January 13, 2010 | Dave Janney

Root Cause Analysis Tips – Staying Current, Improving, and Leveraging Partnerships

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to this week’s root cause analysis tips column.

If you have been to a TapRooT® course, you may remember that in our opening comments, we talk about theory and the reasons businesses need advanced root cause analysis using an expert system; we say “the changing world of work requires advanced root cause analysis.” What is interesting about that statement is that if you think about it, people (i.e. human nature) really have not changed that much over thousands of years; their motivation and behaviors are very consistent. However, the work environment HAS changed; just think about the last 100 years. In fact, just think about the last 20 years; the change we have seen has been unbelievable. Our systems have to evolve with the times, and we as individuals need to continue to build our knowledge and effectiveness. It is not easy, and that is what I wanted to talk about today.

First of all, how do I continuously improve my organization’s use of TapRooT®? If you have been to a course and started using the system, you have become comfortable and have been seeing results. But don’t get too comfortable, there is still work to be done! First of all, have you read the TapRooT® book? If not, go read it! I can guarantee you will learn some things that will help you, and for those of you that are long time users, it will be a great refresher. Next, do you and other trained users share your investigations and audits to put another set of eyes on them and get feedback? This is a great way to help each other and sharpen your skills. Do you consistently follow the process and always use the Root Cause Tree® Dictionary and Corrective Action Helper®? The more disciplined you are, the better your results will be, and the time you spend in the dictionary and helper will sharpen your knowledge of the best practices available to you as part of the expert system. Finally, if you are very effective in your area, how else can the organization benefit? Is the organization fully integrated? Do safety, environment, quality, regulatory compliance, security, continuous improvement, production, and reliability groups all use TapRooT®? If not, think about how you can expand the company’s use of a system that has provided results to your group. If you need help thinking about ways to expand TapRooT® in the organization, give us a call.

Now that we talked about using TapRooT® in your organization, let’s get personal. What are you doing to expand your knowledge and your network? I believe this is very important. What kind of industry groups do you belong to? What kinds of publications do you subscribe to? What blogs do you visit (in addition to this one!) Have you planned recurrent or new training and conference attendance for this year? Do you need another certification to advance your career? Do you have peers from your and other organizations you can bounce ideas off of or just ask for help? It is amazing what you can learn from meeting people in your business/discipline and other businesses/disciplines. In fact, you might learn more from someone outside your world than from within it! All of these things I mentioned take time and effort, some of them are free, and some cost money. But they can all work for you if done properly.

By the way, before I close, are you a member of Linkedin? If not, you should join! Get connected to your peers. Join some groups, and monitor the discussions. This is free and you have access to some really smart people. All of us at System Improvements have profiles, so invite us to connect! And join the TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Users and Friends Linkedin group! We want to make this a forum for all of us to discuss TapRooT® and other important topics, and we can only do that if you are onboard! Please join us.

I hope some of what I’ve talked about has given you some things to think about and more importantly, take action on. After all, the “changing world of work” requires it! Best wishes for your improvement efforts this year. Let us know how we can help.

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