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Enhanced Interview Skills for Root Cause Analysis (MFG274P)

Presented by: Duke Okes, FASQ, CMQ/OE
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Pre Recorded Webinar
60 minutes

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How Interviews Can Be Effective in Root Cause Analysis

Although interviews are themselves fraught with potential errors, they are still one of the foundational techniques used to gain an initial exploratory understanding of a problem situation, as well to gather deeper information when performing a root cause analysis (RCA).  However, many people tasked with RCA have never been trained in interview techniques. Interviews can be a valuable tool for helping a root cause analysis investigator review the process flow and identify potential indicators of causal issues.  However, due to human cognitive factors the information gained can turn out to be useless unless one understands how to deal with the limitations and potential error encountered.

This webinar by expert speaker Duke Okes will focus on not only the steps and techniques used for an effective interview, but also explain the rationale behind them.  Establishing the relationship, gaining an initial overall view, identifying issues for and digging deeper, and overcoming typical memory recall constraints will be discussed in the session.

Session Highlights:

  • Why interviews are usually a must for effective RCAs?
  • Potential problems with information gained through interviews
  • The importance of preparing for the interview
  • Deciding when to stop the interview
  • Why multiple paths are often necessary to gain accurate information
  • Specific techniques for helping interviewees with recall from memory
  • Ways to validate “facts” gained during interviews
  • Visual and aural signals that might warrant expanding the current path of exploration
  • Indicators of cognitive or emotional shifts that might warrant consideration

Who Should Attend

Anyone involved in conducting root cause analysis for quality (customer complaints, audit nonconformities, equipment/product failures) and other process/performance failures.  Typical roles would be quality manager, corrective action coordinator, lead investigator, and auditor. Also useful for personnel involved in RCA for environmental, safety, IT, etc. management systems

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I would like now to introduce your speaker for today, Duke Okes.  Duke SQ, DMQOE, has been in private practice for more than 30 years helping organizations implement processes for better control and improvement of their operations.  He has worked with a wide range of organizations including manufacturing and healthcare industries as well as financial and government services.  He has conducted more than 400 workshops and root cause analysis for responding to quality issues and acquired risk management concerns, spent to the event investigations and project management failures.  Duke holds degrees in technology of business and education and is author of two books on process management topics.  Root cause analysis for core problem solving and corrective action and performance metrics delivers to process management.  Duke, welcome to the program.  We are now ready to begin.

Duke:  Hello, and welcome everyone.  I guess good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night, depending on where you’re located.  Interview skills are one of those things that is obviously best learnt through experience, but there are a lot of principles and techniques that if one knows about it, it will help us to maybe build that experience in a more powerful and rapid way.  So, that’s what I’m going to cover today.  Just about any type of root cause analysis you might be involved in will involve interviews at one level or another certainly for safety, it’s typically a major part for repetitive problems where there it might be customer complaints or equipment failure or something that might somewhat less but still it’s a way of often gaining sort of something initial information about some potential calls or issues.  To help us today, certainly the questions that you might ask would be very beneficial, so, I hope you will be thinking as we go through the webinar about specific situations that you have dealt with or try to deal with and how interviews might apply to that and any questions you might have for me or for us as we go through.

So, let me make sure I can advance.  All right.  So, here’s our first slide that gives us sort of three major divisions of what we’re going to cover today.  One is a review basic interview principles for many of you that will be in review.  For others who have not had formal training, there might be some key pieces in that for you.  Then we’re going to talk specifically about different types of interviews and different types of questions it’s something that I had run into until several years back and realize there’s actually a way to organize interviews to make them more powerful and there’s different types of questions that you would want to ask at different phases of the interview.  And yet one of the things that I’m going to talk about real quickly here is human memory is so fallible and so, a lot of the information we get through interviews will not necessarily be accurate.  But if we understand how the human brain works we can at least try to leverage what we know about it and try to improve what we get out of the interviews.  So, that’s the three major pieces we’re going to cover.

