Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned or Lessons Not Learned?

At this moment, around the world, there are discussions and debates going on about Lessons Learned. One point of concern is the question, “at what point do Lessons become … Lessons “Learned”?

It is a question that has the attention of business leaders, PhD’s, schools of management, blogsters, and students alike. Often, conspicuously absent from these debates, is the question of the validity of the lessons themselves- the quality of the initial data itself.

Typically, a lesson is intended to communicate the source of the problem and the solutions available for application in similar situations. As important is the issue of whether the lesson is a valid one. Additionally, the term “learned” implies that something is going to be done, or has already been done to recognize and deal with its causal origins. It means that we have learned our lesson, understand why we needed to change . . . and have changed. That’s our definition of lessons “learned”.

At Decision Systems, we have always dealt with Lessons Learned, in terms of the REASON root cause analysis process. That is, the REASON RCA process solves problems and discovers and documents ‘lessons to learn from’ that then flow into both a corrective action path and a Lessons Learned path.

As a foundation for Lessons Learned, the REASON process generates data that are validated as being accurate and objective. It is upon this solid foundation of good and validated data (coming from REASON RCA) that REASON’s Lessons Learned system is able to preform at higher levels of efficiency and usefulness than other systems. Information (lessons) are only as good and useful as they are validated and accessible. REASON RCA creates, as a by-product of its process, data that is highly organized and therefore easily searchable and accessible.

Though REASON delivers exceptional lessons learned functionality to an organization, REASON’s functionality goes far beyond that of traditional Lessons Learned systems. Most systems of Lesson Learned provide a way to search for specific cases and causes within the database. This is an example of ‘pull-based’ lessons learned searching. REASON provides additionally an automatic “push-based’ interface to access lessons Learned. In REASON 9, lessons learned becomes an interactive knowledge base that we call the “organizational intelligence” center. Instead of considering pull-based Lessons Learned to be the end and only value to the organization, we have taken the knowledge and raised it several levels to serve as a command center for supervisors and managers. Let me give you an example of how you as a manager might use REASON 9 in this mode:

It is the beginning of your day. You access REASON 9 Lessons Learned from the web. There displayed is a graphic dashboard presenting the loss events for the previous day, month, quarter and year. The dashboard shows how many events have occurred, where they occurred and, importantly, the percentage of cases that are controllable at the management, supervisor and employee level.

A red flag would be a high rate of events that were supposed to be controlled at the management level. With REASON 9, you drill down to the details of each appropriate case to see where the lack of controls existed and what is being done about it. With REASON Lessons Learned, you soon begin to see the control effectiveness of each department; What policies are not achieving the results you want and why.This information is simply delivered to the user without his prompting or knowledge that such a search needs to be done.

If you find yourself getting excited about the new web-access REASON 9 root cause analysis tool and web-access training, we understand. Please contact DSI to arrange a personal web demonstration .

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