Because I’m currently reviewing the materials on cause and effect I seem to be noticing it everywhere, I wonder why? Either way finding root-causes is an essential part of my job and I have a wealth of tools available such as Ishikawa diagrams, correlation, regression models, DOE and multivariate charts. In reviewing the on-line materials I discovered the limits of my understanding here and plan to stick with this for some more time.

But what struck me was not the ability to discover a root cause but people’s reaction to its discovery. There seem to be a range of responses and here are some examples.

“Well of course that’s the root-cause, you should have asked me”
In the morning when I wake-up it gets light. After many months of careful record keeping I have discovered a perfect correlation with the appearance of the Sun. By using Occam’s razor I propose that the Sun is the root-cause!

“By the time I’m old they’ll have a cure”
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and 87% of lung cancer deaths can be attributed to tobacco use. SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.

“I doubt the root cause it’s a natural phenomena”
Global average near-surface atmospheric temperature rose 0.6 ± 0.2 ° in the 20th century. The prevailing scientific opinion is that “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” The main cause is the increased atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2).

“Its cheaper to address the rework”
“I agree with the results but the real issue is …..”
“You can’t measure peoples behaviour with statistics”
“This report really hit the spot, I’ll let you know”

Sometimes, “We need to fix this immediately”

So for all the sense of accomplishment in making the fundamental discovery, it’s just a part of the job. It also includes persuading and gaining other peoples support and driving the decision making process.

About the Author