If you have this uneasy feeling that you're seeing the same problem scenario over and over again, it may not be an experience of deja vu as much as it is the result of inadequate cause analysis. We all have those occasional waves of paramensia when we feel like we've witnessed or experienced something before. But when you keep seeing the same problems recurring in your job or your life don't blame your experience on parapsychology.
Former Dale Carnegie CEO Stuart Levine writes, "If you're making a lot of different mistakes, you're learning. If you're making the same mistake more than once, you're wasting time. Successful people learn from their mistakes right away and don't repeat them" (Cut to the Chase, page 187, Currency/Doubleday, 2006).
Mistakes are like problems. We all have them and we learn a lot from them. But if we keep having the same ones over and over--we're wasting valuable time and resources.
If you're staring into the same problem you faced last week, last month, or last year, whatever you've done to fix the problem isn't addressing the real cause. Any relief you've gotten for the visible symptoms may ultimately make it more difficult for you to identify the root cause.
A thorough cause analysis process can require valuable time. In the press to do more each day, it is tempting to affix the blame for a problem on the first likely suspect in the lineup. But if you don't have time to get to the root cause now, what makes you think you'll find time to fix the problem again later? You will see it again and again and again.
Maybe a good resolution for a New Year is to slow down and get off the deja vu cycle of repeated problems. Repeated problems drain your energy, kill motivation, sour morale, and waste resources. Make certain your problem solving efforts this year target the real cause of a problem--not just the symptoms.