Substitution Error

Definition: Answering a question with a different question that’s easier to answer.

Example: Business managers often answer the question “Am I growing profits?” with the answer to the question “Am I growing sales?” It’s often easier to know if you are growing sales but that doesn’t tell you whether you are growing profits.

Why It’s Important: Business decisions are hard and some take the shortcut (consciously or unconsciously) of answering the tough questions with answers to easier questions. Those easy answers may be the wrong answer to the tougher questions. Keep working on making sure you’re answering the real question.