Lessons from the New Orleans Rat Problem
I was listening to a news story on NPR a few months ago about a rat problem experienced by New Orleans residents after hurricane Katrina. The rat problem was so bad that it affected so many people both at home, at school and in work places. They tried to solve the problem by installing rat traps everywhere to kill and get rid of the rats but the problem did not go away. City officials then gathered together to think the problem through and finally came up with right the solution; get rid of the root of the problem.
New Orleans had become so dirty and filthy as an after effect of the flood and this became a breeding ground for the rats, hence the invasion. They started a massive cleanup and started blocking pipes and holes and soon enough the rats started disappearing.
1. To solve a problem or recurring issue, seek the root of the problem. Organizations usually treat the symptoms and not the real cause of problems.
2. The real solution to a problem takes a while to discover and takes even longer to take effect. Embrace the real solution for lasting success.
3. Don't patch things up, don't treat the symptoms. Installing the traps is an example of patching things up and quickly turned out to be the wrong solution.
4. Attaining an effective solution to any problem requires leadership involvement and buy in, and a team effort. Leaders need to allocate and approve the time and resources required to do this.