So, let me give you the back to it.  I was just totally shocked when I read this several years back.  Elusions of memory, it says what we store in memory isn’t an exact copy but a recreation of it and it’s being replayed many times.  And this is especially true if it’s an accident or a safety type event.  That is, if you’re involved in a car accident what you’re likely to do is to reply that accident over and over and over again in your mind and try to figure out what actually happened, what you did or should have done, and so, on.  And so, we need to understand that even though people might believe that the information they are telling is accurate, it isn’t necessarily because it might have been modified as a matter of fact the more you replay it the more you tend to sort of modify to suit what you think should have been so to speak, which I guess leads into the second when we are recalling a memory we integrate it with our expectations of what we should remember.  So, you know, if I’m asking someone how did you carry out this particular activity and there’s a procedure related to that activity, they will perhaps be accessing that procedure in their mind and giving us information from that without realizing it.  

And then the third one was really even more surprising and if a memory is very strong, very vivid, it does not necessarily mean that it’s more accurate than something that is that this person says well, I believe or I think as opposed to I’m confident.  So, that’s the bad news. Of course, we’re going to try to give you techniques to work around that.

Now another thing to keep in mind is during interviews there’s basically three different situations that we might run into.  The first one is what we’ve talked about so far is people have difficulty actually recalling things.   I mean if you think about if you were a waiter or a waitress in a restaurant and you messed up a customer’s order and you’ve done several dozen orders in the last few hours, it’s going to be hard necessarily to remember that specific one.  

Avoidance, so, there will be times during interview when a person either intentionally or subconsciously does not want to give us all the answers so, that might be to protect themselves in order to protect others or just the fact that they know this might be a legal situation and so people get a little sometimes.  And then of course the last one which I hope you don’t run into very often but certainly you will if you’re doing investigations of fraud and so on and sometimes safety accidents and so on.  That is a person is intentionally giving you false information or not giving you the information they know to be true.  

So, the topic we’re definitely going to talk about is what we go through the second one will give you some ways to sort of well the second and the third will give you some ways to try to maybe sense whether or not that’s occurring and then you have a choice as to whether or not you continue with the interview or you try to ask the questions in different ways and so on.  So, here’s one of the situations I thought we use to discuss.  So, this would be a repetitive type of situation.

So, we got a complaint from one of our customers about a shipment that didn’t contain all the items that it should have. So, it might have been a short shipment or it might be that one of the items entered to the wrong port number or something like that.  And so, the process we’re looking at here is someone will receive or enter the order I guess this could even be at McDonald’s or somewhere where you tell them what you want they then will assemble pack the order and give it and then you discovered that you didn’t get what you wanted.  And so, of course, what we hope to do in a case like this is to be able to get and then look into some evidence while whether it’s in the computer system or all the order ticket and to be able to know which of these front steps that actually was or was not that is if I look at the order document that was handed to pick pack ship and it was correct when it got to and then the error is downstream, but if the document was incorrect then I know the error is upstream.  

I didn’t give us an accident situation but maybe as we go through we’ll just talk about a simple situation where maybe someone falls down a set of stairs as our accident situation or safety type situation.  So, what we’re talking about here though is using interviews to discover if the order entry person did it in fact enter the order incorrectly what might have caused that or if the order entry documentation was correct but the pick pack ship person actually assembled the wrong items or boxed the wrong items we want to try to figure out why.  And of course, if a person fell downstairs we want to try and be able to interview them and see if we can figure out why so we can put solutions in place to prevent recurrence.

So, the first thing is to recognize this is especially pertinent -- well, this is pertinent for just about any interview I guess accurate member I learnt that more when I was first being trained to do audits back in the 19 or I hate to go that far back, 1980s I guess it was.  But the interview process consist of preparing for the interview, one of the worst things you could do in many cases is to go into an interview without having sort of some key understanding of what the context is if you’re dealing with reviewing any data ahead of time if there are things you can learn ahead of time that prevents you from having to ask a lot of unrelated questions during the interview and so on.  So, we prepared for the interview by seeing what’s currently known and then developing a list of, let’s say, tentative questions.   

