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TIME-PROVEN TECHNIQUES FOR REDUCING RISK AND IMPROVING PERFORMANCE IN MISSION-CRITICAL BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
This guide brings together simple, risk-free, and low-cost ways to break cycles of business failure and underperformance. These techniques aren’t new or trendy: they’ve repeatedly proven themselves in mission-critical disciplines ranging from manufacturing to space exploration, with lives and billions of dollars on the line. They work. And they’ll work for you, too.
First, you’ll learn how to use well-proven Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) techniques to anticipate potential failure points before you introduce products, implement strategy, or launch marketing campaigns. Next, utilizing Root Cause Analysis (RCA), you’ll learn to uncover the root cause of business problems, so you can solve them once and for all. Third, you’ll discover how to use an Early Warning System (EWS) to identify “driver” variables in your business, gaining timely and actionable insights without complex predictive modeling.
Whatever your role in decision-making, leadership, strategy, or product management, Breaking Failure will help you mitigate risk more effectively, achieve better results—and move forward in your career
When lives are on the line, when billions of dollars are at risk, failure is not an option. That’s why industries such as aerospace, chemical engineering, and healthcare have pioneered world-class methods for identifying, anticipating, and mitigating failure. In Breaking Failure, Alexander D. Edsel helps you adapt these proven techniques to the realities of your business.
You’ll discover how to plan more effectively for contingencies, and how to uncover and address the root causes of poor performance in business functions ranging from marketing to hiring. Equally valuable, you’ll learn how to systematically improve your situational awareness, so you can uncover problems before they damage relationships, brand reputation, or business performance.
Adapted to be 100% practical and actionable, these techniques will help companies of all sizes, in all markets. As you move towards greater speed and agility, they will become even more indispensable.
A practical, systematic approach to “Breaking Failure” in your company
State of Management xvi
Applicability of These Concepts xvii
Benefiting from the Topic xvii
Chapter 1: Failure & Stagnation 1
Failure, Failure Everywhere 1
The Overlooked Costs of Failure: The Intangibles and
Opportunity Costs 7
The Clogged Pipeline 8
The Causes of Failure 9
Why Is Failure So Prevalent? 10
Final Thoughts on Failure 12
Chapter 2: Don’t Start Off on the Wrong Foot 15
The Action Bias 16
Framework Selection 18
The Domain Transfer of Failure Mode and Effect Analysis 22
Brief History of FMEA and Its Adoption by Different Disciplines 23
Objectives of the FMEA 25
Best Practices for a Successful FMEA 25
Components That Make Up a FMEA 26
Examples of Preventive Measures 36
Detection Measures 41
Chapter 3: The Business Failure Audit and the Domain Transfer of Root Cause Analysis 43
How Should One Proceed? The Domain Transfer of Root Cause Analysis 45
Differences Between an RCA and Functional Area Audits 46
The Adoption of Functional Area Audits 47
Background and Use of the Failure Audit (Root Cause Analysis) 49
NASA’s RCA Methodology 51
How to Conduct the Failure Audit: An Overview 51
Chapter 4: The Early Warning System 61
Creating a Z-Score Metric for Other Areas of Business 64
The Option of Building a More Sophisticated EWS 66
Creating the EWS and Its Foundation, the Causal Forecast 67
Chapter 5: Blind Spots and Traps 83
Areas of Failure: Knowns and Unknowns 84
The “Known-Knowns” 85
The “Known-Unknowns”: Forecasting 130
Improving Forecasts 135
The “Unknown–Unknowns” 139
Chapter 6: The Preplanned Exit Strategy 143
The Trigger 144
What Should Never Factor into the Decision 148
Company, Product, and Market Exits 148
The “In-Between” Strategies (or Plan B) 150
Exit Strategies 158
Faster Exit Strategies 164
Epilogue: Challenges with Domain Transfers and the Next Major Domain Transfer 171
Facilitating Adoption 171
Finding the Team Leader 172
Triggers, Protocols, and Documentation 173
Incentivizing Behaviors 174
Professional Certifications 174
An Unlikely but Potential Solution 176
The Future Domain Transfer: Artificial Intelligence 176
Appendix: The Early Warning System-Details 191
Step 5: Entering Leading, Lagging, and Connectors into a Spreadsheet 191
Step 6: Calculating the Variance 194
Step 7: Calculating a Weighed Scored 194
Step 8: The Early Warning System Dashboard 195
Step 9: Troubleshooting: When the EWS Shows
Digging Deeper 197
The Return on Promotion (ROP) 199
Chapter 1, “Failure & Stagnation” 203
Chapter 2, “Don’t Start Off on the Wrong Foot” 204
Chapter 3, “The Business Failure Audit and the
Domain Transfer of Root Cause Analysis” 205
Chapter 4, “The Early Warning System” 206
Chapter 5, “Blind Spots and Traps” 206
Chapter 6, “The Preplanned Exit Strategy” 209