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Leadership Week Discussion on Problem Solving

To kick off Leadership Week here in Lander, we asked our number one (and only) guy in the Leadership Department, John Kanengieter, to lead an open discussion on group problem-solving. We discussed The Four Levels of Intervention, another way of looking at The Waterline Model.

John K. Leading Discussion on Problem Solving

We began the Leadership Week discussion in small groups talking about our own challenging experiences in which we have encountered adversity. During the dialogue that ensued around systemic problem solving, Johnny K emphasized the importance of the first level in the Waterline Model: roles, goals, and expectations.  

A senior instructor in the room insightfully reminded all participants that people are dynamic beings, thus roles, goals, and expectations are never static but forever changing. Yet, if appropriately and carefully analyzed, 70% of issues can be solved at the first level by reassessing and evaluating the clarity of roles, goals, and expectations as it relates to the conflict.

We, as humans, naturally want to point fingers and place blame, however, the problem usually resides in the first level and can be solved when roles, goals, and expectations are agreed upon. For more complex problem-solving, it is necessary to move down into the next three levels: group issues, interpersonal issues, and finally, intrapersonal issues. These levels require more time and attention, but shouldn’t be ignored based on that fact.

A high five to the participant who reminded us all that compassion is critical to the success of solving any problem.

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