Clarity Quiz – What Problem-Solving Step Is Most Often Skipped?

Welcome to the Clarity Quiz!

Smart, effective problem-solving can be described in four basic steps. I’ve captured those steps using the acronym SPOT™, as in SPOT Remover for Problems™.

Which step(s) of the problem-solving process do you think people most often short-change?

  1. Specifics – The first step is to determine the specific conditions under which the problem does and doesn’t occur in order to find the cause. Do you see people short-changing the process of identifying those specific conditions?
  2. Potential Causes – The second step is to identify potential causes that explain the specific conditions under which the problem does and doesn’t occur. Do you believe most people give enough attention to identifying enough potential causes? Or do they come into the problem with preconceived notions about the cause? Or perhaps they are already thinking about their preferred ‘solution’?
  3. Options – The third step is to identify your options for eliminating the cause. Do you think people are too quick to glom onto a preferred ‘solution’ and never really consider other options?
  4. Test – The final step is to test the most promising option to see if it really does eliminate the cause of the problem. How often do you see these tests performed? Or do people find their preferred ‘solutions’ so exciting that they rush ahead without taking the time to test?

Make your selection and then continue to see if you are correct!


If you decided all steps are short-changed, way to go! You are absolutely correct!

I wish I could say that even one of these steps is generally executed well. Unfortunately, I can’t. The most common approach to problem-solving is a disorganized meeting that involves a cursory look at the situation followed by vociferous support for pet solutions. The ‘systems’ people advocate for a new checklist. The HR people want to develop more training. The analytical people favor additional data collection and are subsequently ignored due to impatience or fear of analysis paralysis. The skeptics scorn all ideas. And the eternal optimists are ready to lead any charge. As a result, most problem ‘solutions’ aren’t solutions and totally miss the mark.

To increase the likelihood that your problem-solving efforts really do solve problems once and for all, follow my SPOT Remover for Problems™ process one step at a time.

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