January 24, 2022

It wasn’t me… honest!

ginger cat looking sheepish hiding its face in its paws

We all have the experience of applying a solution to a problem, and the problem gets worse.

The Germans even have a word for making something worse through an attempt to make things better: Schlimmbesserung

Maybe it’s something simple like trying to fix a drip in some paint that has already started to dry, or changing something on your computer which results in a dead PC and a trip to the IT people, or telling a friend or colleague something you thought they ‘needed to hear’, or worse.

With hindsight we look back and realise that we came up with a solution without properly understanding what was going on and what remedial action would actually work. Usually, it’s because we were reacting to the symptom, not the underlying problem.

And probably being a little impatient.

Next time, before acting, stop and ask yourself, ‘Am I just fixing a symptom, or will this address the underlying cause?’.

And of course, you now have a new word, Schlimmbesserung, to show off your erudition to your friends 🙂

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

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