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Monday, July 6, 2020

Book Review - The Conclusion Trap: Four Steps to Better Decisions

Why do organizations and individuals so often struggle to make good decisions, investing enormous amounts of time and money in fruitless efforts to solve thorny problems? Too often, our mistake lies in jumping to conclusions before we even understand the problem we’re attempting to solve.

Dan Markovitz’ The Conclusion Trap gives us a straightforward guide to thinking better about "problems." He distills key insights from lean management and the psychology of making decisions into an easy method you can apply right now.

This book will help you make better decisions by eliminating the tendency to jump to conclusions. You will learn how to ensure that you deeply understand a problem before pursuing any given solution by applying a powerful, four-step process: (1) gathering both facts and data, so you can accurately grasp the situation; (2) framing the problem, so you can avoid cognitive biases; (3) isolating contributing factors, so you can manage complex situations; (4) finding the root cause, so you can avoid ineffective makeshift actions.

It is intentionally a quick read (maybe a couple hours) at just 59 pages but has good illustrations and simple follow structure. The book goes directly to the point with real examples to approach application.

This book doesn't provide solutions. It is a guide to come up with a better understanding of the problem: Get the facts, put them together and think about why this keeps happening.  But understanding the problem is really the first step in coming up with better solutions.  Understand what to change first, before talking about what to change to or how to cause the change.  

This is a great primer to problem solving for those starting a continuous improvement journey but more of a review for seasoned practitioners.

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