February 9, 2011 | Ken Reed

Root Cause Analysis Tip: Does Management Agree With Your Investigation?

So … you’ve completed your investigation.  You’ve run through the TapRooT® process, using the SnapCharT® to gather your information, the Root Cause Tree® to find unbiased root causes, and the Corrective Action Helper® to develop effective corrective actions.  You turn in your report, feeling pretty confident about your results.  The phone rings and your boss says:

This isn’t what I was looking for.  We need to make some changes.

Why did your investigation not meet your manager’s expectations?  Does this mean that your boss isn’t interested in unbiased results?  Is he not satisfied with your methodology?  Or is it possible that you just need to do a better job communicating the process to your boss?  Here are some ideas that will ensure that your final result is what is expected from your investigation.

  1. Make sure you are investigating what management wants you to investigate. When you start your SnapCharT®, the first step is to define the Incident.  This means that you and your management team define and agree on the Incident.  This sets the scope of your investigation and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
  2. If this investigation takes more than a few hours, provide periodic status updates. Keep to the facts, but let managers know what direction you think your investigation is going.  Let them know of any delays and new information that develops.  Most people aren’t impressed by an “amazing” revelation that is sprung on them by way of the report!
  3. Review corrective action recommendations with key managers whose departments are responsible for implementation. Get buy-in from them before submitting your corrective action recommendations.  This will avoid push-back from that direction.
  4. Confirm you have evidence for all of your findings. A root cause that is not backed up by evidence on your SnapCharT® will be (and should be) questioned by your management team.  It will be very difficult for managers to question a root cause when you can point to the applicable Dictionary® definition, supported by specific pieces of evidence on your SnapCharT®.
  5. Ensure your management team understands the TapRooT® process. Once they see how you arrive at unbiased, accurate root causes, they are much less likely to question your results.  Even your legal team will be more comfortable with your results if they understand that your results are not based on opinion or “gut feel,” but only on evidence-based facts.  Well-trained management can be a huge advantage when reviewing your results.

Whether it is a simple 1-hour near-miss investigation or a 2-month multiple-injury investigation, these tips will help you ensure that your investigation results are agreed to and approved by those that review your report.

To learn more about performing investigations that management will agree with, sign up for a 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training Course.  If you took our 2-day course, you learned the valuable essentials, but the 5-day will develop you as an internal coach and empower you with skills to lead difficult investigations as well as present well-organized findings to management.

Learn more on our 5-day course webpage.

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