A consultant once described paying for college like creating swiss cheese out of a solid block of cheese — you take one piece at a time: a scholarship here, campus employment there, a loan, a grant, etc. — until the block is full of holes and is manageable.

I think about this analogy when it comes to hard issues.  A prudent path would be to direct your attention to breaking down the big block, tackling it piece by piece.  Alas, this involves hard work where the results are not evident for a long period of time.  

So instead, people often spend their energy on smaller problems, pecking away at issues that aren’t moving the organization toward a solution or “conquering” of the big problem.  The attention is diverted to items with a short term payoff, but they are devoid of the long term gains that could come if the hard stuff was truly addressed.

Hard issues are hard.  If it’s easy to fix, there is probably an underlying message in that.

— beth triplett

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