Don’t jump to conclusions!

The cause might not be what you think.

We see the world from our point of view, so when something happens in our world, we try to work out the cause according to our own perspective. Its important to not just to conclusions about any issue. Take some emotion out of it, really listen to those around you and stop listening just to create your response.

Lets take this scenario away from the business thinking us for a second so that I can demonstrate what I mean. Imagine a young lad drove his car around a corner too fast, spun out and hit a tree. From the drivers point of view it was because the accident was caused because he cornered too fast. From the accident investigators view it was because it was there was damage to the surface of the road that made that part of the road surface slippery. From the vehicle makers perspective, it could be a poor load design of the car. Perhaps the centre of gravity is too high? From the young fella’s Mum’s perspective, well she is just glad he got out of it OK and really isn’t investigating where the blame should lie.

So how can this help us in business? in many ways. Particularly when working with others.

If you are in a position of working with others, this is a great tool to use. Think about the different perspectives that one single even can have. Lets look at an example.

A customer has received their order but it was incorrect. From the boss’s point of view someone screwed up and they want to know why. From the office managers perspective, there was a process that was not complete causing the staff member to make an error and the process needs to be looked at. From the workers perspective, it was the fault of the ordering software and from the client’s perspective, well the client really doesn’t care what happened, that just want what they ordered asap.

So see what I mean here. There are many ways that one issue can be seen. Depending on whose shoes you might be standing in at the time. Often, we are quick to react to trouble. We want answers and we want them now. but sometimes we need to slow down to speed up. We need to think for a moment and not just assume that we know what went wrong and why. We need to have a go to plan to see if this issue is ongoing and if we need to do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Lets go back to that slippery road. If there is an issue with the road surface and it is not rectified what do you think will happen next time someone goes around that corner with a bit of speed? If there is an issue with the process of ordering, then what happens next time and order is taken? Its easy to blame the young guy for speeding or the staff member for making a mistake. If we blame but don’t investigate we might be missing something.

  • There is an easy formula to follow for trouble shooting that I like to use.
  • Identify the issue – work out what the issue is
  • Identify who else might have a different perspective on this issue.
  • List all the options that might cause this issue from all the different perspectives. What is the best outcome or result that you can have here.
  • Select an option to work on

The secret here is to really listen and learn. We often listen to prepare a response. Listen to analyse. This type of strategy will help you to be supportive and is what a strong leader would do.