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7 habits to ruin your Root Cause Analysis (and how to avoid them)

Complex problems in your technical systems might appear less complex, if your facilitators were able to keep it simple. These 7 habits stand in the way of keeping it simple!

Complex problems in your technical systems might appear less complex, if your facilitators were able to keep it simple. But in a complex world we expect problems to be complex and therefore we create complex approaches even for simple problems. The problem is that you might not be aware of that in the beginning.

A skilled facilitator will recognize the following tedious situations:

  1. Start with testing and investigations to ‘find out what is the case’. When there is no prove of the root cause, these actions might alter the situation and make it more complex. It diverts from finding the root cause.
  2. Brainstorm all root causes will bring up a lot of ideas, opinions and convictions. People will expect to be taken seriously and therefore there is a large amount of work to be done with no relation to the root cause of your problem.
  3. Explain what you know to avoid the truth that you don’t know the root cause of this specific problem. Of course it is alright to expose your knowledge to fill in the blanks of your problem. But therefore, you have to determine those spots in the first place. By asking the right questions.
  4. Ignore knowledge and experience from the shop floor. Their point of view is narrowed. But this is true for all fellow workers, you all have a specific perspective that is why you have to cooperate. Probably people speak a different language. A skilled facilitator will address this effectively. 
  5. Involve all important staff and management. You don’t want to oversee any perspective and use all knowledge and experience. They might be useful in making decisions. But what is their role in finding the root cause?
  6. Jumping to conclusions. As long as these conclusions turn out to be right, no problem. You can call it professionalism. But if not, if conclusions do not meet the facts, it is plain stupid. A skilled facilitator will always ask for facts and proof before drawing conclusions.
  7. Jumping to solutions. This sounds so reasonable: of course we have this problem, because we don’t have this great solution to solve it. It is a logical pitfall to phrase a problem in terms of a missing solution.

A skilled RCA facilitator will avoid these problems. The facilitator will use a proven approach and he or she will be able to make everyone understanding the problem and agrees with every next step.

In a complex world in which knowledge is fragmented experts have to cooperate in multidisciplinary teams. To enhance the effectiveness of these teams a skilled facilitator is key. “Root Cause Analysis (RCA) Facilitator Training” will boost your awareness of the pitfalls and skills to be more successful in business and in your career.

Find out more about CoThink's RCA Facilitator training here (Dutch) and here (English)

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