Disarming the Silver Bullet in 2010

January 24, 2010

By Michael B. Tatham, President, The Tatham Group

We are ending the month of January.  Quick poll – how many people have been able to stick with their New Year’s resolutions?  Have you had more success this year than all the years in the past?  If not, and you wish never to have to make them again, then go back and read Fulfilling The New Year’s Resolutions – Starting Yesterday.

If you’ve been following allow with me so far, I know what you are thinking:  All that work and all you have is a stake in the ground?  Don’t get too discouraged.  I’ll forewarn you now that you are not going to solve everything in 2010.  “The secret to the many is the solution to the one.”  This is a saying that my father has used quite a lot over the years and he is right.  If you can figure out the solution for one problem, chances are you will learn enough to help with other issues.

Warning: This doesn’t mean apply the same solutions to various problems but rather apply the same method for problem solving to all.  Most importantly, learning from experimenting and prototyping.  We have had many clients over the years that, against our recommendations, have implemented a cookie cutter solution to various corporate issues and it has repeatedly backfired.  To prevent the same level of frustration…

Step 2


It is now time to narrow down your list to just one issue. The key to building momentum for change is to focus on the issue that is most important to you or will have the greatest impact on your quality of life.  However, if you cannot make up your mind just pick one.  We’ll get to all of them eventually.  I decided to select health/fitness.   More specifically, I wanted to figure out my diet. My mandate to myself was to eat a healthy diet of the right portions in order to maintain a healthy weight exclusive of exercise done.

Determining what type of issue you have

Where people generally struggle is categorizing their issues.  There are four high level categories to consider: Quality, Delivery, Value and Responsiveness.  The majority of my issues fell under quality and delivery. In my case, as with most people, quality is the most important category and should be where you start.  The things going wrong for my diet were: wrong quantities of food, poor taste, low nutritional value, lack of variety.

Resist the urge to seek a silver bullet

At this point you may be thinking, “That’s easy. I’ll just get a nutritionist to make me a meal plan and I’m done.”  The easy way is to delegate or outsource your problem for someone else to solve for you.  We are back to implementing the silver bullet solution that will NOT be sustainable!  Do a quick calculation now on how much money you have spent on these types of solutions (experts, books, videos, etc) for the same problems.  Not pretty, was it?

Instead of taking the easy route let’s continue to go through this issue systematically.  Categorize your issues now and then choose one to focus on.  Make your list of things gone wrong in that category and wait for the next step.  It is the most tedious but very necessary.