May 4, 2010 | Mark Paradies

TapRooT® Summit Returns 170% More Than a Regular Conference – What an Investment!


At some conferences, 90% of what you get is the networking. You meet some great people and take home some new “best practices” that you can apply at your facility.

At some conferences, 90% of what you get comes from the great keynote speakers. They inspire you to go back to work and accomplish even more.

At some conference, 90% of what you get is from the breakout sessions. The small group interactions, lessons learned, and best practice sharing in these smaller sessions can really be helpful in developing an improvement initiative.

Why can’t you have all three? Who knows. But finding all three together is really uncommon.

I attend a lot of conferences. Seven to ten a year. More than most people. (Who can afford the time?) But I do it to stay on top of the latest improvement initiatives. And here is what I’ve found. There is one conference that has all three every time it is held … The TapRooT® Summit.

You get the 90% networking and the 90% great keynote speakers and the 90% amazing breakout sessions that are the highlights of most conferences all in one conference.

That’s 90% + 90% + 90% = 270%!!!

170% more than your average conference.

Ok … You may think that Mark is going nuts. After all, what conference has 170% more than other conferences? Well then, lets look at each of the percentages for proof.


There are five Keynote Speakers at the 2010 TapRooT® Summit. Here’s a quick run down on what you will hear:


Part of the purpose of the Summit is to send you back to work inspired to to your best. Who is better to inspire you than Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot of the Miracle on the Hudson flight. As the Summit’s closing keynote speaker, Jeff will tell his amazing story that includes lessons of teamwork, adaptability, training, and preparation that helped them make it through that day. Don’t miss this chance to learn from his experience and shake his hand.


What does it take to keep young workers safe? Do these same lessons apply to all employees? That’s what you will hear about and think about when our opening keynote speaker, Candace Carnahan, tells her story. She learned a difficult lesson about safety at an early age. She will share that lesson with everyone at the Summit. It’s a message that anyone with young employees needs to hear. Don’t miss it!


Finding the root causes of your problems and developing effective fixes is only half the battle. If you want to really improve performance, you need to get the improvements implemented. That’s why I chose an improvement implementation expert, Don Harrison, to be a Keynote Speaker. He is President of Implementation Management Associates and the developer of the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM). And Don will speak about one of the most difficult aspects faced by people leading improvement efforts … Getting Sponsorship Right. So if you need senior management support for your improvement program and getting improvements implemented, you can’t afford to miss his talk.


Everyone knows that blame is counter productive when trying to improve performance. But what if you we a patient at a hospital and you were almost killed? The sentinel event required extensive rehab so that your life was disrupted for almost a year. Would you be empathetic? Or would you want to strike back? Would you sue over the error? What if the hospital didn’t seem to be telling you the truth? Would this make you mad? As an investigator of accidents, you often have to deal with people who are impacted by the accident – either those who were hurt or those who are being seen as “at fault.” That’s why you need to hear Linda Kenney’s story. You will hear see Linda eventually understood what happened, learned to work with those who “caused” the damage, and took this event and made it into something positive (for her and for the people who “caused” the damage she suffered). It’s an amazing story that will get you to think beyond just the root causes of an accident to the impact accidents can have on people.


I’ll be one of the Keynote Speakers at the 2010 TapRooT® Summit. And I’ll be talking about an important topic for all TapRooT® Users – Taking Improvement to the Next Level. Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to understand that many TapRooT® Users attend their initial TapRooT® Training and expect that that is all they need to do to have excellent root cause analysis and an outstanding performance improvement program. But those people are wrong. They have taken an important first step, but the journey is still at it’s beginning. To achieve excellence, they need to do more. And that’s what I’m going to share. The steps one must take to achieve excellence in their performance improvement journey using TapRooT®. If you are a TapRooT® User somewhere along your journey to excellence, don’t miss this keynote address. And if you don’t use TapRooT®? The lessons are just as applicable. Don’t miss this keynote address.

OK … I think this gets more than 90% … I think it gets 100%. But, being one of the speakers, I may be biased. What do you think?

NETWORKING   Networking04.jpg

I’ve had many TapRooT® Summit participants tell me that the networking at the TapRooT® Summit is the best they have every experienced at any conference they have ever attended. And I know the reason why. We work hard to make it the best networking conference on the planet.

What do we do? You’ll have to be there to experience it, but I’ll give you some clues.

