Big structural problems require long solutions

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Big structural problems at work cannot be solved with bolt-on solutions. What does that mean?

Let’s look at the problem of finding and retaining superstar talent. Right now we have a big structural problem in the job market that has caught employers flat-footed. There are more jobs open than people available to fill those jobs. We are essentially at full employment.

This problem, because of its size and complexity, simply cannot be solved with bolt-on solutions. Bolt-on solutions like placing your ad in multiple newspapers instead of just one. Bolt-on solutions like hiring recruiting specialists to outsource the problem to. There are others.

Instead, these kinds of big, structural problems require completely different thinking to effectively solve. We have to fundamentally change how we go about attracting and retaining talent. Turbocharging old tactics and buying a ping pong table won’t do it.

Unfortunately, the problem with my suggestion is that these solutions will take a longer time to bear fruit. Big problems require long solutions.

Is it possible to attract and retain the best within our organization’s constraints? Of course! But, it will require that we purposefully change how we think and act.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on July 24, 2019

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