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5 Simple Steps to Help You Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

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Many of us often find ourselves jumping to conclusions about an issue with the result being we got it wrong in terms of either our understanding of the issue or the action we took, or both.

We “get it wrong” because we usually don’t take the time or follow a process to fully understand what the problem is or the best way to address it. We all, at times, are required to “think on our feet,” but that doesn’t mean we shoot from the hip or guess. Following a mental process, if done correctly, does not have to slow down how you arrive at the right action to take. When we don’t follow a process, we usually miss some key aspect of the situation which eventually results in “so-so” fixes and not solutions.

While not perfect (and they don’t have to be perfect), here are 5 simple steps to help you avoid jumping to conclusions:

  1. Start with asking what took place, when it occurred, why and how it happened—this is the foundation for your future actions.
  2. Define the outcome you want to achieve and by when—i.e., based upon what you learned from the what, when, why and how exercise what would the best solution look like.
  3. Identify the first 3 steps you will take (including the resources you will need) to get you moving towards the desired outcome. These 3 steps must include what will be done, by who and by when.
  4. Evaluate your progress after the first 3 steps have been completed and make whatever adjustments are necessary, then take the next 3 steps. Repeat this “evaluation” step as often as necessary until your desired outcome has been achieved.
  5. Throughout your process, avoid overthinking. Keep the outcome in front of you. When we overthink our actions, we slow our progress, second guess our abilities and make the situation more complicated that it needs to be.
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