First, we start out with a networking exercise to get each participant to meet a minimum of three new people that they share something in common with. I personally assign these introductions for every Summit participant.

BennaPhilAndFriends.jpg    DSCN0173_2.JPG

(Reception) (Golf)

Next, we sponsor two events – the Summit Reception and the Summit Golf – to help people get to meet even more folks on an informal basis. Both are great ways to find new friends.

Third, we even make lunch a networking event by letting you pick your favorite TapRooT® Instructor (or maybe a TapRooT® Instructor that you have never met) to sit with at lunch.

Fourth, several of the best practice sessions are organized to encourge even more networking.

Fifth, there really are great people to meet at the Summit. Speakers and participants alike! And because the Summit is not a “mega-conference” … you really can find people and meet them (and shake hands with and talk to speakers).

And finally, because we emphasize networking so much, everyone participates in it and makes it easy. Introductions happen spontaneously. If someone doesn’t know you, they ask who you are and what you do. And you will find meeting new people easier and more fun than you ever have before at any other conference.

How do I know that I’m right about the networking being so good? Listen to what just a few of the attendees had to say (and this is just a sample – double click each video to play):

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Do you agree that this deserves a 100% score (not just 90%)? I do. But read on…


When we first started planning Summits back in 1994, we worked to make each of the technical sessions full of new best practices, great ideas, and sharing of lessons learned. As the Summit developed over the years and additional tracks were added (there are 9 tracks this year), we have continued to make these sessions full of content that people interested in the topics of each track need.

Just look at these tracks and then see the Summit Schedule and look at the sessions in the track that you think you would like to attend the most and see how applicable the sessions are to your improvement efforts:

  1. Safety & Risk Management
  2. Behavior Change & Stopping Human Error
  3. TapRooT® Certified Instructor
  4. Investigation, Troubleshooting, & Root Cause Analysis
  5. Corrective Action Program
  6. Improvement Program
  7. TapRooT® Software Super Users
  8. Healthcare Quality, Patient Safety, & Sentinel Events
  9. Latin American TapRooT® Users

Wow! They are some great tracks aren’t they. But there’s more. You can mix and match to customize your Summit experience. You can pick from sessions from several tracks to develop Your Track – just like you want it.

But that’s not all. There are also “Special Topics” to choose from that are in addition to the sessions in the tracks. These Special Topics include:

  1. Prioritizing Improvements (Mark Paradies)
  2. What Does Management Need To Know About Root Cause Analysis (Kevin Palardy)
  3. Asset Management Best Practices (Heinz Bloch)
  4. Solving Equipment Reliability Problems (Heinz Bloch)
  5. Know the Law When Dealing with MSHA (Ken Scott)
  6. Sustainable Development (Dennis Osmer)
  7. PowerPoint Tips & Tricks (Ralph Brickey)
  8. Medical TapRooT® Instructor Update (Ed Skompski)

You can add these special topic sessions to your custom schedule to make the Summit even more significant to your improvement efforts.

To make this even more impressive, many of the speakers could have been Keynote Speakers. The problem is that we just have too many great speakers to fit them all into the five keynote slots. You might find dozens of the talks that are good enough to fill a Keynote slot, but here are some that I know would do the trick:

  • Bill Sirois: Measuring Fatigue Using FACT
  • Dr. John Grout: Using Mistake Proofing to Stop Human Error
  • Jennifer Mounce: Coaching Skills to Sustain Behavior Change
  • Brian Crawford: Lessons Learned about Human Factors & Generic Causes from Recent Airline Incidents
  • Karen West: Legal Aspects of Tap[RooT® Investigations
  • George Burk: Quality in Life & Work
  • Major General Doug Rob: High Performance Ideas for Leading Improvement
  • Brad Towe: Self Improvement for Your Future
  • Dr. Beverly Chiodo: Character Driven Success
  • Bill Nixon: Leading Successful Investigations: Drawing on UK Experience
  • Keith Recsky: Lifecycle of an Incident

And that’s just a sample. I can’t list them all or I’d list every session!

Again, don’t just take my word for it. Here is what people have to say about the quality of these sessions (in a .mp4 format video – double click to play):

Another 100%? I think so.

So maybe the formula should be:

100% + 100% + 100% = 300%

That makes the TapRooT® Summit 200% better than other conferences that you might attend.

That’s three times as good!

Even though you might not agree with my math … You get the idea.

So get the approvals you need and get signed up! You can’t afford to miss this Summit!

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