July 3, 2019 | Mark Paradies

The “Root Cause Whisperer”

Root Cause Whisperers

Do you need to understand the “weak signals” that your plant is sending through your operating experience? Then you need to be a “root cause whisperer.” This article discusses:

  • What makes someone a whisperer.
  • How a root cause whisper can be missed.
  • How to hear a root cause whisper.

Read on to learn more…

The Dog Whisperer

You probably have heard of the “horse whisperer” or the “dog whisperer.” You probably don’t know much about the deep understanding of horses or dogs that is required to analyze specific horse or dog behavior problems and develop effective techniques to modify their behavior and achieve success.

What does this have to do with root cause analysis and industrial processes?

Just like the horse or dog whisperers have a deep understanding of animals, you can develop a deep understanding of industrial processes and operational excellence that helps you identify industrial performance problems, identify the problem’s root causes, and fix the root causes with effective corrective actions IF you listen to the process (the whispers). Let’s call people who are able to do this “root cause whisperers.”

A Root Cause Whisper Can Be Missed

Those who don’t understand industrial processes talk about “detecting weak signals.” They think the signals are weak because they don’t understand the feedback of industrial processes.

However, to “root cause whisperers,” the term “weak signal” is a misnomer.

The horse/dog whisperers don’t find the signals from animals “weak.” Instead, once they understand animals well, the signals are obvious.

The same is true for those who understand process safety, human factors, equipment reliability, and operational excellence. Process problems, poor safety cultures, and failures to implement effective corrective actions aren’t “weak signals.” Instead, the facility’s operating history is shouting to anyone who will listen that there is a problem (or several problems) that needs to be corrected. If you are attuned to this feedback, the answers (corrective actions) can be just as obvious!

If the answers are obvious, why do so many managers, supervisors, and engineers miss the signals being transmitted by industrial processes? Because there is so much that one needs to know to hear the industrial plant signals.

How To Hear a Root Cause Whisper

Would you like to hear industrial root cause whispers? We can teach you how. Don’t miss “weak signals” – learn to analyze incidents and find their real root causes.

How? Simple. TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis.

We developed the TapRooT® System to make human performance, equipment reliability, and operational excellence problems understandable (you can hear the whispers).

How did we do it?

First, we got the fundamentals right. We brought together the science of human factors engineering, equipment reliability, and process safety together into a set of tools that can be used to understand problems, find their root causes, and develop effective fixes.


SECOND, we built the tools into a process [actually two processes – one for simple incidents (above) and one for major investigations (below)] that helps investigators apply the tools consistently.

THIRD, we made the processes and tools easy to use and provided software that makes everything even easier to use. Complexity is the enemy of good root cause analysis. So we avoided needless complexity. We set the perfect level of simplicity to make the system simple but not too simple. (See why you need to avoid over-simplicity here.)

Plus, we made the software easy to connect to other ES&H and Quality Software using our API and providing hosting to simplify the software implementation.

FOURTH, we continuously improve the TapRooT® System and Software to make it better each year. And we help you get better by sharing best practices at the annual Global TapRooT® Summit.

But the best way to fully understand how TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis can help you hear the “whispers” is to attend one of our advanced root cause analysis courses.

The 2-Day TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training is for those that want to learn the essential techniques that will help them investigate “precursor” incidents. See the upcoming public 2-Day TapRooT® Courses at this link:


The 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training is for those who investigate precursor incidents and may have to also investigate major accidents. It teaches the essential techniques PLUS advanced/optional tools and skills needed for a major investigation. See the upcoming public 5-Tay TapRooT® Courses at this link:


Don’t wait. If you miss the whispers (real root causes), your corrective actions won’t be effective, and you risk major accidents (because you didn’t correct the precursors). Get registered TODAY!

Root Cause Analysis, Root Cause Analysis Tips
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