Have you ever questioned or wondered why some issues, problems and challenges do not seem to improve or get better? This is almost similar to throwing darts at a dart board and never seeming to hit the ‘bulls eye’ to score the higher points.
Have you ever pulled weeds from your lawn or yard but only tear off the top without removing the root, only to have the weeds grow back fairly quickly?
When either of these things happen, do you feel frustrated?
“Root Cause Analysis” is a fundamental to good business and management.
This is easy to understand business fundamental is used to; solve issues, problems and challenges PLUS used to understand customers and clients, sales, customer service, marketing, promotions and marketing communications.
Simply you keep asking “What caused this or that, until you get to the ‘root cause’ and the beginning of what set all in motion.
There can be a few levels or situations to get to the original cause or there can be many levels or situations that set up a chain of events.
Let me give you a simple example.
A company or business has a problem with employees taking off early in the afternoon and going home early, especially on nice warm sunny days.
Supervisors and managers complain to HR Human Resources that more employee penalties and discipline for such behavior need to be established.
A very intelligent HR manager walks around the company asking employees about the situation and what is causing this. (This is referred to as MBWA ‘Managing By Walking Around’ asking for ideas & insights & suggestions)
The employees tell the HR that they are getting wet paint on their clothes some days and go home early to change clothes and try to get the paint off their clothes.
The HR then visits the company’s maintenance supervisor to ask about the painting.
The supervisor says they must keep all looking good and HR should talk with the painters.
The HR speaks with the painters to ask why there is so much painting and why more ‘Wet Paint’ signs are not being used.
The painters tell the HR that the supply department does not have enough ‘Wet Paint’ signs, often painting does not get a ‘Wet Paint’ posted.
The HR visits the supply department supervisor to ask why ‘Wet Paint’ signs are not available. They say that the painters never tell them when they will be painting, how much to be painted and how many ‘Wet Paints’ signs are needed in advance, so they run out often.
The HR goes back to the painters and ask about why they are not telling the supply department in advance how many ‘Wet Signs‘ are needed or will be needed in advance.
The painters say they never know what they will be painting in advance and how many signs will be needed.
The smart, intelligent, intuitive HR manager who now feels like a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ asks the painters if there are any special times common where more painting is needed and where.
The painters reply that the most busy times is during nice warm sunny days.
The HR manager logically asks, “Inside or Outside?”
The painters say, “Outside”.
This smart HR manager then asks, “Where outside and what?”
The painters then say “the outside benches where employees sit for lunch and break times.
The HR manager walks outside looking for the benches where the employees often go sit for lunch and break times.
At the end of a walking path are several benches and very close-by is a neighboring golf course and a tee off where golfer start their new fairway and holes to play.
There, the HR manager sees wooden benches with nicks and paint scratched off caused by the golfers’ shoes with cleats from putting their shoes up on the benches for a variety of reasons.
Yes, and there some employees are sitting for their break and eating lunch
This intelligent, insightful ‘Sherlock Homes’ HR manager now knows the ‘Root Cause’ of the issue and problem and what solution is.
The HR manager buys some metal benches that does not scratch and does not need painting and replaces the wood benches in addition to adding more metal benches in other key areas for the employees to sit.
So, the ‘root cause’ of the problem was NOT the employees leaving work early for personal rest reasons, NOT needing more employee penalties & discipline for leaving work early, NOT the maintenance supervisor, NOT the painters, NOT the supply department and NOT the lack of ‘Wet Paint’ signs.
The ‘root cause’ was the wooden benches needing replaced with metal benches that do not need painting and adding additional metal benches as well in other key areas.
Just as this HR manager, they kept asking, ‘Well what caused this?”: And kept asking this until they discovered the “Root Cause’ that started the string of events leading up to the problem.
If the problem or issue comes back, you need to continue asking “Well, what caused this and continue asking this until the ‘Root Cause’ is discovered.
The same approach is used to understand customer and client needs and issues. “What causes this & why?” And keep asking down the chain of events until the ‘root cause’ is discovered and clearly understood.
This is utilized in business and management for all types business no matter of size or location.
This is a fundamental for good business and for good management.
In this short article, you now have a road map on how to achieve this easily, accomplish it quickly and do it cost affectively.
What you missed?
By Michael Marshall – Michael Marshall has 30 years of business experience advancing from field level early in his business career up to senior leadership levels in many markets and industries. He also teaches internationally at university level. His continual education and learning includes a PhD in business and over 40 professional advanced business certifications that he constantly updates. Michael is a life-time learner that continually seeks out new additional knowledge and experience.