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How to Make Irrational People Rational

How to Make Irrational People Rational

Are windmills machines used to produce wind? The faster windmills are observed to rotate, the more wind is observed to be. Therefore, wind is caused by the rotation of windmills. [1]

This is an example of reverse causality, which happen when we illogically infer causation from correlation. Often times, we mistakenly imply a strong correlation means causation. Let’s look at another example of this mistake. U.S. spending on science, space, and technology correlates with Suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation. [2]

    Let’s start by looking at the definition of both correlation and causation.

    Correlation. In statistics, a correlation is a single number describing the degree of relationship between two variables. [3] The key word here is relationship, where a relationship may exist, but not causation.

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    Causation. If A causes B we have direct causation. Meaning, one event is 100% causing something else. For example, if you stand in the rain, this will cause you to get wet.

      Let’s look at another example, one that might initially confuse you (which demonstrates how easy it is to imply correlation equals causation). Does the following imply causation?

      Statement. If you commit a felony, you will go to jail.

      Answer. This does not infer causation, because you might go to jail if you get caught. Even if you get caught, you could still receive probation or a lesser punishment. Essentially, we can’t say for sure that committing a felony will cause you to go to jail. [4]

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      To avoid falling into this trap, peel back the layers.

      We can use a futures research method that will help us focus on an in-depth analysis of our problem. This method is called Causal Layer Analysis (CLA) and allows us to dig into the layers (or dimensions) of a problem. Let’s see how it works. [5]

        There are four layers of CLA

        • Layer #1 – Litany. This is our day-to-day future where solutions to problems are typically short term.
        • Layer #2 – Systemic Causes. Here we focus on the social, economic, and political issues.
        • Layer #3 – Worldview. This is our big picture paradigm.
        • Layer #4 – Myth or Metaphor. Our deep unconscious stories reside in this layer.

        Using CLA will assist us in getting to the root cause of a problem. Go back to our U.S. spending and Suicide example. Instead of implying causation, we should dig into the root cause of this issue. This example shows a strong correlation, where r = .99. The closer we are to 1, the stronger the correlation. However, we know this is not logical. So, we must gather more data associated to this problem, identify other potential causes, and identify the true root of the problem.

        Let’s look at some techniques we can use for this.

        1. Fishbone Diagram

        The Fishbone Diagram (otherwise known as an Ishikawa or Cause-and-Effect Diagram) is a way to identify as many possible causes for an effect or problem. [6]

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          2. 5-Why

          Here is a technique you mastered when you were a child, yet you forgot when you became an adult. Simply ask why. The 5-Why technique is a powerful tool allowing us to peel back the layers of symptoms and get to the root of the problem. [7]

            3. Apollo Root Cause Analysis

            This is a way to dig deeper into root cause analysis. Here we look for (at least) two causes in the form of an action and condition, then ask why of each answer and continue to ask why of each cause until there are no more answers. [8]

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              4. Pareto Analysis

              The Pareto analysis is where we use the Pareto principle. Here we find that 20% of our work creates 80% of the results… or 80% of our problem comes from 20% of a certain population. This is a powerful and effective technique for quickly identifying a problem area to focus on.

                Can you now see the error when implying correlation equals causation? Once we understand how errors like this occur, we can use powerful techniques to expose them and find the true root cause to the problem. We are blind when we fail to do this. It’s like trying to look into a forest, but you are blinded by the trees; where you know there is a forest in there somewhere.

                Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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                Dr. Jamie Schwandt

                Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

                What Is the Point of Life: The Reason Why You Exist 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory How Cognitive Learning Benefits Your Brain 10 Best Brain Power Supplements That Will Supercharge Your Mind How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices

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                1 10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader 2 Why Perspective Taking Is an Essential Skill for Success 3 How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve Success 4 How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates) 5 How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

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                Last Updated on June 3, 2020

                How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

                How to Write SMART Goals (With SMART Goals Templates)

                Everyone needs a goal. Whether it’s in a business context or for personal development, having goals help you strive towards something you want to accomplish. It prevents you from wandering around aimlessly without a purpose.

                But there are good ways to write goals and there are bad ways. If you want to ensure you’re doing the former, keep reading to find out how a SMART goals template can help you with it.

