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Understanding context helps create solutions. Problems and opportunities have a way that they want to be solved.

Problems and opportunities can be allocated into several categories. Post holes and gravel piles are two of the more useful that describe ways to allocate resources.

A post hole opportunity is one that will not benefit from adding resources. There is an optimal tool and an optimal number of operators. The situation will be solved when that optimal solution has done what it does. Using a second auger will not make the hole appear sooner. It will likely mean the hole will never appear.

At the other end is the gravel pile problem. More resources will create a quicker solution. Another machine or more people with shovels will make shorter work of it.

Lacking patience is a serious blemish when faced with anything but a gravel pile problem. Some things have their own rhythm and time. You cannot wish that characteristic away.

Warren Buffett had a thought I noticed recently. It dealt with the idea that some things have their own program. His thought, “You cannot have a child a month from now by making nine women pregnant today.” I don’t think you can make the point better.

Plans become more fragile when we include time scales and sequences that are impossible. We cannot make things happen beyond their ability to happen. If you make your method fit the nature of the thing you are doing, it will have an automatic bias to succeed.

Being cautious is not always right either. Again an old idea. “You cannot cross a wide void by jumping half way twice.” Sometimes spectacular action must occur. Things on the edge of your ability. Things that could fail. Things that may not exist yet. These things are usually the first step. Maybe proof of concept. After that the more staid methods come into play.

Implementing is a special skill. A good implementer can help almost anything happen. People with big ideas sometimes fail to notice that the idea is worth nothing until it is operational. Many capable idea people are not good doers because they let the idea dominate. They lose track of the context and of the implementation

Implementers attach solutions in ways that are aimed at the nature of the situation. Fewer details. No-ego solutions work better because they ignore much of the trivia. Like whose idea is it?

Problem/opportunity and solution are connected. The solution set is not properly organized until the proposed action is in the context of its purpose. Knowing the situation and knowing how a solution fits it is as important, or maybe even more important, than knowing details of the solution itself.

It is never a waste of time to know more about what you are trying to achieve and how it “wants to be achieved.” Sometimes, understanding the question creates the answer.
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