Tag Archives: Root Cause Analysis & Culture

Root Cause Analysis for Internal Auditors

I ran another Root Cause Analysis (RCA) workshop this week in London, with participants from the Financial services sector, Oil and Gas and Public sector. All those attending agreed that proper RCA was important to get to the heart of issues and to enable Internal Audit to provide insights, but none had done any formal training of any length on the topic and most had no explicit, consistent, RCA methodology defined.

We explored the root causes of how such an important topic could be relatively neglected, which includes its absence from current IIA standards, and came up with themes that I have heard on many other workshops, ranging from: “As auditors we have a natural instinct about root causes” to “There is limited time during assignments to do a proper RCA” to “Robust RCA would highlight quite sensitive matters and put us into conflict with management”. Continue Reading

Root Cause Analysis (RCA) –
A refresher

Over the past 15 years working in the internal audit arena I have seen a growing interest in the topic of Root Cause Analysis (RCA). My involvement in the topic has evolved from using it as part and parcel of a “lean auditing” approach, to running RCA workshops and consulting advice across Europe. I was also responsible for helping the IIA UK to up-grade its guidance on Root Cause Analysis (published in 2015). Over the past 12 months I have delivered open and in-house courses in the UK, France, Norway, Switzerland and even Mauritius!

This post provides a refresher on this important topic with some key pointers to help you benchmark your current approach. Continue Reading

Culture and the HR function

James Paterson speaks to Jenni Hardy about culture and the HR function – April 2016.

James: We’re going to talk about culture, and behaviour, and how you would know that you have a good culture. Can you please take us through some of the thoughts you have about how to approach this based on your own experiences in HR?

Jenni: In my experience culture is significantly influenced by the strategy of an organisation and its leadership; these are the key transformational influencers. The culture is also affected by the external environment, so what industry sector the organisation is in, what markets and its competitive environment etc.

Then how you measure it, and how you see it, how things work around here, is best evidenced by the observable behaviours, what goes on around here. This can also be complemented by an annual employee survey.

As mentioned before, the culture will be influenced by the CEO and the direction that he or she sets, in terms of objectives and values. When done well, expected values will articulate the sorts of behaviours they want to see; but this will – of course – be influenced by day-to-day management behaviour and the behaviour of the staff around you, creating sub-cultures. Sub-cultures will comprise of factors such as “Am I fairly rewarded”, “Am I recognised”, and “Do I feel my views are heard”? Continue Reading

Reflections on culture

A conversation between James Paterson and Ralph Lewis – March 2016

James: Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed Ralph. Can we start by talking about the idea of a healthy culture and less healthy culture and how we might measure this?

Ralph: Let me start of by saying that there’s an awful lot of stuff said about culture that needs to be understood in a broader context. So what we mean by culture, and a good culture, will often be put it in the context of the society you are in, as different societies have different cultural preferences.

In addition, there is often a link between the personality of senior leaders and the attributes they look for in a company culture. However, 1) I am not sure they understand in depth what culture means, and 2) I am not sure they understand what sort of organisational culture is actually going to be helpful to performance in a sense broader than pure financial results. Put another way, the people in power in an organisation often want to promote a culture that suits them for personal reasons, and I don’t mean in any corrupt way, but often they seek something that they are comfortable with. Continue Reading

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