In my current job we are working towards finding the balance between creating results that we can see in metrics and getting to the root of an issue so that longer term issues don’t come back around and cause us to run in circles. Anyone on our team, and anyone in general for that matter, will lean towards one side of this issue or another. At work I lean more towards the side of wanting to resolve root issues in hopes that I won’t have to go back and fix what was already “fixed”. On the other side of the issue is our team’s manager, he leans toward seeing results immediately and is very good at pulling metrics and motivating people so that results are shown. Now, I will say that there are times that, due to how we lean, we get into some more intense discussions about this issue. Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This can be good. Most teams make better decisions when we disagree…at first.
So, now the question. Which is right? Do we need immediate results, or do we delay readily seen results to get to the root of a situation. What about both? You see, here’s the trick. Andy Stanley stated that “there is a difference between a problem to solve and a tension to manage.” If something keeps coming back up in conversation, then it probably, in the end, isn’t a problem that needs solving, but rather a tension that needs managing. Also, during discussions about these said tensions, we need to understand which way we lean and why, so that we don’t end up siding with ourselves all of the time.
Thinking through this in regards to our mission as the church I started trying to make sense of the tension. In church world I think oppositely of how I do in a normal day. I like results. I’m not really sure why, except for maybe the difference of roles there. Do we think generationally and go for roots and changing cultures over a longer period of time, or do we go for immediate results to gain ground that will give us a better foothold into the culture that we are trying to reach? Again, I would submit that this is a tension that we must manage. We can’t reach and then change a culture without gaining a foothold and taking ground. While on the same note, we also can’t expect to make any lasting impact without addressing the core, heart issues, of our culture.
When you hear “problems” come up over and over again do you realize that it may not be a problem to solve, but rather a tension to manage? What are some of these? Which side do you lean towards? Do you always take “your” side or do you choose what’s best depending on the situation, even if it’s not where you have a proclivity to lean?