Building Relationships: Active Participation in Problem Solving.

For those of us that spend a majority of our day seeking solutions to problems and managing others that do the same, we recognize the importance of sharing thoughts and ideas amongst each other.   This simple activity offers opportunities for solutions that are greater than the sum of the contributions.

There are a couple concepts that are counterintuitive to me.  One, the best solutions are born out of a single individual and their drafting board.   This tends to produce static, short sighted solutions.  Two, the “best” solution is the “perfect” solution.    After all, our very existence is grounded in a human brokenness we all share.  How can we, as good as we are, ever expect that our solutions will not be inadequate on some level?  So I find that our search for the answer, is more akin to a search for an answer that is far exceeds the adequate.  

Consequently, I believe we should pursue dynamic solutions that engages as many stake holders in the process in a managed and shared way.   Managing and directing conversation is critical, so that purpose is not lost in chaos.   Sharing is critical for mutually understanding each interest.  Being active and present in the problem solving process assures that your interests have voice.    Of course, it is well known that the success we have at truly understanding each other is limited to our ability articulate and listen.    On any given day, both of these can be a challenge for any of us.  Accordingly, each participant needs to be intentional about listening and responded intending to understanding.  Each participant needs to be clear, direct, and authentic about their interests.

For me personally, I find participating in this process the most fulfilling, yet exhausting, part of my professional existence.   Just as, or more so, it is the very participation in problem solving that I hope to better understand others for more than their interests, but for who they are personally.   This includes both their gifts and their brokenness.   Likewise, I trust others will get to know me for something other than another architect and small business owner.

After all, we are in the business of building relationships.  Not just building bridges between special interests and solving technical problems.