Picture yourself identifying a problem that is or could be trouble for your K9 program and then going to your supervisor to say “We’ve got a problem.” You describe that problem – and you even might predict potential consequences if the problem is not resolved. Afterward, you might ask your supervisor “What are YOU going to do about it?”
“Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” ~Henry Ford
If you have identified a problem within your program and presented it to your supervisor, there are minimally four ways the process can proceed;
- Your supervisor decides to ignore it with “Get out of here!”
- Your supervisor responds responsibly with “Let me see what I can do.”
- Your supervisor tosses the problem back to you and expects you to resolve it or not with “It’s your problem, you take care of it!”
- Your supervisor decides that you are both going to resolve it as a team with “Let’s see what WE can do about it” and you might even provide some solutions to resolve it mentioning afterward “I’ve got a few suggestions that we might consider.”
I think supervisors should be expected to problem-solve and address problems brought to them by subordinates. However, I also think subordinates – the handlers – should be thinking about potential solutions to address problems and be prepared to offer some solutions if asked or an opportunity presents itself to do so. And, when you offer solutions or assist in producing them, the process can be more streamlined and likely to produce the positive results you’d like to see.
“Collaboration is the future. It’s dumb to say, ‘Don’t come to me with problems unless you have solutions.’ Explore options with others.” ~Dan Rockwell
Let’s be honest – it’s usually easier to complain about a problem than resolve it or attempt to do so. And, based on my experiences, some handlers are really good at identifying problems, complaining about problems and offering nothing more. I’ve found that other handlers identify problems and take the initiative to begin problem-solving on their own. And, wouldn’t you rather be participative with the process and have a say in its potential outcome?
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” – John Foster Dulles
Bringing solutions to the table or providing them should not be mandatory when a problem has been identified and presented – it’s optional – but highly recommended. And, sometimes, one of the reasons you bring a problem to your supervisor is because you don’t have a clue how to resolve it and you’re seeking support, assistance and/or guidance. However, we can’t ignore problems – or wish they’d disappear – as there will be a great likelihood that these problems could eventually get us into trouble if we ignore them.
Take care, be safe and think about solutions as you identify problems…
Bill Lewis II
This “reason” was first shared on June 2, 2014.
“The best time to get out of trouble is before it happens.”
“Trouble” isn’t always related to incidents or predicaments that directly result in lawsuits, claims or discipline. Often times, our actions or inactions that are missed, deliberately overlooked or downplayed may lead to nothing or can later lead to mistakes or bad incidents with minimal to serious repercussions. A reason we get in trouble can be minor or simple at first glance – or even serious – but a combination of these factors can often have disastrous consequences.
These “reasons” are provided periodically as a collection in-progress based on actual incidents and real attitudes as well as feedback received at HITS, the CNCA Training Institute, and the “Canine Liability 360” classes. As Gordon Graham says, “We haven’t found new ways to get in trouble.” So, as the list progresses, you may or may not read something familiar to you that you have personally experienced or seen others encounter. If you encountered or heard about it, did you learn from it?