Aspirin for Aneurysms


Aspirin for aneurysms won’t help much. Poorly solved problems return and multiply when pain goes away.

The good thing about pain is it motivates our search for solutions. The bad thing about the absence of pain is wrongly thinking problems are solved when they aren’t.

Pain drives us toward inadequate solutions
when the goal is making pain stop.

The absence of pain doesn’t indicate the absence of problems.

Pain is bad when we:

  1. Focus on making pain stop.
  2. Solve surface issues.
  3. Neglect systemic issues.

Neglecting systemic issues creates cycles of failure – pain – surface solutions – failure …

Pain is good when we:

  1. Look for root causes.
  2. Avoid blame and seek solutions.
  3. Think long-term rather than quick fix.


Chronic pain-points call for system-solutions. More importantly, maximizing strengths and capitalizing on opportunities demands system thinking. Success calls for:

  1. Communication systems.
  2. Accountability systems.
  3. Transparency systems.
  4. Leadership development systems.
  5. Problem solving and conflict resolution systems.


Think of systems as:

  1. Repeated behaviors.
  2. Pre-determined behaviors designed for specific situations. You know what to do before it happens.
  3. Pathways to success.
  4. Confidence builders.
  5. Clarity creators.

The danger of systems is complexity and oppression. Systems, however, can be as simple as asking the same questions at the beginning of weekly team meetings. For example:

  1. What are this week’s greatest opportunities?
  2. How will we capitalize on our greatest opportunities?
  3. Who’s the champion of this opportunity?
  4. How do we know we’re winning?

Systems could be check lists or standard operating procedures (SOP’s).


The path toward exponential success is paved with systems. Without systems you’ll fall into the cycle of failure – pain – surface solutions.

More on the power of systems: “Thriving Through Processes.”

What systems have been most useful for you or your organization?

Where would systems be most helpful to you or your organization?

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