There will always be times in work when despite your best efforts things are
just going completely wrong and not according to plan. If you take the time
out to study exactly what has happened, you will usually see a pattern to it
and in that pattern is always a recipe for improvement or a signal to change direction and quickly.
Nine times out of 10 what went wrong could have been avoided no matter how
you dress it up. In the manufacturing industry they use what’s called Root
Cause Analysis or Root Cause Fault Analysis (RCA or RCFA) which arose in the
1950’s out of a study by NASA to seek reasons as to why things went wrong at
a fundamental level, at the root. It’s a super tool and one that will benefit the
whole organisation if used effectively.
You don’t just presume why things went wrong at face value, well you can but
this is a sure way of ensuring they will keep happening. There is a technique to
be followed that involves 12 steps from defining the problem, interviewing or
data gathering, data mining, identification of a solution, implementation,
effectiveness to standardising the solution. This is a powerful tool to master
to close out issues permanently or at least to reduce the possibility of re-occurrence to a very minimum.
Problems are put before us to enable us to grow. No matter how difficult the
lesson, there is always something to be learned from it. Even if we don’t identify
the root cause of a problem, just deciding to investigate the problem is a mammoth
step in the right direction to mind-set improvement. Taking this step means that
you are no longer saying it just happened, you are no longer saying what can I do
about it, you are now saying that yes it happened but it bloody won’t happen again
on my watch. Conducting yourself with this mind-set is a key ingredient to success
at work and certainly an important trait you must possess to lead.