Twice in my career, however, I have had the "management team" sit through one of my 4-day classes. The first time this happened, about 5 years ago, it was a resounding success. The management team realized that Root Cause Analysis was much more than they imagined. They quickly got on-board and supported a refinery-wide effort.
The second time, however, was not as encouraging. In retrospect, I fear that this second "data-point" might be typical.
I knew I was in trouble after the 1st hour. Blank, glazed eyeballs stared me in the face. By lunchtime, I saw them huddled together discussing whether or not to cancel the training. At quitting time on the first day, the Human Relations manager approached me and said:
I looked at this person in disbelief and asked, "Didn't you say you were the HUMAN RELATIONS manager? You cannot see how you can relate to this???"
My disbelief stemmed from the fact that much of the first day was spent on the human-side of Root Cause Analysis, including how important it was to get everyone involved in "root cause thinking," but how difficult that would be in an environment of fear. I also tried to challenge their perception of Root Cause Analysis (as I do in all my classes), but as the saying goes:
How true! How true! Blogs like this are where people like me can express their thoughts for others to read and then make comments. I am expressing these particular thoughts because the experience greatly moved me. After all these years of trying to encourage the lower-level people to "learn from things that go wrong," I was confronted with THEIR reality, and it's worse than I thought: