Too much belief can be a bad thing … or at least misleading and lotsa-extra-work-inducing. Try not to confuse opinions and guesses with actual behavior-molding philosophies. As teams ramp up toward proficiency at combing items from the conversation transcripts, I’ve seen them comb something like eight mistaken beliefs for every one actual-real-live philosophy. Then the mistaken beliefs cause lots of over-thinking and gray hair during the grouping phase of the conversation analysis … and I really don’t want mental models to cause people gray hair.
Philosophies can really show us the motivation behind a behavior, providing reasons why someone does something. But philosophies are hard to pinpoint. My associate Eric Fain explained it this way to a client. “Because participants may not have verbalized a particular philosophy before being interviewed, they often make several attempts at explaining themselves. People speak colloquially and use phrases with ‘think’ or ‘believe’ in them as a way to soften an opinion or a simple explanation. Complaints can also be expressed similarly. For example, ‘I think our training program is not structured.'”
Take the time to think through what the user is saying. Try to avoid grabbing anything that has “believe” or “think” in it–more than likely the statement is an opinion, guess, conjecture, complaint, or statement of fact. Ask yourself the question, “Is this something the person thinks is going on, or is it something they know and hold as a guiding light in their life?”