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Persistence vs Reframing

Thomas Edison, 1878
Image via Wikipedia

I was thinking about  the tension that I see between persistence and reframing. A lot of our formal management and leadership education suggests that we should continue to work our way through and around obstacles along the way in order to get to our objectives. Traditional problem-solving tells us that the path is not always going to be easy and so we developed this willingness to persist in the face of opposition.

In my opinion, this strength of persistence that we can learn can actually get in the way of reframing a problem because we want to try to find new or better ways to solve the previously defined problem rather than stepping back and changing the nature of the game.

For example, we hear all the time about Thomas Edison‘s motto that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. If that is really true then what is our guide to determine how much persistence should be applied before we consider reframing.

In some models of action, for example, reframing occurs almost immediately and continuously. That’s not always easy to do when you’re trying to create and then maintain organizational momentum on an agreed-upon problem.

We are struggling with this in the Army to determine exactly when we need more energy in the traditional avenue versus a complete reframing of the environment and the problem itself

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