Author Archives: Barb Phillips

Friday Joke

Posted: February 17th, 2017 in Jokes

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What Does A Bad Day Look Like?

Posted: February 14th, 2017 in Accidents

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Friday Joke: You Matter

Posted: February 10th, 2017 in Jokes

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Learn how to separate the “noise” from the “facts”!

Posted: February 8th, 2017 in Courses

Dave Janney and I were in New Orleans recently for 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.   What did our course attendees have to say?  Check it out!

“I learned how to separate the ‘noise’ in an investigation from the facts.” ~ T. Choate

“The benefits are truly endless, and there is no one specific aspect I could point out that captures my thoughts.  On the other hand, one benefit that stands out is “consistency” based on the supporting elements of the Root Cause Tree. Too often I find subjectivity based on one’s ability to add to or take away from content of tool kits simply to derive their own outcomes.  TapRooT® invokes a method, a proven method at that, which ensure that consistent method and measures are used in every cause.” ~ J. McCartney

“All of the exercises were a benefit but it was especially helpful to relate the learned skills to a project specific to my organization.” ~ P. Hoewischer

Register today!  Choose a five day course here:  http://www.taproot.com/store/5-Day-Courses/

 

Remembering an Accident: Baia Mare Cyanide Spill

Posted: January 30th, 2017 in Accidents

On January 30, 2000, due to excessive amounts of snowfall a dam holding contaminated waters burst. This allowed 100,000 cubic meters of cyanide-contaminated water to spill over into farmlands and the Somes river. In addition to the cyanide, heavy metals were also poured into the rivers leaving a long-lasting negative affect on the environment, while contaminating the drinking water of 2.5 million Hungarians.

The spill had extreme consequences on the wildlife. On the Tisza stretch of the river, virtually all living animals were killed due to the contaminated water. On the Serbian section of the river 80% of all aquatic life was killed. Together the contaminated waters killed approximately 200 tons of fish and affected 62 species of fish, of which 20 are protected. The contamination was so bad that volunteers participated in removing the dead fish to prevent other wildlife from eating the fish and spreading the contamination through out the food chain.

To read more about the wildlife disaster please click on the link below.

http://archive.rec.org/REC/Publications/CyanideSpill/ENGCyanide.pdf

Major disasters are often wake-up calls for how important it is to ensure that they never happen again.

TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis is taught globally to help industries avoid them. Check out our global schedule at:

http://www.taproot.com/courses

3 Reasons a SnapCharT® is Essential to Evidence Collection

Posted: January 17th, 2017 in Root Cause Analysis Tips

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Click learn more about the power of a SnapCharT®

If you’re a TapRooT® User, you know that drawing a SnapCharT® is the first step in your investigation whether it is for a low-to-medium risk incident or a major Investigation.  What is a SnapCharT®? It is a timeline of events, a fact-finding tool that helps an investigator understand what happened.

So why is a SnapCharT® essential to evidence collection?  Here are three reasons:

  1. It is an investigator’s duty to support all the facts discovered on the SnapCharT® with evidence. Otherwise, the timeline is simply an assumption of events. One of the primary reasons investigators run into problems determining causal factors is because the sequence of events they developed was not supported by evidence.
  2. A SnapCharT® is a planning tool for evidence collection.  It helps organize and understand what information is readily available and what needs to be collected immediately.
  3. A SnapCharT® helps an investigator establish a list of potential witnesses to interview.  Also, instead of starting interviews with the generic, “Tell me what happened,” investigators can ask questions right off of their SnapCharT®s.

These are only three ideas about how you can use a SnapCharT® for evidence collection.  Did you know we offer a 2-day course on all of the advance techniques of evidence collection and interviewing? Learn about it here.

We also have a new book, Evidence Collection and Interviewing Techniques to Sharpen Investigation Skills that will be released soon.  Would you like to be added to the waiting list?  Contact me at phillips@taproot.com and I will let you know as soon as it is added to our online store.  Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in holding the course at your facility.  As a co-developer of the course, I can answer your questions and help you determine if it’s a good fit.

How Far Away is Death?

Posted: December 29th, 2016 in How Far Away Is Death?

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20% of high school football players in the United States suffer brain injuries in any given season.  60-75% of concussions occur during practice (only 3% of concussions occur during NFL practices).

