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Monday, October 19, 2020

3 Critical Facilitation Skills For Root Cause Analysis

Imagine a root cause analysis has been triggered by an unplanned incident or event which falls into any of the safety, quality, environment, production, equipment failure or similar categories. You have been appointed as the root cause analysis facilitator by a superior/manager who is responding to the particular event. What are the critical facilitation skill necessary to make the analysis successful?

1. Be dynamic

As facilitator, you need to guide the direction of the group and yet still be alert for other cause paths that may crop up. You are the prime mover, controlling the focus of the group. Don’t be a bystander to the process. You are the conduit through which the group is interacting.

Ask questions that are as precise as possible. This will elicit better, more concise responses which make it easier to identify causes. Good questioning will also eliminate unnecessary discussion and storytelling from the group.

Once the information has been recorded, get the group to help you organise the information and then challenge the logic of the way that information is linked together. Your cause and effect chart needs to make sense – or it risks being challenged and disregarded by those who look at it.

2. Be a good listener

Attentive listening skills are critical. You need to be able to hear more than one response at a time. Your ears should be like radar, picking up on all signals. Don’t miss a response while recording another. You need to record everything.

Being a good listener means keeping an open mind, suspending judgment, and maintaining a positive bias.

It also requires the efforts of the whole group – ask the group not to have discussions on the side, as they might come up with causes that should be included but may not be shared with the group. This will also help you to hear all responses more clearly.

3. Don’t profess to be an expert

Don’t profess to be the expert about the problem at hand. You were appointed to be the facilitator, an independent guide, without a vested interest in the outcome. Ask the others in the group to explain what they know so that everyone can follow and understand it. That is why they are there.

Remember … you don’t hold all the answers. That isn’t why you are the facilitator or it shouldn’t be. A good facilitator plays dumb whilst still directing traffic and working the cause and effects paths to a reasonable stop point.

Every organization needs advanced problem solvers who can lead timely and effective issue-resolutions and prevent their recurrence. Developing facilitators goes hand-in-hand with building new capabilities in an organization. Adoption of new skills is a driver of results. Better problem solving skills is key to achieving maximum ROI around any initiative to improve quality within an organization. Problem-solving facilitators can help others transition new skills to the workplace and lead teams charged with resolving complex issues in a timely fashion.

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