Tag Archives: resolution

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problem solving blame

Problem Solving Blame and the Root Cause

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Knowing the problem and the solution are two different things. Getting to the root cause is often another stumbling block. How are you managing problem solving blame?

This coffee tastes terrible. It must be the brand.

I tried their website. It must be down.

My house plant died. I guess I forgot to water it.

It’s easy to make assumptions. In many cases we label that problem solving.

Many people take great pride in their ability to solve problems in the workplace or in even in their everyday lives.

Problem solving skills are valuable and make a significant difference for quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Problem Assumptions

Are the assumptions ever wrong?

Certainly, they are.

Getting the solution to the problem correct is critical. Getting to the root cause, well, that is also critical.

There are lots of reasons for bad coffee. Too long sitting on the burner, too strong, too weak, or perhaps something that was added. The brand may be perfectly fine.

A down website doesn’t mean it is a bad design, it also doesn’t mean that it is not working for everyone. Could be the connection, your browser, or even your own connectivity.

House plants sometimes die. A lack of water may not be the only reason. Throwing your arms up and suggesting that you aren’t good with plants may be an excuse.

When you problem solve, who or what gets blamed?

Problem Solving Blame

While we recognize that circumstances and situations will vary. We should also recognize that solutions and blame are not always connected or accurate.

If your cell phone didn’t charge overnight, is it the phone, the battery, the charger, the outlet, or was there a power outage? Was the cable appropriately plugged in?

Did someone else unplug it?

Getting to the root cause will matter. It may also take some time, some testing, and having a little more patience.

Before you make your next guess about who or what to blame, consider the importance of resolution. Stop blaming and solve it at the root.

Isn’t that what everyone wants?


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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