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“Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.”

“Next time figure out what’s wrong before running it up the flag pole.”

“When you identify a problem and bring me a solution, even if it’s a poor solution, it shows a level of effort.”

“It’s easy to identify problems and look to others to solve for you.  That’s called whining.”

— Variations on a theme found during a Google search…


You with all that?

I’m not with all that.

And I’ll tell you straightaway why not — when you make awareness of a problem conditional on having the solution for that problem, you are only driving problems away from awareness.

And that’s a way bigger problem.  You with that?

Look, I’m all for initiative and personal responsibility.  But, quite often, solving problems require a whole lot more than initiative and personal responsibility…

Like when there are a lot of moving parts.  Like when there needs to be research, and data, to really see the patterns and understand the interdependence among the parts.  Like when diagnosing what’s going on requires collaboration and involves discussion.

Of course, not all problems are complex.  There are problems that really do only require initiative to address.

And, yes, there are people who are lazy, without initiative, who would rather whine than think.  Who would rather complain than explain.  Who would rather diss than fix.

So, like most everything, this isn’t black or white and always or never.

But the risk/reward is not equal.  The upside of the don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions approach is not worth the downside of reduced visibility to problems, is it?

Think about how hard it might be for people to communicate problems without solutions when they fear that you might consider that whining …

And then when you consider how this all can translate into a keep your head down in the foxhole, don’t say anything at all culture …

No whining no problem ends up being a real problem.

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