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4 months ago by Clive Dunne
Solving Work Problems

There will always be times in work when despite 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). This 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 including defining the problem, interviewing/data gathering, data mining, identification of a solution, implementation, checking effectiveness and standardising the solution. This is a powerful tool to master to help close out issues permanently, or at least to reduce the possibility of a reoccurrence to the 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 for 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 be a leader.