One of the things you have to do is make sure that you don’t tag yourself down to a list of questions but we want sort of some initial requests specifically then when we go to conduct the interview.  One of the first things we need to do is to set a stage in the sense of develop a relation with the relationship with the person and helping them understand the purpose of the interview.  Of course this a piece where we need to be careful if they understand that regardless of whether it’s an accident or repetitive issue we’re trying to find the causes so we can prevent recurrence, but we’re not trying to find who is at fault even though that might be part of what comes out, you know.  Who is at fault typically is a result of some deficient process in the organization.  

Then and only then do we actually get into the interview and get the information we need and we’ll spend a lot of time on that a little later.  Then before you exit, you need to make sure that you sort of maybe confirm what was learned during the interview, what you believe to be the case or the situation or the facts get their concurrence if you don’t get concurrence and go back and try to review that. Then of course make sure to thank the interviewee for their time.  Pretty simple stuff but recognizing that it needs to be organized rather than this sort of hey I need to talk to Joe because we have this problem and going in there and wasting a lot of their time as well as your own.

So, related to that piece about establishing a rapport and so on, what we need to understand is your integrity does matter, that is how the individual perceives you s being biased or unbiased will have quite an impact how they respond and how comfortable they’re going to be, how open and honest they’re going to be, and so, it’s very useful for us before we conduct an interview is to think about well, you know, once my role relative to this individual or am I tied or how might that cause them to perceive me as being in a police type role if you will as opposed to just collecting facts.  

Think about the individual you’re going to interview and maybe any previous or current relationship you have with them, have you worked with them before for example, and if so, how did the two of you get along, how might that impact whether or not you are the right person to do the interview.  Obviously, as I mentioned earlier you want to be aware of the specific problems situations so, that you are sort of prepared for it.  

As a matter of fact, one of the things I often think about here is in the case of, let’s say, the repetitive problem we talked about I wouldn’t do this for the customer service person necessarily for the order entry person that I might for the pick pack ship person.  I might actually go walk through that particular area just so that I know how it’s laid out where equipment is located and so on how the shelves are designed things like that or for the accident situation obviously would go see that particular set of stairs and how what kind of condition it’s in the preceding levels and so on.

And then this is one of the major issues that really gets in the way is if you go in there having really strong beliefs about what you believe the causes are, what you’re likely to do is to focus on, overly focus on those too soon and perhaps totally miss some other information that could be very beneficial and might help you see the problem more systemically.  If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s called thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman, you might want to at least Google that.  System one versus system two of thinking. W e just jump to conclusions so often in our mind and that impacts us, it binds us towards thinking certain ways and it will perhaps make our interviews less productive because of that.  

And then even during the interview, you need to be aware of how you’re really listening to the person, or you as many people say are you making up your next question is they’re really listening.  Be aware of what you are thinking how you are feeling emotionally how your body language might impact them how your speaking pattern might impact them.  So, we want as much as possible to be seen as an independent objective person who is simply gathering data, not necessarily easy to do.

All right. Preparing from the interview, going back to the initial that slide ahead that is step one.  So, when I’m thinking about preparing for an interview I’m thinking number one, who should actually do this interview, am I the right person or do we need to go find someone else who maybe would be able to be more objective or might have a better relationship that would help with the person who’s going to be interviewed, who maybe has more knowledge or in some cases even less knowledge about the process because they won’t be as biased.  So, that’s what we’re thinking about is who actually should do the interview where should it be done.  A personal preference almost always is going to be at the site where the work is being done or where the accident occurred.  Now there might be times when we can’t for one reason or another so, what we’d like to do is to find a site where the interviewee will be comfortable whether it’s a lunch room or something like that.  What we don’t want to do which I could still remember being done by a risk management professional is would you come to my office I need to ask you some questions, I mean I can still remember from my childhood being asked to go to the principal’s office that just almost never could experience.  

