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How to Find the Root Causes of Business Problems

How to Find the Root Causes of Business Problems

Finding the Root Causes of Business Problems

As business managers, it is our responsibility to identify the root causes of problems and find effective solutions. However, finding the set of unique causal conditions that determine the occurrence of specific events is not a simple task. Scientists have encountered numerous false causes and have found that these errors in judgment have causes themselves.

These are the common errors of judgment that business managers must avoid in order to find accurate solutions.

Inattentive observation:

Lazy, or inapt recording of data, or badly maintained instruments, can introduce errors right at the start of the investigation process. To ensure accurate results, it is important to meticulously record data and maintain accurate instruments.

Incomplete observation:

Every investigation must define its scope and if the limits are drawn too narrowly, relevant information will be excluded, which can lead to incorrect conclusions.

Rejection of information that does not conform to belief:

All business managers have personal beliefs and tend to readily accept and integrate only information that confirms their existing beliefs. This can result in the rejection of new evidence that contradicts their thought patterns.

Mistaking Correlation for a cause:

The correlation-cause error is one of the most common in business management. It is easy to assume that whenever two events occur together, one is causing the other. However, this is not always the case. For example, increased sales and a rise in consumer confidence may occur together, but one does not necessarily cause the other.

As business managers, we must remain cautious against this error and look for multiple factors that may contribute to a given outcome.

Mistaking Symptoms for causes:

It is common to mistake symptoms of problems for their true causes. For example, high employee turnover may be perceived as the root cause of low morale, when in reality it could be due to poor leadership, or inadequate benefits.

As business managers, it is important to not mistake symptoms for the true causes of problems and to conduct a thorough investigation to find the root causes.


Finding the true causes of events is crucial for effective problem solving in business management. By avoiding these common errors in judgment, we can ensure that our investigations are accurate, and our solutions are effective.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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