Nokwazi Mzobe, Founder of Matoyana Business Solutions and Matoyana Media and Creator of the Warrior Women Series, discusses what you can do during this lockdown for your business so that you can operate better once your business can run again.
Covid-19 may be the presenting reason for the halt in business operations, but it may not be the root cause. There are parts of the business that may not have been going well, and we (as business owners/leaders) can use this time to better understand this, so that we can improve, adapt or even totally change our businesses to ensure future success.
What exactly is a ‘why-why’ analysis aka a root cause analysis?
The name ‘why-why’ is self-explanatory. You asked the question why until you can’t ask why anymore. When you get to the point where you can’t ask why, then that is the root cause and you need to ensure that you address this.
How does this work? Start with the presenting issue at hand:
· The container of stock got lost. Why, did it get lost?
· Because we had the wrong tracking number. Why, did we have the wrong tracking number?
· Because it was incorrectly inputted in the system. Why, was it inputted incorrectly?
· Because it was uploaded manually. Why?
· Because the system was down. Why?
· Because there was a virus. Why?
· Because the malware software had expired and wasn’t renewed. Why?
· Because the IT head left, and there was no replacement or (proper handover done /back-up when he left). Why?
· Because it was a sudden resignation.
What exactly is the root cause of this lost container? Not what we would have initially assumed if we hadn’t done an analysis. This example is showing us that there may be a gap in the HR process for managing sudden resignations or that there is no personnel back-up process. We can also see that there is a need to further understand how the system got infected by a virus – and this can lead to another why-why analysis.
Take this time to engage, research and understand:
– How you can service your customers better.
– Your industry value chain: how it has been impacted and how it will need to change post- lockdown.
– Your operations: what you did or didn’t do well until this point and how you can improve.
– How others are responding, and what you can learn from them.
– Your systems: how you can leverage digital/tech platforms.
– Your financials: how you can improve or better manage them in the future.
– Your business model: will it still be relevant and what will you need to adapt for future success?
Spot the problems in the different areas and use a tool, like the why-why analysis, to get to the root cause of your issues, and start correcting from there. Hopefully you will be able to restart at a better position or level than you were before lockdown.