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Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Problem, Dilemma or Mystery?

We've learned it's important to distinguish between a problem and a dilemma.

A problem has a beginning and end, invites many possible solutions and can be resolved. Those with the problem often have the answer. A dilemma is an ongoing paradox that needs a strategy. It acknowledges a polar tension between two opposing yet important criteria. Those with dilemmas need to align around ways to meet dual, never-ending needs such as improve quality/reduce cost, enhance safety/maximize speed or increase productivity/minimize stress.

However, what about mystery? In reading The Boss column from The NY Times Business Section, the Executive Director of WhyHunger shares a learning from the teachings of Gabriel Marcel, a French Philosopher. "There are problems and there is mystery. You can get your head around a problem eventually but you can't control a mystery. You can only live it."

Consider your current challenges. Which ones are problems to solve, dilemmas to strategize or mysteries to experience?

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