Are You Gathering Information to Solve the Wrong Problem?

Today's blog post is about how information alone doesn't solve problem and why we must be aware that gathering the wrong information to solve a problem can actually make it worse. ~You can gather all the information and facts you like, but if you focus on fact finding instead of getting to the root cause of the problem you face what you’ll have in the end is a whole lot of facts that you can’t do a thing with. ~Coach Sam

It’s great to want to solve problems and to be known for the ability to solve problems. And do know problem solvers get paid big bucks because with big problems comes plenty stress. Still, the key to solving any problem is information and applying that information in a strategic way.

Too often we can think oh I have a problem let me consult this person and that person and find out this and that without taking the time to address the root of what we’re facing. So, how do you know if you’re gathering information to solve the wrong problem, well, let me mention these two things.

1.       The Information Has Not Resolved The Problem

When we think of gathering information, we think that’s a good thing and often times it truly is because you know when you have information you have more insight to make better sound decisions. However, more information doesn’t always mean a better outcome.

For example, your friend could say you know I bought these no-show socks and I thought they’d be a great investment that would allow me wear socks, which would keep me from having sweating feet and stinking shoes, only to find that I’m having a problem with keeping my socks on the back of my heels.

For some reason after walking for a while the socks always seem to come off my heel and I find myself constantly having to stop walking when I’m out and dig in my shoes just to pull them up over my heel. It’s really annoying to say the least.

So, now I’m stuck with these socks that were supposed to help, but have instead become a royal pain. And to make matters worse I can’t return them because I waited too long to wear them and now it’s past the return date.

Can you relate? After listening to their problem you ask where did you get them from? did you double check that they’re the right size? what size shoe do you wear? what size socks are they? Do they state they’re made on a smaller or larger scale?

Is this your first time buying this brand? Have you tried sizing up or down? How long does it take before you must readjust them? Are they making your shoes themselves hurt your feet? How long was the return policy? And did you reach out to customer service?

Now take a breather because that’s a lot of questions about a pair of socks.  So now with their answers in mind your off to find your friend the perfect pair of socks to assist with the complaint he or she spoke about.

After going out of your way to find a pair of socks that you believe will actually stay on their feet the next day you say hey, I heard everything you complained about and after I asked you those questions, I believe I have the answer to your problem.

A new pair of crew socks in your size. But much to your surprise your friend doesn’t seem relieved or even thankful. So, you state these are your size and you won’t have to worry about digging them out of your shoe because they definitely will go and stay over your heel. What’s wrong?

To which your friend now says I’m thankful for the thought and you’re right about everything, but I’m looking specifically for no show socks. Now you asked all those questions and heard your friend tell you that the socks were no show socks only to go purchase crew socks.

So, you know what happened? You gathered information that didn’t resolve the problem. You see the problem wasn’t to find socks that fit. The problem was to find no show socks that fit. That one word changes the solution to the problem. And that brings me to me second point.

2.       The Problem Is Now More Complex or Worse

You see without even meaning to you have added to your friend’s problem. Now your friend has additional socks he or she doesn’t need, didn’t want, and you feel unappreciated and that you wasted your time and coins. 

In addition, if you chose to tell the clerk you didn’t need the receipt or threw it away, you can’t take them back to get your money, while on the other side, even if you did keep the receipt you would have to go back to return them, unless you opted to tell your friend to just keep them or give them away.

Though I’m tackling a simple subject of socks how many times have disagreements happened and tempers flared because someone who was trying to be helpful and thought they knew more than they really did, did something that put you in a worse position because their actions added to your problem?

In some cases, can you be honest enough to say it was you yourself that added to a problem in your own life by solving the wrong problem or making the decision to do something you thought was ideal, yet ended up being a disaster? And that’s the point ladies and gentlemen.

Information by itself doesn’t solve problems. So, it’s up to us recognize in our life and in the lives of others if we’re gathering mountains and mountains of information yet the problem is unresolved or becoming amplified that we’re not looking or addressing the root cause.

And in order to resolve any problem more than information we must apply knowledge and wisdom to know what we don’t know so we focus on the issues at hand instead of just acquiring information.

Because problem solvers gather information to resolve problems and you’re not an effective problem solver if all you have is a bunch of information that’s not doing you any good.

~You can gather all the information and facts you like, but if you focus on fact finding instead of getting to the root cause of the problem you face what you’ll have in the end is a whole lot of facts that you can’t do a thing with. ~Coach Sam


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