Our instincts almost instantly identify people as the source of all problems. We blame the person closest to the problem even when we know it’s not their fault.

Even when we can clearly see the cause of the problem, we still blame the person.

Even when we know facts like 95% of all problems are process problems, leaving just 5% as people problems, we still blame the person closest to the problem.

Why? Why are we trapped in this never-ending cycle of blaming people for the problem even when we logically know it’s not their fault? And, what can we do about it?


Defining the problem is the biggest challenge of all.

It’s quick and easy to simply blame the person closest to the problem for the problem. It takes the least amount of time and energy and there’s usually very few negative consequences. The person either accepts the blame or tries to defend or explain their actions. No matter their reaction, it all comes across as excuse making. Again, it remains easier to blame them – first for the problem, then for making excuses.

It takes much more time and energy to review the situation, analyze the details, and figure out the real source of the problem.

Plus, defining the real problem is a challenge for a lot of people. So many people struggle with defining their problems that problem-solving experts have created more than 50 processes to help people define their problems! Is this a problem?


Action is the next challenge.

Assuming you define the problem well…what to do next often becomes a challenge. Analysis usually leads to the best decisions and solutions. However, many people don’t have the skills or resources to properly analyze the situation. This gap often leaves the problem unsolved and the best solution undiscovered.


Commitment is the final step.

It’s more than committing to action… Action will have to take place to solve your problem – especially one that’s large enough to spend time on. What you’ll need to commit to here is awareness, mindfulness, and change.

You’ll need to commit to taking the time to fully review the situation instead of blaming the person closest to the problem. You’ll need to commit to ignoring your instinct to blame, and instead, commit to a deeper problem solving approach.


People can be the problem. Most of the time, they aren’t. If you begin with this belief – the belief that people want to do good work – you will instantly improve your problem solving ability and become a much better leader.