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.

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