It often feels like selling broccoli to a three-year old. It’s not that the youngster is unintelligent, it’s just that they haven’t lived long enough to understand the long-term effects of choices and they lack the knowledge to understand concepts like “health” and “nutrition.” In three-year old terms, broccoli looks weird, smells bad, and tastes strange so what’s the upside? Compared to cotton candy or spaghetti which fill their bellies and taste delicious, broccoli seems like an unreasonable leap with only the benefit of a concept that one can’t appreciate for many years if not decades.
Strategic design and subsequent planning feel similarly to many people. It’s not a lack of intelligence that keeps decision makers from buying in, it’s a lack of understanding of what is gained, avoided, or more efficient that is unclear. Add to it the cost and most companies and especially public agencies will avoid the metaphorical broccoli for the immediate outcomes gained by short-term, clearer solutions. Yet, like with all good metaphors, just as too much sugar and carbohydrates will eventually negatively affect a body, so too will a lack of insight, understanding of the enterprise, and planning eventually result in metaphorical “health” problems across the ecosystem.
This is what is happening in our country today. For too long, we’ve refused the discussion of politics in “polite” conversation – it’s seemingly reserved for argumentative sport. In doing so, we’ve failed to model healthy behavior in debate and allowed those with the loudest voices, but not necessarily the most informed or even the most interested, to direct platforms. Further, with the monetary incentives and the cyclical nature of the political game, short-term wins create sound bites for campaigns and the goal of winning has an unintended consequence of skipping the vision, strategy, and long-term planning needed for the country to do the maintenance work required to endure. We’ve allowed erosion within the governmental systems to go unchecked and unaddressed. We’ve eaten too much sugar and not enough broccoli. It was not only predictable, but it is now also inevitable, that there will be substantial prices to pay for these choices – and avoidances.
The irony though is that it won’t be those who made the decisions in the first place that will be affected, it will be those with the least knowledge, awareness, and resources who will be the carnage.
It begs the real question: Will we recognize the error of our ways and choose to lead a healthier lifestyle of broccoli and exercise or will we ignore the warnings, blame others for these predictable but indirect issues, and allow rot to set in? There’s no avoiding the price anymore, there’s only an option to lessen the consequences.