The Perfect Solution

We are all looking for the perfect solution. The quick, easy and (usually) cheap way to solve our problems.

  • The 8-step change process
  • The 15-minute balanced meal
  • The 2-month miracle cure to lose weight

We want it, we are told it is available, and we are ready to pay for this great solution.

And we want to believe it is going to work, but deep down there remains this nagging doubt.


Is it too good to be true?

And we keep looking for this clear, simple and easy solution but… G. Box said it best…

For every complex problem there is a solution that is clear, simple … and wrong!

And most of the time, when it DOES look to good to be true… it is not true!

But I want this recipe for success!




NOW !!

I have written previously about the metaphor between management and cooking. 

We all buy cookbooks and fail to reproduce the superb meal represented at the beginning of each recipe. Similarly we all buy and hungrily read those great management books describing amazing success stories … somewhere else. And we fail to implement those “recipes.”

But, but, it did work over there! 

  • We must be doing something wrong!
  • Our people are not as good as theirs
  • Our management team is not engaged…

You name it, you’ve got it!

Henry ford said it best…Whatever you believe, whether you are wrong or right, you are right!

If you believe that :

  • your people are NOT like these described in this New York ties best-seller.
  • your management team is NOT as engaged as theirs
  • and, most importantly, their solution is NOT yours.

You are right !

All these books describe specific situations during a very circumscribed period with a defined number of individuals … some of whom left the boat while it was trying not to sink.

In those great books there is almost nothing related to YOUR situation, your team, your circumstances or your market.

Ah … and they also demonstrated the real trick to get their solution … keep reading to discover the big secret…

You were right!

Your organization is not like theirs!

They succeeded on their own terms, not yours. With their team, not yours.

I was discussing these preoccupations of most of my clients with a good friend. Jon Husband is a social architect. He worked for more than a decade in a global HR consulting firm doing typical HR stuff [performance evaluation, job description, etc.] and ended up being deeply disillusioned with those processes that emerged from a mechanistic view of human organization. Ah yes, he is also the creator of the neologism “wirearchy.”


When I saw his original slide, reproduced here, I bitterly cried my heart out. Well, this was also partly due to the fact that the humongous LED display was so bright and I was sitting in the first row… but you get my gist … this had a profound impact on me




Wirearchy: “a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.”

wirearchyIn a discussion with Jon and Mark Britz, I mentioned that the notion of wirearchy [connected people and knowledge underpinned by trust] has existed since the beginning of communication between groups of humans. Technology being whatever is there at the time! Papyrus was a technology, writing is a technology, the telegraph, the telephone, and, of course, the internet … whatever means are necessary for this dynamic two-way communication.

The word wirearchy is fairly new [around 2000] but the concept is not!

Wirearchy is a concept and a context, not a recipe.

You do not implement wirearchy

Wirearchy is not a solution—it is a result and a status to be sought after and sustained.

So WHAT is a solution?

During our discussion Jon, knowing my background in molecular biology, defied me with my definition of a “solution.”

A “solution” in chemistry is a solute dissolved in a solvent. For the solution to exist you need to “dissolve” the solute. A simple metaphor is available with a cube of sugar. For a sweet solution (pun intended), and the purpose of the cube of sugar (to sweeten) to exist, the cube has to dissolve or, to continue with the metaphor … to disappear. The original structure has to be transformed from a solid crystalline form to a dissolved form, freely floating in a random fashion in the solvent.

SUGAR in water


This is a powerful metaphor for several reasons.

First about the solid structure of the sugar cube. Take any solid and dissolve it in a compatible solvent. The original solid structure will disappear but not the individual molecules or atoms. Each particle will be surrounded by the solvent molecules. The properties of the solution will change thanks to the addition of the newly dissolved particles. For example, water becomes charged when salt is dissolved and electricity will flow more easily. It will also boil at a higher temperature and freeze at a lower temperature (ever wondered why calcium salt was used on our roads, apart from generating this white film on your car…).

A solution has different properties than those of the pure original solvent!

A solution is not static!

Everything moves randomly. This creates life in a cell! All the cellular metabolites freely interact with one another to create the reactions of life. Enzymes and other proteins speed up processes by bringing some molecules closer to some other to allow the reactions to occur. Some other factors are used to control those reactions, to inhibit some and to accelerate others. Receptors will interact with extracellular metabolites on the cell membrane to allow interactions between the “outside” and the “inside.”

Everything moves! Life is movement!

life is movement


Whenever a solution stops moving the solute particles will coalesce and go back to a crystalline form. Particles in a solution might coalesce when the temperature goes down. In that case, for the solution to exist anew we must heat it up [in effect, energize it—just like people often need to be energized]

Sometime different particles will interact with each other and form a composite that is not soluble with anything [anyone] in the solvent under the existing conditions. We then need to add other substances to dissolve it back [or to resolve it] or remove the cause of the aggregation or transformation.

To create a solution you basically have to dissolve something. Something has got to disappear for the solution to emerge.

In some cases, all the ingredients are already in place but the solution needs to be heated up a bit [or a lot!] for the ingredients to go back in the solution.

In some other cases, some ingredients contaminated the original solution and formed a precipitate that need to be taken care of by filtering, distilling or precipitating out the contamination.

When Jon Husband challenged me with this « solution »metaphor, I stopped talking for a minute and all those images came to me in a rush!

My clients and yours [or YOU] want a “solution” to their problems and challenges.

Do you understand that your solution might already be in place? 

Do you understand that the ingredients for the solution are probably already present but dormant in your organization?

Are you ready to dissolve some current practices and structures for your “solution” to emerge?

Are you ready to rekindle the flames to dissolve the crystals of the old structure back in the solution?

Are you ready to filter out the contaminants ?  Or use positive contaminants?

Imagine… YOUR own UNIQUE solution … not the one you read about in business books… THAT is the big secret: using resources that are already available in your organization, using their insights, expertise and experiences to develop and co-create the perfect solution!

These amazing solutions that are described in business books are

  • A source of inspiration, 
  • A guide to provoke your own reflection
  • A proof that something CAN be done 

But NOT a recipe for your success…

Are you ready for the perfect “solution?”


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Title Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Sugar in water photos by Nicolas J Leclercq and by manu schwendener on Unsplash