You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t jump to conclusions before you have all the facts.” The same can be said about jumping to solutions before getting to the root cause. Somebody raises an issue during a meeting. People immediately jump in with proposed solutions. The best idea wins and the solution is implemented. Issue resolved, right? Only if life were that simple.

When an issue surfaces, it is important to spend time defining exactly what the issue is. Write it down in the form of a Problem Statement: A short description of the current issue and the desired end state you hope to achieve once it is fixed. Then spend some time thinking about the potential root causes of the issue. Use simple techniques like 5 Why’s and Fishbone Diagrams to help you.

Fight against your natural urge to jump straight to proposing solutions and invest more time thinking about the issue and its root causes. It might not be as fun or sexy, but it will make your work and life better and drama-free.