The Power Of Root Cause Analysis-wetnwild

Business As I write this article I’m presently suffering from sciatica. It is a common condition that is estimated to affect millions of people every day. Although it is accepted that the condition and spinal problems are linked identifying the true cause of the pain is made difficult because the pain associated with sciatica is not always accompanied by back pain. To complicate matters not all back problems give rise to sciatica. My first reaction was to reach for painkillers. They worked, but only for a short time. I then bought a Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine to ease my pain. Again, this helped but did not cure my problem. A visit to my doctor identified the real problem. Subsequently I have been visiting a physiotherapist who is treating me by working on my lower back; a part of me that has no pain. You might be forgiven for wondering how this article is linked to business leadership or management. Allow me to continue in order to answer your question. Sciatic pain is an example of synalgia or ‘referred’ pain. In other words, the cause of the pain is somewhere other than where the pain is being experienced and, as any doctor will tell you, the only permanent way to deal with any symptom is to treat the underlying cause of the problem. Have you worked it out yet? People in organisations spend a lot of their time solving problems. Unfortunately, many solve the wrong problem and find that the problem they thought they had solved comes back at some point in the future. The motto should be "If you work on the wrong problem you will get the wrong solution." Now do you get it? No? Let me explain by referring to a classic problem faced by the Parks Department in Washington D.C. A few years ago National Parks managers noticed the Jefferson Memorial was crumbling at an alarming rate. As this was a monument to one of its founding fathers people were greatly concerned. The authorities did some brainstorming to identify potential causes and came up with several; poor construction, defective materials, too many tourists, pollution and subsidence to name but a few. In order to ‘solve’ the problem there was talk of moving the memorial away from its location near a main highway, coating it with a Teflon substance and covering it with a huge dome that would be opened to let people in. So, just why was it crumbling? Fortunately someone understood the importance of root cause analysis and found out that the memorial was being washed daily; far more often than other memorials. For most people the analysis would stop here. The solution is clear, right? Adjust the cleaning schedule to match those of the other memorials, use softer brushes or less aggressive chemicals. Any of these actions would have only led to a very dirty Jefferson Memorial. So, why did it need to be washed on a daily basis? When parks managers asked this question they found it had an exceptionally large amount of pigeon droppings deposited on it every day. What’s the solution now? Put bird scarers in the trees that line the memorial? Kill the pigeons? Ask them to leave? So, why were the pigeons there in such large numbers seeming to soil the Jefferson Memorial at rates higher than they did so to the Kennedy or Lincoln memorials?When the managers investigated they discovered that the roof was teeming with a large population of spiders upon which the pigeons were feeding. The solution? Shoot the spiders? So, why were there so many spiders on the roof? It turned out that they had a voracious appetite for a particular type of bug; one that infested the roof. Why were the bugs there? They were drawn there in their millions by the power of the floodlights that illuminated the structure. The park managers were actually creating this problem, inadvertently, by turning the lights on the memorial just before dusk; an action that caused the whole chain of events. Lots of bugs attracted the spiders. Lots of spiders attracted the pigeons. Lots of pigeon droppings necessitated the daily washing of the memorial. Finally, lots of washing was leading to the crumbling of the statue. The solution ended up being pretty simple, and actually saved the Parks Department a substantial amount of money: They just waited until after dark when the bugs had swarmed to turn on the lights. The bugs went elsewhere. The spiders reduced in number. The pigeons did the same and the memorial then only needed to be washed monthly. This is the power of getting to root cause, in my case a problem in my spine, rather than dealing with a symptom, pain in my legs and feet. Doing so will prevent you from having to deal with the same problem over and over again. It may take a bit longer but it is worth it. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: