Navigating problem-solving pitfalls

Navigating problem-solving pitfalls


Effective problem-solving is crucial for teams to address challenges and drive continuous improvement within their organisations. However, the problem-solving process can be fraught with potential pitfalls that may hinder progress and lead to suboptimal outcomes.


In this blog post, we’ll explore common traps that teams encounter during problem-solving and discuss techniques to avoid them, including working with experienced facilitators like Lean Six Sigma Black Belts and leveraging accurate data for deeper insights. By recognising and overcoming these common traps, your team can navigate the problem-solving process more effectively and achieve lasting, impactful results.

Common traps in problem-solving

One common trap teams fall into when problem-solving is jumping to conclusions without fully understanding the problem or considering alternative solutions. This can lead to implementing ineffective or short-term fixes that fail to address the root cause of the issue. An example of this would be when a production team notices a decline in output. They immediately assume that the issue is due to faulty machinery, neglecting to consider other potential factors such as staffing levels or process inefficiencies.


Groupthink occurs when the desire for harmony and conformity within a group leads to poor decision-making. In the context of problem-solving, groupthink can stifle creativity and result in a narrow range of solutions being considered. For example if marketing team is brainstorming ideas for a new campaign, but the group quickly rallies around a single idea proposed by a senior team member. They dismiss alternative suggestions without proper consideration.

Focusing on symptoms rather than root causes

Another common trap in problem-solving is addressing the symptoms of a problem rather than its root cause. This approach may provide temporary relief but fails to address the underlying issue, often leading to recurring problems. For example, the customer service team is experiencing high call volumes and long wait times. Instead of investigating the root cause of the increased call volume, they decide to hire more staff to handle the workload, only to discover that the issue persists due to unresolved product issues.

Techniques to avoid problem-solving traps

Working with experienced facilitators

Collaborating with experienced facilitators, such as Lean Six Sigma Black Belts, can help teams navigate the problem-solving process more effectively. These professionals bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and structured methodologies that can guide teams in identifying root causes, generating innovative solutions, and minimising the risk of falling into common traps.

Leveraging accurate data

Using accurate data to understand a situation better is critical for effective problem-solving. By gathering and analysing relevant data, teams can gain deeper insights into the problem at hand, make informed decisions, and avoid jumping to conclusions or focusing on symptoms rather than root causes.

Six sigma statistical analysis

Six Sigma statistical analysis is a powerful tool for identifying patterns, trends, and potential issues within complex data sets. By employing Six Sigma techniques, teams can uncover hidden insights that may otherwise be overlooked, helping to ensure that the problem-solving process is thorough and robust.

Effective problem-solving is critical for teams

Effective problem-solving is critical for teams to address challenges and drive continuous improvement within their organisation. By recognising and avoiding common traps, such as jumping to conclusions, groupthink, and focusing on symptoms rather than root causes, teams can enhance their problem-solving capabilities and achieve more sustainable results. Implementing techniques like collaborating with experienced facilitators, leveraging accurate data, and using Six Sigma statistical analysis can further strengthen your team’s problem-solving process. Ultimately, by overcoming these common pitfalls and utilising the right strategies, your team can unlock its full potential and contribute to your organisation’s ongoing success.

To find out more, continue the discussion here or contact us for more information about implementing these techniques in your business.




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