Root Cause Analysis

40 Let us examine our ways and test them,
    and let us return to the Lord.

              Lamentations 3: 40 NIV

Whenever equipment breaks down in a chemical plant, engineers conduct a root cause analysis (RCA).  As the name implies, this is an attempt to determine the reason for the failure.  Once the reason has been determined, actions are taken to ensure that the failure does not re-occur.  The most common method of conducting this RCA is called the Why Tree.  All those who work with the equipment are brought into one room.  The meeting leader then reviews the failure and asks “why”.  Once the team answers that question, he asks another “why”.  The team then works through a second answer, to which he asks a third “why”.  This continues until five “whys” have been asked and answered.  It usually takes five why’s to identify the root cause of any equipment failure.

The path to growth is similar.  Many times, we find ourselves processing very strong emotions to which we can answer the first “why”.  “I’m angry because so and so did such and such.”  If we are in a healthy place, we may move to a second "why" to understand the reason for our response.  We sometimes stop right there.  We choose to not be curious about whether there is something deeper.  I (Mphatso) have learned that my reactions to situations around me are conditioned based on four areas of brokenness – pride, prestige, preference (or unconscious bias) and performance – my four P’s.  It has taken some digging to discover this about myself and whenever I feel strong negative emotions I look around for one of these P’s lurking in the shadows.

How about you?  Are you curious about yourself?  As the scripture passage says, “examine” your ways.  Depend on those whom you trust and who love you to help you with this assessment.  Ask yourself five “whys” and discover the root of the issue.

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