I recently attended a conference where I listened to a presentation on Human Performance Improvement (HPI) by Dr. Todd Conklin and other speakers advocating Dr. Conklin’s ‘Learning Team’ approach. This was the first time I had heard Root Cause Analysis (RCA) referred to as ‘old school’ and obsolete. This got me to thinking, given I have been in the RCA business for decades, is what I do for a living…obsolete?
Abstract: In this paper I will contrast the concept of Human Performance Learning Teams as expressed by its advocates, to that of RCA Investigative Teams from my perspective. I am not speaking for all ‘RCA’ providers, as they vary widely and can better represent themselves (which I hope they do in response to this article). However, I believe there are fundamental steps to any professional investigative occupation that are required in order for an RCA to be ‘valid’.
In the end, I will seek to answer the following questions:
- How does the HPI community define and view RCA versus me?
- Do these two approaches complement or compete with each other?
- Is there room for them to work together to accomplish a common goal?
It is my hope that after reading this paper, both sides have a greater appreciation for the views of the other. Since my expertise is not in facilitating ‘learning teams’, this paper is primarily focused on defining my holistic, non-traditional view of RCA. I am then contrasting that view against what I have come to know about learning teams. It is the constructive, fact-based debate I seek to narrow the gaps in my understanding between the two approaches.
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