One of things we do, as productivity professionals, is to examine the evidence – the performance data – to identify where problems and Improvement opportunities exist. Indeed, we often go further to investigate the root cause of a problem so we know we are not merely addressing the symptoms of an underlying problem which might re- emerge later.
However, too often I see people not just failing to identify the root cause but even failing to identify whether or not there is a causal relationship at all.
Let me give you an example. In s recent blog (not mine) the author stated that Monday was the worst day for productivity – suggesting that in many, even the majority of, organisations, performance dips on a Monday. If this is true (and I assume the author had evidence to show it was) and we could find out why, we might be able to address that issue and avoid this performance penalty.
However, we might simply be looking at a statistical anomaly or even a piece of well-established folklore. Perhaps there is nothing about Mondays that causes performance to drop.
So be careful how you treat what people say. Don’t jump to hasty conclusions. Ask what the data is telling you – and what it isn’t. Dig deeper. Triangulate. Find the causal relationship and then identify the root cause. You then have a chance of solving your problem. But don’t address, or worry about, problems that don’t exist.