June 4, 2014 | Barb Carr

Root Cause Tip – What Should Managers Know About Root Cause Analysis?

Hello and welcome to this week’s root cause tip.

Root Cause Analysis is no different than any other program at your company in that it requires management support. And to get support you must first have understanding.

In a perfect world, managers understand root cause analysis because they have been trained, so the best thing you can do is convince them to attend training. If you are having an onsite TapRooT® course, open it to more people, including managers. Even those who might not actually do investigations should understand the process and how root causes were determined, that way when they see a report later they will understand. A two day TapRooT® course would be fine for managers in that situation.

If you can’t convince them to attend, show them an example of a completed investigation and how you drove the evidence down to root cause and got to corrective actions. If you can show how you solved an important and/or ongoing problem, that will make your case much stronger. Which brings me to another point; sometimes you have to show people that you do have problems that need to be solved, so use your metrics to do that. Incidents, near misses, audit findings, hazard reports, and many other sources of data are available to you to make the case. If people do not see a compelling reason to change, they won’t.

Managers must also understand that blame and discipline is like fixing your problems one person at a time. Until you can show them to how to get to the true root cause level, they might not understand this.

Managers speak the language of money. If they understand just how much money is being saved by improving, they will be your advocates.

Managers should also understand how root cause analysis ties in to the organization’s goals; maybe it is cost reduction or maybe it is a key metric other than money. Show how your efforts make a difference.

This is food for thought but more so a call to action. Tell your managers today how important root cause analysis is, educate them, and enlist their support. You will be glad you did. Thanks for reading this week’s root cause analysis tip, and happy investigating.

Root Cause Analysis
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