September 2, 2020 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Where Does Discipline Fit In During Investigations? A TapRooT® TV Video Premiere

Discipline . . . are there times when discipline is the answer in an incident investigation? 

Marcus Miller discusses this critical topic with Benna Hughes today on TapRooT® TV. Blame is a quick and easy “go to” when something goes wrong due to a human making a mistake. Where there is blame, discipline often follows as a corrective action. But did you fix the actual issue? Did you stop it from ever happening again? 

Time is money, right? Caveat: Time is money when things go right and when they go wrong

While TapRooT® occasionally utilizes discipline as a corrective action that must mean it is sometimes effective, right?  But if you think about it, most people don’t do things wrong just for the heck of it unless somewhere they think it’s probably okay. Say, someone saw his coworker take a shortcut just the other day and his manager told him, “Job well done” for getting the task done so quickly.  

What if you choose to take a shortcut you’ve seen others do, but this time something went wrong and now operations have to be shut down (at a minimum)? Downtime is money too. You knew it was a shortcut, you knew you skipped a step in the procedure, but so does everyone else. 

What should the company do with you now that something bad happened?

If your company is great at enforcing its policies, you already know something negative will happen to you if you take a certain shortcut. There will be a consequence for not following the procedure, and your company always enforces it. If it’s your company, then you are likely to think twice before taking that shortcut. 

However, if you are at a company where people feel it’s okay to take shortcuts to get things done quicker (hoping all will be well and nothing bad will occur by taking that shortcut), it gets easier and easier within that company’s culture to take some shortcuts to get the job done. After all, other people do the same shortcut and they sometimes get a pat on the back!  But, this time something bad occurred. Are you at fault for taking a known shortcut, things going wrong, and now there’s a need for discipline? Not necessarily.

But is discipline effective in preventing future incidents? 

This topic is near and dear to Marcus Miller’s heart. Listen as he discusses how enforcing boundaries and policies along the way consistently can help deter people from taking the wrong actions to begin with. Then, if a shortcut is taken by an employee when there is a known constant—the negative response to that action—perhaps then, discipline might fit.  Even then, when we dig deep enough, we can probably still find a deeper cause. Taking time to investigate—performing an incident investigation—properly to get to the real root causes of why an incident happened is worth it! We can teach you how to do just that with TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Training. You’ll learn about impactful, effective corrective actions that eliminate the blame factor and its aftermath. 

After watching or listening on YouTube, Facebook Live, or via the TapRooT® podcast, read Marcus’ great article, “The Secret to Using Discipline Effectively.”

Join TapRooT® TV video premieres via YouTube or Facebook Live around 2:00 pm every Wednesday. If you cannot make the video premiere, access the video later on YouTube or Facebook Live, or access the TapRooT® podcast channel on iTunes, Stitcher, and more.

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Put the 2021 Global TapRooT® Summit on your team calendar

We’re excited about the keynote speakers and the new topics we will bring to you. The 2021 Global TapRooT® Summit will be in Knoxville, Tennessee, June 14 – 18. Take a look at the Pre-Summit courses, which will be June 14-15. Did we mention that registration for the Summit is now open? 


Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis
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