Probably one of the most talked about cultural phenomena happening in the technical world is the growing and insatiable need for instant fixes.  We have instant messaging, instant information off the internet, and instant news flashes.  We watch crimes solved in less than an hour on television and relationships grow from dislike to love in an hour and half at the nearest theater.  We purchase instant meals at fast food restaurants and from the nearest supermarket’s frozen and dry box sections.  Commercials tell us we absolutely need that new car, new house, or new dishwasher – not tomorrow but today.  Don’t worry, you have instant credit.

What’s the outcome?  Credit card debt is at an all time high.  Lending institutions needing immediate government help in covering sub-prime loans.  Societies demand instant fixes to the political, economic, environment issues, and health care.  Well, it ain’t gonna happen.

Train tracks_resizeThe real issue isn’t so much wanting instant fixes, but assuming that it is “normal.”  It took years to get the economy where it is and will take years to get back on track.  Our immediate question shouldn’t be when but which track?

For many diverse nations, a unified consensus in society cannot be achieved quickly.  In fact, it may take years of difficulty and negotiation.  However, organizations don’t have years.  They need team accord and alignment quickly or they go out of business.  Yet, even alignment can’t happen overnight.  It takes time to define the where they want to be.

Aristotle is credited for stating something such as, “The way to achieve success is first to have a definite, clear, practical ideal–a goal, an objective.  Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends–wisdom, money, materials, and methods.  Third, “adjust all your means to that end.”

In other words, if you want to success you better know where you are going.  You may not have months to evaluate an organizational goal but take time to get it clear, write it down, and asses it as thoroughly as you can. Really think strategically in this process.  When you are clear about your goal, you will know what you need, how to get it, and how to convey it.  When people in the organization understand the goal, it will be easier for the participants to become invested in the goal and will naturally adjust their means to achieve the goal.

Too often, instant fixes are not thought out.  They leave people confused about the intentions of the fix.  If people of an organization are unclear about their ultimate goal, they flounder, looking for purpose.  Without direction they create goals that are not in alignment, ultimately creating chaos.

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Martha Rice

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