Leaders - Myth vs Reality

August 15, 2019

Retired US Army General (and Senior Fellow at Yale University) Stanley McChrystal’s 2018 bestseller Leaders – Myth and Reality, has become essential reading in the study of Leaders and Leadership.  Over 400 pages McChrystal deep dives into the lives of 13 diverse leaders from Churchill to Disney, from Chanel to Einstein and from Robespierre to Martin Luther King. Some were best described as reformers, others as heroes and some as zealots.  Some were best seen as expert power brokers and some as geniuses.

Eating the Elephant

August 13, 2019

Many managers talk about breaking complex strategic problems into bitesize chunks (the proverbial 'eating the elephant') before addressing these issues just as they always had – missing the small details and hidden opportunities that transform strategy from good to great. Root Cause Analysis allows teams to logically dissect even the most complex issues and apply their hard-earned knowledge to create outstanding solutions. 

Getting Shell Shocked?

June 25, 2019

Having a positive ‘problem solving culture’ is essential for any business. There isn’t a day that goes by in which some form of problem, big or small, doesn’t confront us and demand to be solved.
In these days of time-poverty, steep targets and financial pressures we often feel the need to solve problems very quickly, sometimes in an instant. This can be exacerbated by the view that any good problem solver should be able to come up with great solutions immediately.


June 10, 2019

In this short article, the final of 4 on Root Cause Analysis (RCA) in the Audit and Accountancy profession, we will be looking at how firms can utilise structured problem solving to support the forms of cultural change that the ISQM1-ED is encouraging.
As highlighted throughout ISQM1-ED, a new and substantially improved approach to quality management is expected if firms are to better tackle any audit deficiencies.   In addition, ISQM1-ED directly addresses the topic of culture within firms some 20 times, but how does Root Cause Analysis contribute to this particular aspect of the paper?

I've Got it Cracked - Its the Lentils

June 04, 2019

Working with organisations and complex problems on a day to day basis I notice that there is a mindset in many organisations that looks a little bit like this; the bigger or more important the problem is perceived to be, the bigger or more expensive the solution has to be.

So when I stumbled across a TED talk called Sweat The Small Stuff, from  Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman of Olgilvy, I was captivated. He explores the idea that there is a strange dislocation in the behaviour of many organisations when they are trying to solve big problems. He suggests that there is a tendency for organisations to go ‘head-down’ and deploy maximum blunt force when they are in problem solving mode. That in a great many instances there is a disconnect between the perception of what will get people to behave in a certain way compared to the things that actually do influence people. By adhering to this dysfunctional approach many organisations remain oblivious to the opportunity for targeted, effective and sometimes, if we’re lucky, simple solutions.

ISQM1 and Root Cause Analysis 3 - Managing RCA in Audit & Accountancy

May 02, 2019

The proposed International Standard on Quality Management (ISQM1) paper sets out a structure of wide-ranging proposals that, when implemented, will encourage substantial changes in quality management related to audits, reviews of financial statements and other assurance or related engagements. 
At the core of ISQM1-ED is a genuinely proactive, risk-based approach to quality management.  One that proposes high quality Root Cause Analysis (RCA) as the preferred method for firms to ensure that audit deficiencies are fully understood, addressed and explained.  As global RCA specialists within audit and accountancy, we have prepared four short articles expanding upon the objectives and benefits of RCA, as laid out within the proposed ISQM1 framework.