies.
Wicked challenges areas a result of many interdependent variables and plenty of constraints. Thus, there are many opinions and plenty of ideas as to what the actual problem and real issue are.
Therefore, wicked challenges cannot be solved by traditional and generally accepted problems solving methods (i.e. in a linear manner). To really address and initiate solution strategies for wicked challenges - that often piggy back on future shock - require the implementation of and more “messy” human skills such as imagination, humility, bravery, compassion, creativity…
A classic career path example to illustrate the crippling impact of wicked challenges…
When in matric, one needs to apply for a varsity course, complete a quick assessment process to determine what it should be (force solution). First-year enrolled for course… what can one do with it. I have this qualification, where can I find a job. Then there are the mid-life crises, so much to offer but nobody is interested. Humanoids (android application in a human body) that are skilled to expensively do what the technology can accomplish much better, more dedicated (24/7) and a whole lot cheaper.
What does following an authentic collaborative strategy imply? What does it mean to leverage collective skills and work together? It is based on the open and honest sharing of knowledge and experiences, which due to wicked challenges and social/political complexity, frequently goes belly-up, because people refuse to share, manipulate or force egotistical outcomes and refuse productive dialogue and debates. The aim - as a matter of fact - is to share an understanding of the problem (i.e. establish a common strata) among all present and possible future steak holders, which translate - more often than not - into a shared commitment and action (i.e. owning the problem, yet another bandwagon term, freely scattered all over, just to be part of the enlightened group as well.) Effective and productive collaboration is to establish a shared understanding, which is the precursor to shared commitment.
Wicked challenge characteristics…
- Difficulty to clearly define and cannot be exhaustively formulated, there is no definite formulation of a wicked problem
- Every formulation is a possible statement of a solution
- Many interdependencies and often multi-causal
- Attempt to address the problem often lead to unforeseen consequences
- Frequently not stable
- Usually no clear solution
- Socially complex. The problem affects real people, so one cannot conduct experiments to see what works without having tangible effects on people's lives.
- Rarely is the responsibility of one stakeholder
- Solutions involve changing behaviour, which frequently translates into a great resistance to change.
- Can be characterized by chronic policy failure
- There is no stopping rule, just evolving
- No true or false and right or wrong solutions, only more or less effective solutions.
- No exhaustive list of operations and comprehensive list of possible solutions.
- Many explanations for the same problem
- Every problem symptom of another problem. In itself, it is a symptom of other problems. Incremental solutions run the risk of not addressing the underlying problem.
- No immediate or ultimate test of whether a solution will work or has worked
- One-shot solutions, every solution is a “one-shot” operation, there is no gradual learning by trial-and-error because every intervention irreversibly changes the problem.
- Every problem is essentially unique. so it's hard to learn from previous problems because they were different in significant ways.
- Problem solver has no right to be wrong
- No comprehensive list of possible solutions, merely probabilities and likely outcomes or results. Solutions in themselves are just a guide to tackle the next step.
- There is a choice in how we view/see the problem, but how we perceive the problem, determines which type of solution we will try or apply.
- Because there is no single definition of the problem, there are multiple value conflicts wrapped up in dealing with and addressing problems.
- There are also multiple ideological, political or economic constraints on possible solutions.
- With social messes, in addition to the complexity of the problem itself, data to describe the problem are often uncertain or missing. It may be difficult actually to collect the relevant information. There is no expert with an answer.
- Because of the complexity of the problem, there are multiple intervention points, some more productive than others.
- Consequences of any particular intervention are difficult to image and/or predict accurately.
Problems that are ignored, neglected, avoided and not addressed or confronted, normally - as time goes by - give rise to some relationship and interaction issues. These issues, when not paying attention to them, gradually evolve into wicked challenges that are often referred to by most people as “it's complicated”. Nothing is complicated, wicked challenges that are regarded as complicated, merely are a combination of ignored problems and neglected issues that give rise to circumstances, events and situations out of control. Not because there is nothing that can be done about it, but because we don't have the foggiest idea where to start or what to do and we wish to also sustain our current comfort zone at all cost. The comfort zones of the others involved must be disrupted, but not mine. The key reason why we frequently play the blaming game.