During a flight to Portland, I was reading a book called Root Cause Analysis: School Leader’s Guide to Using Data to Dissolve Problems, by Paul G. Preuss, when I came across a chapter about modalities of root cause analysis (RCA). Now before you jump down the blog due to lack of interest in the topic, consider the following matrix the author provided (p.6):
It’s easy to get caught up in the crisis of the moment or the current project and its deadlines, but in general, that causes us to focus in a reactionary mode. We begin to ask ourselves questions like, “What is keeping me from finishing this project?” or “Why did I get that result?”
There are, however, many lessons we can learn from our successes, which can be applied to our current and future efforts. Taking time to examine the root causes of our successes is as important as looking at the causes that led to limited success or even failure. Both are necessary to really leverage all of our existing strategies toward the accomplishment of our goals.
The Lesson: Eliminating your mistakes is imperative. Replicating your successes is equally important.