No Such Things As a Quick Fix

April 25, 2016       The NonProfit Times      

When anything goes wrong, anywhere, the strongest tendency is usually toward placing blame.

 

There is another strong tendency, however, and that is to institute a quick fix. “There, that’s solved and we’re all set.”

 

However, in his book “Systems Thinking for Social Change,” David Peter Stroh recommends taking a longer-range view of the situation, aiming for a more fundamental solution. Quick fixes, as appealing as they are, have the following drawbacks, according to Stroh:

 

* In shifting the burden people generally know what the more fundamental solution is, but they cannot generate the motivation and investments required to implement it.

 

* In the short term the success of the quick fix, creates temporary improvement in the system, which in turn undermines people’s motivation to implement the more fundamental solution.

 

* In the long run, the quick fix produces unintended consequences that actually undermine people’s ability to implement the fundamental solution even if they want to. One common way in which this ability is reduced is that the quick fix consumes resources that otherwise would be available to solve the problem more permanently.

 

* As a result, people come to rely on the quick fix more and more over time and invest less time in a core solution. Despite their better judgment, people become addicted to the quick fix.