What’s the root cause? The problem we should really be addressing?
Everyone exercising their leadership faces the challenge of needing to decide where to focus their attention. The story below by one of my favourite authors captures our current dilemma beautifully.
by Daniel Quinn (2018)
The ship was sinking—and sinking fast. The captain told the passengers and crew, “We’ve got to get the lifeboats in the water right away.”
But the crew said, “First we have to end capitalist oppression of the working class. Then we’ll take care of the lifeboats.”
Then the women said, “First we want equal pay for equal work. The lifeboats can wait.”
The racial minorities said, “First we need to end racial discrimination. Then seating in the lifeboats will be allotted fairly.”
The captain said, “These are all important issues, but they won’t matter a damn if we don’t survive. We’ve got to lower the lifeboats right away!”
But the religionists said, “First we need to bring prayer back into the classroom. This is more important than lifeboats.”
Then the pro-life contingent said, “First we must outlaw abortion. Fetuses have just as much right to be in those lifeboats as anyone else.”
The right-to-choose contingent said, “First acknowledge our right to abortion, then we’ll help with the lifeboats.”
The socialists said, “First we must redistribute the wealth. Once that’s done everyone will work equally hard at lowering the lifeboats.”
The animal-rights activists said, “First we must end the use of animals in medical experiments. We can’t let this be subordinated to lowering the lifeboats.”
Finally the ship sank, and because none of the lifeboats had been lowered, everyone drowned.
The last thought of more than one of them was, “I never dreamed that solving humanity’s problems would take so long—or that the ship would sink so SUDDENLY.”