Quality Blog

Address the Root Cause

March 8, 2011
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We have all been faced with challenges and our initial reaction is to solve the issue as soon as possible, but that may not be the best solution.

We should be aware that quick-fix solutions might give a result that being worse than the problems they were intended to solve. There is nothing to be gained from a cure that is worse than the disease.

There's certainly nothing to be gained from a solution that merely masks or delays the problem without addressing the underlying cause. When there's a problem in your life, make sure to uncover the root cause to get to the actual core of that problem.

Facing challenges requires effort. The effort may be only necessary for a relatively short time. However, running from a challenge requires ever-increasing effort that has no end.

The faster you start working to isolate the core source of a problem, the faster the problem will be permanently solve and fade from existence. The earlier you deal with the root cause of the problem, the more effective your efforts will be.

Certainly isolating and eliminating the root cause of a problem does take more effort than taking quick steps to fix the symptoms. However, working on symptoms only mean you’ll have to work on them again as they will always resurface. You’ll always have to find time to do it all over again. The good news is that once you have solved the root cause of the problem, it is gone forever.

From this point forward, look for the root cause of every problem. There are techniques, such as using the five-Whys, which will help identify the root cause. Use whatever technique that works for you but make the effort to root out each problem at its core. This effort will bring about lasting rewards.
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Charles J. Hellier has been active in the technology of nondestructive testing and related quality and inspection fields since 1957. Here he talks with Quality's managing editor, Michelle Bangert, about the importance of training.
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