There is never one answer to a problem. Use the intelligence you have been given to stop, consider the problem from all angles then work out what you can do to get around it.
The way I learnt this valuable lesson was at the start of the rail safety campaign I ran. There had been 2 really big crashes before ours, Clapham and Southall, and in the course of my research I discovered both had had public inquiries but hardly any of the recommendations that had come out of them had been implemented. They had effectively been moth-balled and placed on a shelf.
Around both of these inquiries there had been campaign groups pushing for results and changes so why hadn’t they worked?
I remember sitting down for a whole day considering this. I had set up Paddington Survivors Group and we were ready to stand up in public and make our views known and the governments public inquiry into our crash was well underway. How could we stop the results of the inquiry being moth-balled as before?
My conclusion was, in a way, ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. To make our views have weight we would have to make sure we researched into all aspects of the UK railways system as it stood.
1) We would have to bone up on the engineering terms and considerations around rolling stock and their safety systems, signals, signal boxes and training practices so we could speak to those in the industry from a knowledgeable point of view.
2) We would have to bring pressure to bear on government and (as governments change) the other major parties so they could do nothing else but to implement the recommendations. The best way to do this was to excite public opinion and get it on our side which meant courting the media.
3) Above all else, despite being very emotionally involved, we would have to push these emotions to one side. It was imperative we be calm, collected, matter of fact, well researched and professional in our approach so as not to alienate anyone who might implement the recommendations and make them become a reality. We had to almost become ‘one of them’ without losing sight of what our objective was.
As far as I could see this approach had not been attempted by any other campaign group before and we proceeded accordingly. It worked. From what we were able to achieve almost 99% of the recommendations made in our public inquiry were acted upon and implemented.
So, if you have a goal that is important to you and there are obstacles in the way take some time out, step back and look at it like a 3D model. Consider all the different ways you might get over or around the obstacle and then try your best solution. Even if one of your ideas doesn’t work you’ll already have others to call upon and try.