Data and Facts can be confused or mixed in the wrong way when we are trying to solve a problem. Put simply, data is about counting and reporting. This can be how often something does or does not happen and can often be categorized and put into groupings. Facts are reports and descriptions of things seen, leveraging data, by the people where the value is being created through work.
When we problem solve we leverage reports made from our facts and data to find the conditions, problems, and incidents that get in the way of an optimal process. We should look to data to help us be guided to know where to go and where to look in a situation to learn the facts of the actual conditions that impact the process and workflow.
It then pushes us back to the Gemba to see the actual work being performed, and then return to discuss observations with the people actually doing the work. We are then empowered to update our flow map, find additional or new pain points, and continue to refine our process. Through this refiners fire we work to find a place of agreement on the flow and mapping of our process to improve overall performance.
While studying this week my mind turned over and over again to the spouses and loved ones of ABDLs. They are the outsiders that must go to the gemba to see the process. They must talk with the people actually “doing the work” so they can understand the situation at hand. Please do not misunderstand the lines I’m trying to draw here. The ABDL is not the problem, and diapers are not the problem.
I have taken my journey for understanding with problem solving the same way I did in the series I wrote regarding Heart to Heart. I’m looking to leverage tools to help me understand the way that I’m attacking my life in diapers to become a better person. I continue to strive for a balance where diapers are not a limiter or hindrance in my life. Please keep that perspective as you read. Both sides have to be open to communication and desire for improvement in the “work process” that is our relationships and marriages. With a mutual understanding of improvement, conversations and thoughts can be shared in a healthy, safe way. That doesn’t mean that it still will not hurt. Some of the things that my wife has shared with me hurt very much, but we continue to work together in an open and honest fashion to better our relationship.
In problem solving we can sometimes jump without hesitation to share our ideas. This is great, but help is only helpful if seen as helpful. Have you prepared the way for the conversation and idea? Have you laid the groundwork for the conversation you are wanting to have?
A huge part in the problem solving process that I’m currently studying is that the loved one or spouse must respond when hearing the information from the perspective of a listener or reader. They cannot just jump in trying to “fix” the person and the problem. I promise this will not yield the results you are hoping for if you begin trying to solve the problem instead of understanding the problem. Covey teaches in Habit 5 of the Seven Habits program that we must “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.” Listen, breathe, and listen some more. Think about how you will shape and deliver your questions. Use open-ended questions that allow and invite conversations where the storyteller (the ABDL) is able to explain what they actually know versus what they and you assume they know. So many times this is the first time that the ABDL has vocalized the words they are sharing. This is VERY scary, and things may not come out right the first few times. Words and descriptions that I have and feel may not resonate with others. We must be cognizant of that when working to share this part of ourselves with someone else. Each time I have been able to share with my wife I have learned from the words that have come out of my own mouth.
In A3 methodology you are encouraged to not start with writing, but to start with thinking. Slow down and think through what you are working towards and what you are trying to solve. In lean thinking with problem solving you are constantly on the lookout for bottlenecks in the process that are holding up the overall progress. We must evaluate our lives and find our own bottlenecks that limit and hinder our growth individually and together.
While diapers may not be a bottleneck there can be aspects of wearing that will manifest themselves as bottlenecks or limiters for growth in our relationships. First individually, and then together, we must work to find out the role that diapers play in each of our lives. How do they function as a tool to improve our quality of life? When we can look at diapers in this lens we are more apt to progress. We consider our stakeholders, or our spouse and family, and ask, listen, and communicate with them. Both sides of this conversation are constantly gaining additional knowledge and learning new ways to support each other.
That sounds rather counterproductive, doesn’t it? When we decide to share our story with someone else we typically will take lots of time thinking through how we will deliver this information. We study, prepare, and pray on how we will try and share this part of ourselves. We cannot just present an unfiltered stream of thought to the other party, or we will likely be incoherent and confusing. We must develop slow thinking.
Slow thinking relates with our understanding of ourselves as a species. We have our primal instincts (fast thinking brain, fight or flight responses), and then we have our higher level brain functions that we must consciously engage (our slow thinking, processing thought). It is in the slow portion of our brain that we are able to engage in rational, logical, and value-based thought processes. Our intuition is able to be backed by data and facts to more fully support our process.
What will we decide to do with our knowledge
A very novel statement was made three sessions into this workgroup. How are you going to use this information?
We can be given all the information and preparation in the world, but if we choose not to engage and improve ourselves then it is a waste of time and effort. Both sides of this conversation must be ready and willing to listen, to learn, and then to adapt to create a new and better relationship. This concept should be internalized and considered when the ABDL considers their relationship with adult diapers.
We must be willing to look at how we manage our life in diapers, and be big enough to notice when things are toxic. All too often the ABDL lifestyle can associate with imagery and pornography that is not healthy. Each of us know ourselves best, and will have different battles regarding those vices and addictions that pull us away from our best selves. I think the Heart to Heart program and other great resources have their place there should you find that you are unable to balance your desire to wear diapers in a way that supports both you, your faith, and your family.
The question, no matter where you are on your diapered journey, is what you will do? How will you learn and listen (to yourself or your spouse), and then how will you act? Most of the ABDLs that I talk to have never known a life without diapers. From the time we got out of them to now we wanted to be back in them. Something draws each of us to padded peace.
Remember that “fortune favors the prepared mind.” Be proactive in your diaper wearing. Wear with a purpose, and wear to be a better person.