Solving Problems With Integrity

Posted on 26 November 2020

“Everyone has problems, everyone suffers to varying degrees at different degrees. The only way out is objectivity”—Buddhist teaching

Problems are everywhere. Pick up a newspaper, turn on the TV, talk to your neighbor or phone a friend and you’ll find more.

The weather is a problem: it’s too hot or too cold. Age is a problem: people think you’re too young or too old or aging too quickly. Today especially, money is a problem: people don’t have enough or have lost most of what they had. Relationships are a problem: either someone has a relationship that causes them pain, or they want a change, or they don’t have a relationship and want one. Jobs are an endless source of problems. So is not having a job or losing the one you had.

The whole world is full of problems. Everyone, everywhere is talking about problems all the time.

What have problems to do with integrity?

Problems are universal. They occurred in every civilization throughout history and they will continue to do so into the future. They embrace every race, every religion, every age, and both sexes regardless of fame, fortune or power. Every person who has walked the face of the earth has had problems.

Problems even seem to have a life of their own. You can grow any problem to any size and shape you want. Many people carry the same problem around for years, allowing it to influence their present and their future. Problems are the bane of human existence, yet we all get through them, one way or the other.

Solving a problem the right way is all about integrity

The problem is not what to do about your problems, it’s the choice whether to see them as a curse or a blessing. The curse is that there are problems and they cause you time, effort and sometimes pain to solve; the blessing is problems have solutions. Life’s journey has a great deal to so with finding the solutions that manifest the consequences you need.

Without problems, no one would grow or prosper. Problems offer us mental, physical and social challenges that shape our character and our destiny. Problems are at the heart of all progress—material, cultural,
metaphysical and physical.

Integrity is wholeness, consistency and objectivity. Integrity is doing the right thing, doing the next right thing and doing things right.

Can you think of a better way to solve your problems than that?

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This post was written by:

Douglas Ross - who has written 9 posts on Slow Leadership.

Douglas Ross is a Canadian who lives in Augusta, Georgia and also the President of Principle Dynamics, a Georgia based firm that provides performance improvement systems for small and medium size businesses. Doug is a speaker and a writer about Results through Integrity, an integrated systems approach to performance that was created through his experiences in world’s most globally competitive industries. He also writes about integrity in personal/professional life at

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. CK says:

    I had a manager that when there was a problem (with a person or a person complained) he would go to the supervisor and tell him/her to “get rid of the problem.” To this day after the Manager (quickly resigned for harrassment) the attitude is to “get rid of the problem” - that is why we have a revolving door for employees and contractors!

  2. Douglas Ross says:

    The “problem” is that many organizational cultures see the need to get rid of the problem instead of solving it. In this line of thinking, it takes time to solve the problem and time is of an essence. Unfortunately the problems will not go away simply because we get rid of them—they stay around and nag us until we either leave (the revolving door) or they overwhelm us. Either way , is easier in the long run to solve the right problem the right way and eliminate it forever.

  3. Martin Wildam says:

    Managers either often do not accept the existence of problems. I got told and experienced cases where Managers “simply” denied existence of problems and risks.

    I can understand that Managers have to move further the business being the “driver of the vehicle”. But often they step on the gas (fearing to not survive the competition maybe in some Darwin like view of the economy world) and forget about the brakes. Maybe Managers often “drive to fast”.

    BTW: I see a double meaning in your post (title): Problems must also be solved keeping integrity or in other words - solution attempts can only be efficient if they integrate well with the other environment.

  4. CK says:

    Doug -

    I fully agree that proper problem management takes time! The issue is that poor management (and leadership) Doesn’t wan t to take the time. They rather sweep it under the rug and hope no one is looking!

  5. The_Pete says:

    I had a leader, in my last organization, who increasingly destroyed trust over time. In the end, before my departure, my leader found it difficult to get people to help him “fix problems” in the organization. Personal integrity is one thing. Organizational integrity is quite another.

  6. Ryan says:

    I’ve found that the notion of continually trying to “get rid of problems”, not only doesn’t solve anything, but eventually leads to a culture of “working around problems”. This is because staff then know that the problems that can’t be gotten rid of won’t be solved either. The only way they can get by is to work around the problems.

    I think that the reason there is so much poor leadership / management out there (in spite of the volume of written work and training) is that it comes down to a couple of key skills that are in very short supply (as this article points to):
    - Clear understanding of what is really going on (unclouded by human failings)
    - The resolve to do what is clearly necessary (ie. solve the problems)

    As a side-note, I’ve very much enjoyed this blog since it started and I feel that it helps give me the clarity and resolve that I need.

  7. Carmine Coyote says:

    @Ryan: Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you enjoy the articles here. Keep reading, my friend.

  8. CK says:

    @Ryan - I can understand what you mean by “working around problems” culture rather than facing the issue in the first place. But that doesn’t happen! “The problem” is usually dealing with people! And what happens by “working around problems” is that it usually means running OVER people rather than around them.

    Despite some of the changes in my office (people resigning, fired, transfered and demoted), the cancer spreads! When I was in that department I had 6 Supervisors through that time; the cancer started 3 supervisors ago and is still growing!

    I am no longer in that department (they are showing me the door—I know that for sure). The current Supervisor I know from another location. He is thoughtful and fair. What I have recently heard from a friend in my old department is that there are some people that he supervises that disrespect him and that they like the supervisor before him. The supervisor before him didn’t know what he read from a hole in the ground!!! That supervisor was not only a ‘clique’ member but is dumb as a rock and even COST me money that was due me (about $1,800!).

    I also know who is head of this current disrespect of the current supervisor—he thinks he is in charge. He also thinks he is management material. But here is the kicker! This person is an administrative assistant! He is not much than a secretary with an ego. He had divided the team once before to those who testified in favored the then demoted supervisor and those who didn’t during an internal investigation of employee abuse by our supervisor. This assistant was seen frequently with the disposed supervisor during the investigation with her telling him what to do and not to do during the investigation and then after.

    I had dubbed him the nick-name (not to anyone’s face) as ‘weasel.’ He also thinks he’s hot looking considering that he has the head of Mr. Burns with the body of Homer! And yes, he LOVES donuts—BIG time! Lots of donuts, every day!

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