Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Got a Problem? Sweet!

“When you approach a problem, strip yourself of preconceived opinions and prejudice, assemble and learn the facts of the situation, make the decision which seems to you to be the most honest, and then stick to it.”

~Chester Bowles.

“Pretty simple really,” I hear you say sarcastically. Okay, I was having the same thought! Notwithstanding, the theory in the above quote is chock-a-block with decision-making wisdom; the practicalities of implementation, on the other hand, are sure to have us thinking again.

Okay, so let’s break this down:

1. Stripping Ourselves of Subjectivity – Becoming Objective

This is perhaps our hardest problem. We can’t help it—it seems—to have our biases. But, awareness is the thing that will redeem us from this lowly relational position. Awareness will give us the step-by-step tools of accountability so far as honesty is concerned.

Making ourselves see the truth regarding our factless opinions and biases is the effective starting point.

The truth is the necessary building block to the next issue: getting to the facts—what we can actually work with; that which won’t crumble between our fingers like opinions and innuendo will.

2. Assembling and Learning the Facts

Fact-finding is something many people do routinely in their vocations; it’s the job of doctors, police, teachers, tradespeople and scientists etc., to establish the factual context and then deliberate on approaches from there.

Thinking about your job role there’s bound to be skills in ‘truth acquisition’ needed for you to succeed. See, you already have the skills.

We have the skills, so we just need the right motive and techniques to employ. We must simply ‘catalogue’ the facts. Pen and paper, whilst they’re old-fashioned, often do the best job.

3. Make the ‘Most Honest’ Decision

Honesty requires us to be emotionless and personally ruthless—these form as our allies.

The ‘most honest’ decision is still the one that we might not want to make—to choose the most honest option. But, we deny the truth we invested in the foregoing steps if we cave-in to a whim of poor judgment now.

4. Commit to the Decision Made

Notwithstanding times when we clearly do make the wrong choice and then have to reverse our actions and plans, we do clearly need to stick to our guns, getting committed to following through with the decisions that have now been well made—due the above, very solid process.

The entire process above is enshrined in honesty.

Behind honesty, of course, is integrity. Integrity in problem-solving and decision-making is integral to success.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.


  1. Agree with JoAnn - discernment, which comes from experience in making bad decisions. Then learning who to lean on, and go to. Having made many (truck loads) of bad decisions and choices in my life, this process is PRICELESS.

    I love the integrity usage here. Would have not thought of that to describe good decision making (making the right choice) process.

    Again, God is speaking through you Steve. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Shawn. As always you give thoroughly incisive thought back. God bless you.


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