The professor has seen firsthand what happens when professionals jump to conclusions and rush to action.
Successful leaders frequently are into diagnostic thinking i.e. when they look at a problem they don’t go straight from problem to solution.
Astute leaders, and all human beings for that matter, ideally diagnose before deciding on a cure. That makes it three steps; problem, diagnose and then solution. Professor Gulati is right when he says that it sounds obvious. But unfortunately it’s so common to focus on swift action nowadays many people jump the gun and rapidly implement a solution, for better or for worse.
Don’t think there is anyone reading this that has never skipped the diagnostic step. It happens to all of us because we are in a hurry or pressure is put on us to come up with something asap. The current focus on short term profits makes it inevitable that we sometimes rush. Consequently solutions that that are not well thought through are implemented.
Find looking at diagnostic thinking a good complement to Do you find time for strategic thinking? It’s another way of looking at strategic thinking or a complement, if you wish. There are people out there who consider themselves strategic thinkers that always move swiftly from problem to solution, without bothering to make a diagnosis. Hopefully this will give them food for thought?
Do you diagnose before implementing a solution? Has it happened that you swiftly implemented solution without diagnosing the problem? Would it be better if focus was on long term profits and there was time for diagnostic thinking? Or are you of the opinion that the diagnostic step only make the process take longer and should hence be avoided?
Video. HarvardBusiness – Picture: Universitetssykehuset Nord-Norge (UNN)