Often, teams doing improvement work find it hard to decide what the ‘best’ obstacle to work on is, or what the ‘best’ countermeasure to put in place is. They’re so worried about choosing the ‘right’ one that they get stuck, and problem-solving progress stops. In my experience this type of ‘analysis paralysis’ results from habitually using convergent thinking: trying to divide and dissect things into smaller and smaller pieces looking for the one right answer…the one root cause. Problem is, our complicated and complex world doesn’t work that way. So, a better approach is to employ divergent thinking! This means coming up with a list of as many obstacles or countermeasures as possible and then choosing one of them to try out. Since we don’t know how any will work in reality, we can’t possibly know which is best until we try it. So, next time your team experiences ‘analysis paralysis’ instead of wasting time trying to figure out which is the best choice in theory, simply choose one thing to try and find out in reality! Then you’ll be able to figure out what to do next!

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