A landslide starts with this

Can you hear the dripping pipe?

Most people were asleep in their beds when the sound, described as being ‘like a fighter jet’, woke those in surrounding lodges.

Outside they discovered a black void where two large buildings had once stood and they started digging frantically, spurred on by desperate cries from the rubble.

The main cause of the 1997 Thredbo landslide was the collapse of the Alpine Way above the town. It was the result of a combination of factors, including wet weather and the way the road had been constructed. 

The Alpine Way, which runs above the village of Thredbo and through the Snowy Mountains, was originally built as a service road during the construction of the Murray 1 and 2 hydroelectric power stations in the 1950s. After the hydroelectric stations were finished, the road was upgraded, which included the addition of landfill.

The people weren’t killed by the snow or the weather; it wasn’t the buildings and it wasn’t a slow emergency response. At least none of these were the root cause of these deaths.

Why did the road collapse?

The eventual root cause was determined to be a dripping pipe that undermined the foundation of the road which eventually caused it to collapse.

In your business you are constantly troubleshooting, trying to find the problems and trying to fix them. The real issue is that people misunderstand the difference between problem and symptom.

Managers/ owners (even CEOs) say they have a ‘problem’ because of “poor sales volume”. Or that the “market share is declining” for instance.

How often do YOU say or think that you have a problem because of declining revenues?

Declining revenue is not a problem – it is a symptom. Ditto for market share. And shrinkage. And many more…

The Solution

The way to get to the root is to ask ‘WHY’ at least five times – or until the answer to your question is ‘just because’. Only then will you have reached the likely root cause. The same techniques can be applied to any ‘issue’ – say absenteeism or poor customer service.

The Exercise:

Most people say they have a problem with ‘declining revenue’. 

I cannot tell you why your business has declining revenue (without knowing much more) but I can tell you how to determine the answer. So, here is the challenge for AGHA members:

Keep asking WHY to the question below and keep going until the answer is ‘because’ or there is no other answer.

Q: Why is my revenue declining?

Have fun.

Dennis Price

GANADOR: Architects of high-performance retail environments.

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