A couple of months ago, SolarWinds held their 4th ThwackCamp – a completely free, completely online conference. In the keynote, Head Geek Patrick Hubbard spoke to an interesting dichotomy in the life of an IT Professional.
“(In IT) we’re always fixing things. […] but fixing just eventually wears us down. So stop fixing things, and start to solve things.”
More than just semantics, Patrick highlighted both a mindset and an action plan. Fixing things is merely the act of making the problem go away. Maybe permanently, but that’s not part of the job. It’s just to make the pain/alarm/complaining stop.
Solving things goes deeper. It speaks to the root of the problem and to a willingness to address both the symptoms and the core cause of the issue. Solving means changing architectural or organizational issues. Solving means building a better system based on everything we’re learned from the old one. Solving means playing a long game.
If you are sitting in the hot sun, fixing the problem means dumping some water over your head. Solving the problem means planing a tree for shade.
Over the last month, many of my daily thoughts have spoken to action. What do we intend, plan, hope, or pray to do. What do we believe? How will we start (or end)?
Today I want to suggest that DO-ing is the same as FIX-ing. It’s a good start, but it’s not the whole story.
Beyond asking ourselves what we’re going to DO, we should think deeply and seriously about what we are going to CREATE.
The question is not about having the ability, or intention, or permission to create. You already have those. The question is what you are creating right now, what you will create tomorrow.
So as we look ahead to the coming year, don’t settle for just fixing things. Look at ways you can start SOLVING them. And don’t just get caught up in what you are going to DO.
Decide what you are going to CREATE.