Jeff Bezos and Root Cause Analysis

Jeff Bezos and Root Cause Analysis by Pete Abilla

There are several things amazing about this experience:

  1. Jeff Bezos cared enough about an hourly associate and his family to spend time discussing his situation.
  2. Jeff properly facilitated the 5-why exercise to arrive at a root cause.
  3. He involved a large group of stakeholders, demonstrated by example, and arrived at a root cause and he didn’t focus on symptoms of the problem.
  4. He is the founder and CEO of, yet he got involved in the dirt and sweat of his employees’ situation.
  5. In that simple moment, he taught all of us to focus on root causes — quickly — not heavily relying on data or overanalysis of the situation, and yet he was spot-on in identifying the root causes of the safety incident.

Using quality tools really works. Lots of people don’t use them. Improving is often not any more difficult than just applying tools that have been used for decades. Improving does not require rocket science. Just do the simple things and you are well on your way to great success. Of the 10 stocks in my original 10 stocks for 10 years post Amazon is one of 4 that are up.

Related: Bezos on Lean ThinkingAmazon InnovationBezos Webcast on the Internet BoomImprovement Tools and Improving ManagementRoot Cause AnalysisEuropean Blackout is Not “Human Error”

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