The Root Cause

Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems


            People ask me WHY I wrote THE ROOT CAUSE: Rethink Your Approach To Solving Stubborn Enterprise-Wide Problems ( So, let me tell you.

            The advantage of coming to live and work in a foreign country is exposure to new and different customs, practices, thinkers and their ideas. Some will resonate with you whereas others may give you pause; time to reflect on their veracity and validity. I’m not talking about opinions but assertions of scientific truthfulness.

            I was thrilled to learn about unique thinkers and their life’s work such as system’s thinking, Cybernetics, Maneuver Warfare, Human error, Human Factors Analysis and Classification system (HFACS), Employee Share Owner Plan (ESOP), and Open Book Management. Yet, I was surprised to see that these bodies of work are not mainstream. So, I asked a Board member advisor for an explanation and he said “Oh, I don’t think that these theories are any difficult, I just don’t believe they’re true.” My jaw dropped!!!

            What seemed to be mainstream though is best practices, and leadership with its countless and ever expanding range of new flavors. Both are PRESCRIPTIONS for success; if this is your pain, then here is your medicine.

            Upon some reflection I noticed that every medicine had the same formulation; increase efficiency, cut cost, and raise bottom line results. No wonder, because most decision makers define success exactly the same as the purpose of their business; making money. However, within the United States of America, the ONLY businesses whose ACTUAL purpose is to “make money” by the printing of banknotes and minting of coins are The Bureau of Engraving and Printing—a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury—and the United States Mint.

            In conclusion, every business is a system, and the purpose of a system IS what it DOES; not what you say, expect, or hope it does! After all, form follows function; how you design, structure or organize, implement or operate, maintain, and manage your business system is DETERMINED by the function you intend it to perform. Who has money presses on their shop floor, anyone? Also, that would be illegal!

            Furthermore, if best practices and leadership are SOLUTIONS, then what are the PROBLEMS they’re supposed to solve? If you experience unintended and unwanted EFFECTS, wouldn’t you want to know their (root) CAUSES? You either address the countless unintended and unwanted EFFECTS, or you address THEIR root cause(s). The latter is more effective and efficient―because it prevents these problems from coming back time-and-again. But that would require you to spend time, money and efforts on conducting a thorough diagnosis, just like any medical doctor would do for their patients. Note a wise adage from the medical world which says: “Prescription Without Diagnosis is MALPRACTICE!”

            Its “funny” that few if any business schools teach diagnosing root causes, don’t you think?

            And so, I wrote a book about my experiences, and McGraw Hill published it. Take a peek inside The Root Cause:

Scroll to Top