                The following video is a summary of how you can write SMART goals effectively:

                What Are SMART Goals?

                SMART Goals

                refer to a way of writing down goals that follow a specific criteria. The earliest known use of the term was by George T. Doran in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, however, it is often associated with Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.[1]

                SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. There are other variations where certain letters stand for other things such as “achievable” instead of attainable, and “realistic” instead of relevant.

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                What separates a SMART goal from a non-SMART goal is that, while a non-SMART goal can be vague and ill-defined, a SMART goal is actionable and can get you results. It sets you up for success and gives you a clear focus to work towards.

                And with SMART goals comes a SMART goals template. So, how do you write according to this template?

                How to Write Smart Goals Using a SMART Goals Template

                For every idea or desire to come to fruition, it needs a plan in place to make it happen. And to get started on a plan, you need to set a goal for it.

                The beauty of writing goals according to a SMART goals template is that it can be applied to your personal or professional life.

                If it’s your job to establish goals for your team, then you know you have a lot of responsibility weighing on your shoulders. The outcome of whether or not your team accomplishes what’s expected of them can be hugely dependant on the goals you set for them. So, naturally, you want to get it right.

                On a personal level, setting goals for yourself is easy, but actually following through with them is the tricky part. According to a study by Mark Murphy about goal setting, participants who vividly described their goals were 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully achieve their goals.[2] Which goes to show that if you’re clear about your goals, you can have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

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                Adhering to a SMART goals template can help you with writing clear goals. So, without further ado, here’s how to write SMART goals with a SMART goals template:

                Specific

                First and foremost, your goal has to be specific. Be as clear and concise as possible because whether it’s your team or yourself, whoever has to carry out the objective needs to be able to determine exactly what it is they are required to do.

                To ensure your goal is as specific as it can be, consider the Ws:

                • Who = who is involved in executing this goal?
                • What = what exactly do I want to accomplish?
                • Where = if there’s a fixed location, where will it happen?
                • When = when should it be done by? (more on deadline under “time-bound”)
                • Why = why do I want to achieve this?

                Measurable

                The only way to know whether or not your goal was successful is to ensure it is measurable. Adding numbers to a goal can help you or your team weigh up whether or not expectations were met and the outcome was triumphant.

                For example, “Go to the gym twice a week for the next six months” is a stronger goal to strive for than simply, “Go to the gym more often”.

                Setting milestone throughout your process can also help you to reassess progress as you go along.

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                Attainable

                The next important thing to keep in mind when using a SMART goals template is to ensure your goal is attainable. It’s great to have big dreams but you want your goals to be within the realms of possibility, so that you have a higher chance of actually accomplishing them.

                But that doesn’t mean your goal shouldn’t be challenging. You want your goal to be achievable while at the same time test your skills.

                Relevant

                For obvious reasons, your goal has to be relevant. It has to align with business objectives or with your personal aspirations or else, what’s the point of doing it?

                A SMART goal needs to be applicable and important to you, your team, or your overall business agenda. It needs to be able to steer you forward and motivate you to achieve it, which it can if it holds purpose to something you believe in.

                Time-Bound

                The last factor of the SMART goals template is time-bound (also known as “timely”). Your goal needs a deadline, because without one, it’s less likely to be accomplished.

                A deadline provides a sense of urgency that can motivate you or your team to strive towards the end. The amount of time you allocate should be realistic. Don’t give yourself—or your team—only one week if it takes three weeks to actually complete it. You want to set a challenge but you don’t want to risk over stress or burn out.

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                Benefits of Using a SMART Goals Template

                Writing your goals following a SMART goals template provides you with a clearer focus. It communicates what the goal needs to achieve without any fuss.

                With a clear aim, it can give you a better idea of what success is supposed to look like. It also makes it easier to monitor progress, so you’re aware whether or not you’re on the right path.

                It can also make it easier to identify bottlenecks or missed targets while you’re delivering the goal. This gives you enough time to rectify any problems so you can get back on track.

                The Bottom Line

                Writing goals is seemingly not a difficult thing to do. However, if you want it to be as effective as it can be, then there’s more to it than meets the eye.

                By following a SMART goals template, you can establish a more concrete foundation of goal setting. It will ensure your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound—attributes that cover the necessities of an effectively written goal.

                More Tips About Goals Setting

                Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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