Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis (Video)

In medicine, it is critical that an accurate diagnosis be made so that the disease can be treated and not just the symptoms.  For example, if you go to a doctor with stomach pains and she simply gives you something to make the pain go away, it will not do you any good if you have cancer.  The cancer needs to be treated, not just the pain.

Also, the best treatment would depend upon the disease.  The treatment would be different if you had an ulcer or if you had cancer.  An accurate diagnosis is critical.

In business, root cause analysis is often used to determine why something went wrong.  In essence, the process involves determining what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again.  Of course, the same process can be used when good things happen.  Determine what happened, why it happened, and how to repeat the positive results.

Root cause analysis is very similar to making an accurate diagnosis.

These same concepts can be used in our personal and professional lives.  If we define what happened (or is not happening) and can pinpoint why, we can develop a plan to achieve the results we want.  The critical aspect is determining why.

It does not matter whether you want to look at the process as diagnosing what is happening in your life or as root cause analysis.  The important thing is that you do analyze what is happening and why.  You may need to ask yourself, “And why else” multiple times before you get a complete answer.  Once you do have a complete answer, act on the information.

You cannot make good decisions with bad or incomplete information.  Make sure your analysis is complete and that you have all the “whys” before developing a plan to address them. 

This can be painful as it may show that we have weaknesses that we do not want to admit.  But it is necessary to achieve the success we want.

Feelings, Rights, and Responsibilities

Feelings, Rights, and Responsibilities (Video)

We have the right to feel everything that we do.  Along with that right is the responsibility to express those feelings appropriately.

We have the right to feel all the positive emotions:  happiness, joy, excitement, accomplishment, and love, among others.  We also have the right to feel all the so-called negative emotions such as anger, hurt, despair, and grief. 

I do not like the term negative emotions.  All these emotions are just part of life.  I think we all go through them at some point in our lives.  If we do not, then maybe we have a problem feeling what we are meant to feel.  We cannot let these emotions control our lives, however.  We need to accept them, address them, and move on.

Along with these rights are responsibilities.  We have the right to feel anything and everything we do.  We also have the responsibility to express those feelings appropriately.

For example, we have the right to feel angry when someone does something to hurt us.  We have the right to tell that person how what he or she did affected us.  The responsibility comes in on how we tell him or her.  If we tell the person, with respect, what we feel and why, that is good.  We do not have the right to treat the person disrespectfully.  We do not have the right to yell at the person or call names.  We certainly do not have the right to physically harm the person.

What is considered appropriate depends on the situation.  If we want to cry our eyes out at home, that is fine, so long as we do not scare the children…or the pets.  It is not appropriate to do that in the workplace, however.

What is considered appropriate also depends upon the person.  What we say to an adult is different from what we say to a child, for example.  What we say to a stranger may be different from what we say to a friend.

Do not deny your feelings.  Do not stuff them deep inside of you and hope they will go way.  They will not.  They will just fester inside of you like an infection.  Before you express those feelings, however, think of the most appropriate way to do so under the circumstances.

Do you Make Things Happen, or Do You Wait for Things to Happen?

Make Things Happen (Video)

People that make things happen know what they want, they develop a plan to make it happen, they implement the plan, and they regularly evaluate their results.  If they are achieving the results they want, great.  If not, they reevaluate their plan, revise it as necessary, and implement the new plan.  They continuously do this.  Because of this, they make things happen.  They get what they want.

People that make things happen go after life, they go after what they want.  They also take full and complete responsibility for their life.

Other people may go through the motions of developing and implementing plans, but mostly they are waiting for things to happen.  They are waiting for someone else to do things for them, provide for them, care for them.  They are waiting for that perfect job or relationship to simply appear.  They are waiting for life to come to them.

What type of person are you?  Do you make things happen?  Or do you wait for things to happen?

I am proud to say that I am someone that makes things happen.  If you are, too, great!  If you are not, I suggest that you decide to become someone who makes things happen.  Personal and professional life is much fuller and more satisfying when you make the life you want rather than waiting for it to magically appear.  Even at Hogwarts, magic did not just happen.  Someone had to make it happen; someone had to wave a wand, incant a spell, or stir a potion.

Take control of your life and make things happen!

Write Your Epitaph

Write Your Epitaph (Video)

An exercise to help in goal setting is to write your own obituary.  When you pass away at age 80, 90, 100, or whatever you desire, what do you want your obituary to say?  What accomplishments do you want to have recorded?  What do you want people to say about you?

This can help you determine what your life goals are.  Once you know what your goals are, you can develop and implement a plan to achieve them.

A similar exercise, and one that may require more thought, is to write your epitaph.  What one sentence do you want on your grave marker to sum up who you were?  This can be harder to do because of the limited number of words.  It becomes necessary to distill your essence.  This describes you as a person, not necessarily your accomplishments.

I think this may be what I will want:  “Susan was a wise woman of integrity.”  I am not wise yet, although I do well with the integrity part.  I may change my mind as time goes on, but for now, I think striving for this is worthwhile.

What do you want your epitaph to be?