Orlando Massacre: How do we solve such complex problems?

Politics aside…. Religion aside…..Anger and Despair aside….

I woke up yesterday in complete and utter shock of the news, with a range of emotions growing as more details came in. And like most folks, I was glued to the television and social media. However after a while, and not very long, many opinions and diversions started rolling in on social media. As has become part of the normal dialogue with many things social media came the blame game, Monday morning quarterbacking, hindsight is 20/20, and negative trolls running rampant online.

Understandably people are seeking answers and resolve to such a devastating situation. Especially one that sparks fear in how we carry out everyday living. I recall when the Paris attack happened thinking about the next time I go to a concert ‘would I feel safe?’; which when you think about is the objective of terrorism… to insight fear.

This morning when I woke up, I continued to watch the news surrounding the events and the increasing debate about gun control, however the following thought came to mind. If this were a problem with one of my clients, how would I engage lean thinking and problem solving to such a complex situation. As you will see by the end of the blog, I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe balanced, logical, and structured problem solving is necessary to end this madness that seems to repeat itself roughly every 6 months. 

  1. What problem are we trying to solve? This is a simple question for this complex situation. However, it is the foundation and bases for which we need to respectfully remove emotions (my sincerest respect, well wishes and condolences to the witnesses, injured, deceased and their families), remove political, religious and other biases to get to the root cause of the issue. When we boil the ocean, I believe what we want to know is how one man could injure 53 people and kill 50 people in a span of three hours.
  2. When we evaluate the current condition, we find a number of possible process loopholes, and missed signals (leading indicators). That led me to initiate a fishbone diagram, which only includes my quick and random thoughts. I am certain with the right cross functional team, this could be a meaningful first step to uncovering many paths to explore. WIN_20160613_09_43_29_Pro
  3. What is the desired (target) condition? Hmm…I will refrain from implying that my desired condition matches that of everyone because this is where it becomes so difficult to separate our beliefs and perceptions. However, many would be okay with saying they would have preferred that people weren’t injured and killed in this massacre. Basically, that this massacre were prevented from happening.

I could go on with a five why analysis, researching and studying the existing processes within the local and state government that permit the sale of an AR-15 without a state permit or flag in surveillance given this rifle has become the weapon of choice for many, if not all of the mass shootings. I could evaluate the FBI process that permitted a person of interest to fall out of the surveillance protocol. I could evaluate the connection between his domestic violence nature coupled with the suspicions from 2013 and 2014. I could evaluate civil, state and federal law provisions that would allow someone to fall through the cracks. I could analyze the police hostage process that allowed three hours to pass. The list is a mile long.

I guess my point in all of this is that given the increasing frequency of these types of acts, when will our leaders at all levels put politics aside and just solve the problems in a logical and structured manner leveraging the resources and tools that drive open, honest and transparent conversation instead of agendas to get to the root cause.

Wake me when this nightmare ends.

Crystal Y. Davis is a leadership coach and business process improvement consultant, who helps organizations solve complex problems while developing strong leaders to sustain the solutions.

Follow me: @theleancoachinc @Crystal_Y_Davis

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