Confusion is a close relative of chaos. When things are not working the way they should, the search for a better way begins. This is the moment when you suspect something is not as it seems. Not everyone is prepared to explore shift, but a process improvement specialist trains to identify the first signs of confusion. Confusion is the lack of information needed to create a better way. The signs associated with confusion appear as a conflict and/or a distraction. A dark, bewildered feeling permeates your life. And as quick as it enters, it can leave. Anything can distract confusion and offer the possibility to lift the fog.

Here is an example of how confusion feels for those who are not process improvement specialists. Consider the case of coming home after a burglary. There are questions that scream at you from the far side of reality, like “what’s going on here?” When you left, you remember the house was in a certain way. The intrusion shifted what was into what is now. There remains an ominous chasm between the once remembered and current present states. You grasp to comprehend, but there is no foundation on which to stand. You yearn to understand, to see what appears underneath this reality. You want to make sense of this nonsense, and you can’t. The pieces of the situation don’t add up because all the pieces are not present. The circumstances are not of your making. Your observation needs to be objective and impartial to poke holes in the darkness so that light might return. You need only to pick up the pieces from where you currently stand and move forward.

For those who are not process improvement specialists, nor victims of a burglary, consider how confusion feels when talking to a liar. Everyone has chatted with a liar. Everyone knows that the other is a liar. You know they are a liar. Yet, you refuse to believe that they would lie to you. Here is the harsh reality. They lie to you, they lie to all of us. Whether the liar is aware of the lie is only one side of the coin. The intention of the lie is not always pure. The justification of the lie is not always well-defined. The lie is absolutely necessary at that particular moment, so that the next moment may arrive with an air of confusion. When the lie occurs between two people, determining who is actually the liar, can be tricky. This is the moment of responsibility, because both parties are now involved. After the conversation, both parties decide whether the lie stops or how it continues. As I lie to others, I lie to myself. Ask if it is true, ask if it is necessary, and ask if it is helpful. These three questions clear any confusion from what is true. The choice is to either let the lie linger, or declare the lie dead by never spreading it again.