Address the symptom or cure the disease?

Many problems have more than one answer.  Solutions (and the leaders trying to come up with them) would be infinitely more successful if focused on changing outcomes instead of addressing symptoms.

Examples:

  1. Post-secondary students in your community are perceived to be too rowdy on the weekend. Symptom Solution:  Meet with stakeholders after the last big negative headline and put together flyers suggesting the students party less while ramping up police presence.  Change-Focused Outcome: Make the students part of the community from the moment they arrive with a well-planned, well-funded orientation program that focuses on student awareness and meanginful engagement.
  2. The health care system is overtaxed resulting in greater wait times and growing dissatifaction with public health.  Symptom Solution:  Increase spending to make hospitals more efficient by improving emergency room procedures and overall wait times.  Change-Focused Outcome: Create programs and campaigns to help make the nation healthier so there are less people in need of hospital beds.
  3. Your community is home to a growing number of at-risk youth who disturb the peace and cause misdemeanour property damage.  Symptom Solution:  Increase spending on policing and penal infrastructure to "catch" and deal with this population when they become offenders.  Change-Focused Solution:  Increase awarness, support and spending on proactive engagement including library and community centre programming, mentorship, alternative education and social supports to create a productive generation of kids.

Proactive, positive outcomes are the best thing anyone can bring the table on any project.  They save time.  They save money. (And they reek of good leadership.)  Many vendors can address symptoms...you'll just have less resources for the next big project.  

Real partners help you change outcomes.