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Problem Solving for Wisdom’s Sake

White, blank unassembled jigsaw pieces on a white surface

According to, wisdom means “a: [the] ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight, and b: good sense: judgment” These are the first two definitions of six found on the website. I think we could all agree that wisdom, i.e. insight or good judgment, are crucial to leading an organization and making good decisions.

One of the caveats about gaining wisdom is that it takes experience. We aren’t born wise. We live and learn, get up, brush ourselves off, and then try again. Gaining wisdom automatically includes “failure.” Failure is a dreaded term in my brain and can set fear in my heart. It feels like failure looms behind corners as a monster ready to take me down with a surprise tackle.

And at the same time as I personify my fear of failure, I know that Wisdom is also pursuing me and chasing me down for my own good. Wisdom, sound judgment, and effective insight are all things that I deeply want more of. I look for Wisdom in people, situations, and within myself. We gain wisdom when we learn from our mistakes and change the way we do things in the future, when we take responsibility for our part in a problem, when we acknowledge the steps taken to get to where we are (beneficial and not) and then adjust accordingly.

From my perspective, increasing in wisdom (and its application) is similar to the Six Sigma process improvement model, making changes to a procedure or process that makes it the most efficient, effective, and beneficial way of doing something so that parts are free of defects 99.99966% of the time.[1] In this process, there is a Six Sigma expert that helps the company make process improvements, identify practices that can be changed to increase accurate production, and cut waste. Decisions, processes, and outcomes are evaluated and broken down to identify what works and why it works and find what doesn’t work and come up with a fix.

To increase in wisdom, both in knowledge and the application of good judgment, we need to break down our decisions to wholeheartedly look at what went well and what didn’t. Wisdom requires evaluation and change.

Questions to ponder:

● How have I changed from gaining wisdom (a.k.a. learning experiences, successes, and failures)?

● Are there areas in my work or life where I’m dissatisfied that I need to evaluate or change?

● How do I use the wisdom I’ve learned in my work and/or life?

Stay curious friends!


[1] Six Sigma - Wikipedia, accessed 8/9/2021.

Make sure you’re listening to season one of the Dream Big Authentic Leadership podcast, found on Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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