Most people are more comfortable with old problems than new solutions.

That might explain why most of us seem to look for answers based on causation and correlation rather than actual cause and effect. All great designers are thinkers, but are all great thinkers designers? Bill gates dropped out of college, so if your kid drops out of college; will he become Bill Gates? Marketing communication for a global brand needs to appeal to all kinds of people, so all kinds of people should decide what the communication should be? There are literally tons of misplaced cause and effect examples of this in both business and life, but here are some of my favorites:

I don’t understand why it’s not working. Our focus groups loved it!

He’s right, after all he is (bigwig) at (huge company). Don’t you know who he is?

She’s just the receptionist, what does she know about our core audience?

It’s gotta be good, we’re spending top dollar on it!

It’s the latest thing. Everyone’s doing it.

I don’t get it and I’m pretty smart. So that guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

There’s no way this can fail, just look at my track record!

The reality is nowhere near the ideology that keeps this thinking alive. Japan kicks ass in steel manufacturing but has no source of coal or iron ore anywhere near them. Why things like these happen are not the connections you might think, because unless it’s your world and your necessity, it’ll more than likely be difficult for you to grasp.

But you can.

Master change not by going down the path of causation based on correlation but by seeing the real reasons things happen. There is no formula. Just ask better questions.

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