March 12, 2023 | Marcus Miller

The TapRooT® System and the 5 HOP Principles

angry manager

I’ve heard people mention that they like TapRooT® System better than HOP or vice versa. I want to explain why it’s not an either/or choice. The easiest way to do that (and as human performance experts, we know saving time and effort motivates us all), let’s go through the 5 HOP principles and see how the TapRooT® System enhances HOP

  1. People Make Mistakes: Duh, of course, we do. Those mistakes are what we need to analyze so we can find the root causes/system weaknesses that allowed poor human performance. The TapRooT® System provides a standardized process and multiple RCA tools built on human performance expertise. The SnapCharT® and the TapRooT® Causal Factor Worksheets will help teams identify and understand the mistakes people make that directly cause an incident or allow the final outcome to be worse. (More on the TapRooT® SnapCharT® Tool) (More on Causal Factor Worksheets)
  2. Blame Fixes Nothing: Again, we know this. The human performance questions in the TapRooT® Root Cause Tree® Dictionary focus us on the SYSTEMS the person was working under when they made the mistake. The SYSTEMS that possibly failed them and allowed the mistake to happen. The questions do NOT focus on the PERSON who makes mistakes. Those questions eliminate blame and bias from the investigation because the focus is on the systems and not on people. (Want a success story on eliminating blame?)
  3. Context Drives Behavior: That is so true! We all are motivated by saving time, saving effort, and how the rules of systems are enforced. The questions in the Root Cause Tree Dictionary® are designed to find the context that drove the behavior that led to a mistake. As the investigators create a TapRooT® SnapCharT® using the evidence they collect, the context around each mistake emerges. The SnapCharT® also helps eliminate blame. It helps us understand that we probably would have done the same thing if we were in their shoes. Context matters!
  4. Learning and Improving are vital: The entire reason we invest in the people and resources necessary for investigations is to make sure incidents and problems do not happen again. We save lives and improve the business. Every TapRooT® Investigation leads to continuous improvement. Root causes are simply the absence of best practices or knowledge in the current system that would have prevented the mistake. (See definition of root causes) All we have to do is to insert a best practice or knowledge into our systems with corrective actions to improve the systems and better support human performance.
  5. How Leaders Respond to Failure is Important: Leaders must understand what to expect out of the investigation process and be able to challenge their teams when they suggest less effective corrective actions like rewriting policies and procedures, retraining people, and disciplining people who make mistakes. Those are all blame-oriented corrective actions and send the wrong message. It tells their people they aren’t smart enough or good enough to do the work without making mistakes. Leaders who don’t challenge the less effective corrective actions miss the chance to make impactful changes that lead to better human performance. The TapRooT® System gives your investigators a Corrective Action Helper® that provides corrective action ideas for every root cause that leads to poor human performance taking them beyond rewriting policies, retraining, or disciplining people. (More on the Corrective Action Helper® Guide)

The TapRooT® System will give your HOP team a systematic process for identifying and analyzing the mistakes people make. That’s what is missing from HOP. Your teams only have their own experience and knowledge when identifying and analyzing mistakes. The TapRooT® System will give them tools to uncover the context around mistakes and the human performance questions to ask. Those questions will help them identify the missing best practices or knowledge that would have helped prevent the mistake. The Corrective Action Helper® will help them create more impactful corrective actions that improve the systems that are supporting people’s performance.

Our Global TapRooT® Summit is coming up on April 26-28, and the pre-Summit Courses are on April 24-25. We are offering a session focusing on HOP users and how to apply the TapRooT® System to enhance your results. (All the TapRooT® Summit details.) Also, consider attending the Stopping Human Error Course (one of the pre-Summit Courses).

If you would like to see how the TapRooT® System works in more detail, please contact to schedule a Briefing and Demonstration over a web meeting.

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