Jumping to Solutions


We've all seen it. We've probably all done it.

What's that?

Jumping to solutions.

I hope this illustration I created gives you a bit of pause… not just to laugh at others, but to reflect on this personally.

jumping to solutions_0

It's hard to not jump to solutions. But, you get better at recognizing it when it's happening and you can stop yourself before saying or doing the wrong thing.

It's the same as with blaming people. It's hard to stop, but it's easier to be aware of… and to control it.

These are harder habits to break for executives who have been in the workforce the longest, generally speaking.

The habits (jump to conclusions, be decisive, have all the answers, get things done) are hard to break. People got promoted and made more money because of those old habits.

Now, they're trying to change those habits and convince others to change? And they have to also convince their employees they are changing themselves?

We should be empathetic toward our senior leaders… especially if they want to change… if they are trying.

We don't need to have patience with those who aren't trying to change, perhaps.

Hat tip to a slightly different cartoon version of this that was in an LEI training class (author unknown). Buy a print of this image or a mug.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Jonathan Bykowski says

    Great reminder! At a recent senior leadership worksession to define and clarify scope for our next few firm wide improvement initiatives, I used a buzzer from the Taboo game each time a participant offered a solution. We were there to identify problems first. After about an hour the team was ‘buzzing’ each other and significantly more aware of their comments. It was simple, fun and successful.

    1. Mark Graban says

      I love the buzzer idea, Jonathan. That could be done in a fun way.

      When I use the famous “Toast Kaizen” video as part of training, I ask teams to identify waste and problems WITHOUT jumping to brainstorming solutions. It could be fun to have a buzzer when somebody throws out a solution without first identifying the problem.

  2. Dan Collins says

    Thanks Mark, I am using this with our quality teams this week!

    1. Mark Graban says

      Great, I hope it spurs some good discussion.

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