I’ve often used the phrase “Band Aid solution” to referrer to something as “temporary” or “simple minded”… In his book The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell makes a great point with:
“A critic looking at these tightly focused, targeted interventions might dismiss them as Band-Aid solutions. But that term should not be considered a term of disparagement. The Band-Aid is an inexpensive, convenient and remarkably versatile solution to an astonishing array of problems. In their history, Band-Aids have probably allowed millions of people to keep working or playing tennis or cooking or walking when they would otherwise have had to stop. The Band-Aid solution is actually the best kind of solution because it involves solving a problem with the minimum amount of effort and time and cost. We have, of course, an instinctive disdain for this kind of solution because there is something in all of us that feels that true answers have to be comprehensive. There are times when we need a convenient shortcut, a way to make a lot out of a little, and that is what Tipping Points, in the end, are all about.”
So many solutions to our problems are right in front of us, and they are often not nearly as complicated or as expensive, as we feared. They were taught to us in a training class, or shared with us over a luncheon, or brought to us by a mentor or a peer. The solutions are often the easy part of problem solving, brought to us by employees, vendors, managers, trainers, and one another… Implementation, consistent execution, and accountability are the far more difficult and time consuming elements of problem solving.
Instead, our human nature infuses us with complacency or fear of change, or worse, BOTH. So we see business stick with worn out ideas because “it’s worked for us before.” Engaged a different mindset. Find people that have solved the problem you are facing, and then implement even small steps towards the same solutions. Build on those small steps toward consistent execution. Finally, add an accountability piece for each step in the process, including measuring and reporting results.
Band Aids are all around you. Sometimes you just have to ask for one.