‘Competitive’ and ‘Root Cause’ – Powerful Words With Powerful Meanings

A major objective of my blog is to help the reader reach a level of understanding concerning the statement, “Be in the world, but not of it. Be involved in the physical world, but not controlled by it.”

In order to do that, an in-depth understanding of the two terms is required.  This blog addresses two important ideas: “competitive” and “root cause.”

As I wrote the book Leadership: Where Business Ethics Begin, I became more consumed with trying to understand how people were interpreting the words used.  This was especially true when I incorporated a new word to describe a concept.  An example of this was the phrase “physicalization process”. What did the reader think was meant the new word “physicalization” was used? What was I trying to convey? (I will attempt to explain this idea in a future blog.)

I have always asked myself when reading another author’s work what that person was trying to say or communicate by using a particular word.  This was especially true since I have authored a number of articles, books, training manuals and advertisements over the forty years that I have been involved with training new leaders — especially if I created a new word to describe an activity or event.

The more powerful the message I was trying to convey, the more powerful and important the reason for the words became.

The words I’m addressing in this blog are “competitive” and “root cause”.

Let me start with “root cause.”  I ask that you bear with me because the definition of root cause as applied relates to a strong understanding or awareness of its meaning as used within the book and is only as broad as each of our individual understanding of what it is and means. Let me repeat: the definition of root cause as applied within the book takes on an infinite understanding of what it can mean.

As such, the gap between each of our understanding of root cause as used within the book is very, very broad.  The idea of 180-degree awareness and the difference in understanding adds from that awareness to this gap exponentially.

It is because of these gaps that the reader must take time to contemplate what the author is trying to communicate if they are to gain powerfully from an incorporation into our understanding. In other words, it’s understanding the root cause of something from my super-conscious mind standpoint rather than conscious mind — and of course we all know that is impossible!  Correct?

So let’s begin with an accepted definition from Wikipedia as given from a Google inquiry:

“A root cause is an initiating cause of either a condition or a CAUSAL CHAIN that leads to an outcome (good or bad) or effect of interest (good or bad). The term denotes the earliest, most basic, “deepest” cause for a given behavior or problem, most often construed as a fault. The idea is that you can only see an error by its manifest results or signs in total over time.  How accurate you are deteriorates quickly in time when the people making the determination have shorter tenure and were not part of what was being experience at the time a major root cause event happened (example: special sauce).” [an example to be used later]

In fact, as with the increasing turnover of staff and the current misunderstanding of the importance of long-term relationships with employees, supplier, vendors and customers – and as relationships cycle into shorter time periods — soft dollar information is impossible to obtain.

Today and over the last forty years, the focus has narrowed to short term hard dollar results pervasively within a company’s board of directors’ process to executives and employees. History has shortened accordingly due to the inability to assess soft dollar knowledge and information held within the people participating in the value creation of the company over time.  There are so many sayings that attempt to articulate this lack of historical foresight such as “[that person or company] that lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” These aphorisms are used to describe a company that is consumed by the bottom line within their accounting and administration responsibilities from the time they start their annual planning process to the budget development and monthly plan, to actual board meeting structure and analysis.

So, what should one do when faced with the above scenario where everyone is lockstep in line with a narrow process and short-term hard dollar focus?  The answer is: create a greater good!

So where does one begin to create a greater good that begins to impact a frame of reference and in turn the competitive environment that is probably running rampant where everyone is at odds with each other – perhaps so much that they are ready to sacrifice each other?  Begin with the arduous task of creating a cause and effect chain that begins to demonstrate that the creativity coming out of that process is drawing on the super conscious mind activity.  How do you know when that is happening?

When it comes to working with a root cause, the process should include the popularized statement of “getting back to basics.”  It should also include our knowledge of what decisions were made, and more important, why they were made. We should constantly try to move back in time when analyzing a problem or result, such as a loss in profitability or business, with the basic question, “How did we get here?”

Stop at this point and let the physicalization process begin its work.

Further discussion to follow on my next blog.