(Read more in the Chicago Tribune.)

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Monday Motivation: Seek Inspiration

Posted: December 26th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Don’t get caught in a rut. Inspiration can be found everywhere. Every day, seek inspiration, and it will help sustain your motivation over the long term. Sources of inspiration can include: blogs, online success stories, forums, friends and family, magazines, books, quotes, music, and photos.

Where can you find inspiration? Set a purpose to seek it regularly, and watch your life and goals become energized!

How Far Away is Death?

Posted: December 22nd, 2016 in How Far Away Is Death?

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Read more at ConsumerMedSafety.org.

Monday Motivation: Visualize your goal

Posted: December 19th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Post a picture of your goal someplace where you will notice it daily — near your desk or on your refrigerator. Visualize your goal exactly how you think it will look when you’ve achieved it. Focus on that picture to keep you motivated over the long term.  Once you lose focus, you lose motivation. Having something visual to keep bringing your focus back to your goal will help keep your motivationstrong.

What picture can you post today to keep a visualization of what achieving your goal will look like? Post it!

Monday Motivation: Keep hope alive!

Posted: December 12th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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No matter how bleak things look, keep hope alive. It is your connection to get your dreams and expectations realized. Never lose your grip on the rope of hope.

What are you allowing to slip through your hands today? Renew your hope!

Monday Motivation: Habit

Posted: December 5th, 2016 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Wisdom Quote

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Good or bad, what you do every day will turn into a habit. Choose habits that will lead you to success. Over time, they will become automatic, not requiring thought, attention or effort.

What habit can you commit to today that will contribute to your success?

Thank You Notes Can Give You A Boost

Posted: December 1st, 2016 in Career Development

This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com  or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

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I’ve heard it said many times that a person’s memory is a direct reflection of the type of life they have lived. If that’s true, and I believe it is, then I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life. Thank you to all here and those passed, who’ve given me many wonderful memories.

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder

Several human resources and etiquette professionals suggest that a handwritten note after an interview is more than a courtesy—the job could depend on it. I believe the same strategy is applicable when you send a handwritten “Thank you” to a conference organizer and host(s) and/or someone who invited you to their home for dinner; they’ve gone “above and beyond” to help or did you a favor, etc. The examples are almost endless.

“As a kid, I lived in a fantasy world. I used to believe that ants could talk. Not once did they say thank you.” Willard Wigan

The job interview you waited on for months is over and you think it went extremely well. But, before the position is offered to you, there’s one more important step you should complete—it’s one that I know is overlooked by the majority of people today: write and mail a handwritten thank you note to the interviewer and anyone else you met at the organization who played a role in your being interviewed.

That may sound obvious to some job applicants—especially younger job applicants—who’ve learned to believe and accept that a simple “Thanks” via a text or email is sufficient. No so, career experts suggest.

We’ve become captives of today’s rapid, convenient and quick–fix technology. Technology of the 21st Century has created the culture of texting and e-mailing the communications normal of today. Even for work, most people accept the notion that this is a valid way to express their gratitude after a job interview, says Colleen Rickenbacher, a Dallas-based etiquette expert. “Absolutely not,” says Rickenbacher, a certified protocol consultant and author of “The Big Book of People Skills Games.” “A nice, short handwritten thank you is appropriate and necessary,” she says.

“Feeling good about your life but not expressing a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ is like wrapping a gift for someone and never giving it to them.” Chip Conley

Before my presentations to the senior Midshipmen at the Capstone Character Excellence Program, United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, I place my business cards on the tables in front of each Midshipman’s chair.

After my introduction, I mention my business cards and that I’ll tell them why I did it later. Towards the end of my presentation, I share my strategy: when they attend a seminar or conference, they should walk-in with a hand full of their business cards and leave with handful of business cards from people they meet. Make a note on the card when and where they met and follow-up later with a thank you note. I urge the Midshipmen to make this a part of their overall personal and professional strategy. I know from experience, the majority of people don’t do this today. I also suggest they write a “Thank you” when invited to someone’s home for dinner, when an author gives them a signed copy of his/her book, someone gives or sends them an unexpected a gift or writes them a professional recommendation. These are but a few examples. To me, it’s important to send some type of “Thank you” note be it hand-written, email or as a last resort, a text.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say “Thank you.” In between, the leader is a servant.” Max de Pree

Life’s ‘funny’ as in serendipitous. You never know when you might meet the person(s) again. One day, they may your boss or sit on a promotion board…you may meet them again at the most unlikely location or time…leave them with a good impression of you. It can’t hurt, it will only help. It only takes a few minutes to write, stamp and mail a thank you note. Most of your cohorts and majority of others don’t do it. It’s a lost art.

Scottsdale, Arizona trainer Ed Scannell says, ”If a prospective employee cannot take the few minutes to handwrite a thank-you note on nice stationary, then he or she may not necessarily be the best candidate when it comes to common courtesy and good customer service.” He says that a handwritten note could be the deciding factor when several people seem equally qualified for the position.

Scannell remembers when he served as the executive vice president of a national professional association in the process of hiring a new meeting planner. Several candidates did well in the interviews. “When we did make our selection, I know for certain that one person who did send us a handwritten thank you note made an even better impression and did get the job,” he said.

“I can count on one hand the number of people who wrote me as thank you letter after having an interview, and I gave almost all of them a job.” Kate Reardon

Some managers, however, don’t automatically dismiss a candidate who sends a thank-you by e-mail. Laurel Strasshofer, human resources professional said, “Texting is too casual. But e-mail is acceptable and appropriate since we do so much work on our computers.” But, she accepts that thank you notes carry more weight because they indicate an employee likely will follow up on the details associated with their job. “A thank you note that’s mailed impresses me and shows they have interest in working here,” she says.

Even if a prospective employee sends a handwritten note and wasn’t hired or the right fit for the position, the extra effort could pay dividends later. “It adds a little something,” she says. “I would remember the candidate if another position came up that was a better fit.”

“I think about what has touched me in the notes I’ve received from people. I try to just let my heart speak and not worry that I’m being ‘gushy’ or ‘over the top.’ When you’re sincere, I don’t think you can be.” Thank you advice from a longtime Hallmark writer.

Several months ago, I read a short article in the “Arizona Republic Newspaper.” The article addressed our society’s growing psychological reliance on communications technology. Several psychologists stated they’re concerned that people are losing the ability to effectively communicate verbally and via the handwritten word because of their reliance on electronic communications. People will lose the ability to communicate face-to-face and how to write the syntax in a sentence that makes sense. The “LMOA” and other abbreviations used in texting are not acceptable! (For safety’s sake, please don’t use your cell phone or text while driving and while refueling your car. The life you save…may be mine!)

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one today to say ‘Thank you?’” William Arthur Ward

A few tips for thank you notes:
The “3-3-3” policy—Take three minutes to write a note, use three lines to thank the person for their time and send the note within three days.

The look—Notes should be professional looking, fold-over note/cards in a solid color with matching envelopes. Nothing loud or “cutesy.” I developed a blue grey card and blue fonts that match my business card in color. On the card, my name is across the top, the quote on my business card is under my name and at the bottom of the card are my toll free and cell phone numbers and my web site.

The writing—Write the note on the inside of the card. I use the front of the card and sometimes continue on the back. If you don’t have neat, legible cursive, it’s okay to print. This gets tricky for me. My cursive (my scrawl) often times requires interpretation and so does my print. My one functional hand doesn’t always respond well. But…I write my notes anyhow.

Example: “Thank you so much for inviting me to interview for your open account specialist position. I truly appreciate the time you took to talk with me about this opportunity and the company. I enjoyed learning more about your work group and how I might fit into the team. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any follow-up questions you might have. I hope to talk with you again soon.”

The envelope—Color contrast it with the note paper. Double and triple check all spelling, titles and the address.  I have a pre-made stamp with my/our name, address and city, state and zip code.

“Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive me (us) if I (we) don’t do not love it enough.” Garrison Keillor

One final note: I over the past 45 years, I’ve tried to write a thank you note to the many who’ve helped me on my journey and to my hosts, those who’ve read my books, interviewed me, published my articles and others who’ve been gracious, kind and thoughtful. Thank you to my hosts who’ve invited me to speak at various venues. Thank you to those who’ve invited me into their lives, homes, and for their friendship. Each of you has helped me realize my purpose.

Thank you!

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