What’s the best time obviously you want to do the interview as quickly as possible if possible, but sometimes that’s not going to work. Think about this repetitive situation we have, it might have been a week ago or something when the order was entered and packed and shipped.  And the individual we need to interview maybe at home and so on. We need to think about is particular time of day or days a week when the individual is available or more accessible or less, what am I trying to say, less upset is not quite the right term but they’ll be under less stress, for example, that is, if you’re going to interview them tomorrow you want it to be early in the morning or later in the afternoon or after lunch or something and you might want to try to think about not only which is more comfortable for you but also which is the time that is more convenient on for the individual.

Obviously, what we currently know and not know about the situation.  Again, we don’t want to go in with any we don’t want to go in asking questions that we could have gotten answered by looking at a computer or whatever.  Then what questions should be asked so, it’s best even if you’re a skilled interviewer to at least make some initial, list some initial questions or issues you want to ask about it and we’ll talk about this in more depth and what other facts might be beneficial.  So, I was thinking about the example we had for the customer complaint one of the things I might do is actually print out the screen that has the customer’s order on it I might also print out the screen for the order entered just before that and the screen for the order entered just after that, because when I interview the customer service representative who entered that order perhaps having not only the current order, sorry, the problem order but the preceding and succeeding order with me will help jog that person’s memory and realize maybe what was going on at that particular time of day.  

So, anything that we can take with this that the person we’re interviewing might be able to relate to or be able to use as leverage.  Now, we obviously would like to do most of our interviews face to face, you know, that gives us the opportunity to read body language and establish eye contact and so on.  But that’s not always going to be the situation so we also need to be flexible to the timing and capability and availability of the people.  Face to face again is typically best, but in many cases that might be more intimidating to some people and so maybe being able to do it by phone for some people would be better, especially if you don’t believe they are going to try to avoid answering questions.  So, if it’s a situation that you can’t meet face to face, phone is in my opinion second best because again you get to instantly respond to any misunderstandings or dig deeper and so on and you get to listen to their I don’t know phonetic is the right term, I guess it’s not, their syntax maybe, their tone of voice and so on and that can be useful.  There’re times when I don’t know that I would use email or text as the initial interview if I can avoid it but I certainly couldn’t use it as a follow up, which by the way is in my book, one of the major additional tools for the interviews as recognized and is not necessarily going to be a onetime deal that we’re likely to go back and want to explore some of the information in more depth, whether it’s to gain greater depth greater clarity and so on.

And then the last one is one of my real hot spots if you will.  I’ve seen too many situations where, let’s say, a police officer is conducting an interview about a husband and wife who were involved in a domestic dispute and he is interviewing the husband while the wife is standing there, and interviewing the wife while the husband is standing there.  And I can tell you that you’re not going to get accurate information in that way and that’s not only because each of them is perhaps going to be trying to skew things in their direction, but the fact that what one person says will impact what the other says and you’re not going to get pure data, So, you’ll always want to try to do the initial interviews one on one and if you want to bring people together as a group once you’ve done the individual interviews that’s fine because then you can start saying, okay, here’s what we have so far but there’s some gaps or some inconsistencies and we need to try to figure those out.  Now, I understand in some organizations when they want to have these safety accidents they do bring everyone.

The first three and then the last one I was talking about hopefully you got that you want to try to do the interviews in one on one as much as possible and then perhaps bring people together to maybe to certain why do we have differences and resolve those.  Right.  So, the next thing we want to do, I don’t appear to have control of the slides now.  I’m not able to, okay, thank you.  So, now let’s dive down into the area of different types of interviews and different types of questions.  So, types of interviews, two major types; one is called exploratory and the other is fact finding. Exploratory interviews are those interviews that sort of thinking about them is sort of skipping across the top of the pond rather than diving down deep.  

And these are the types of interviews that we do to try to help things surface that we may or may not be aware of.  And so, in my recall training for example, I talk about understanding the process.  So, one of the first things I’m going to do if I’m interviewing someone is ask them to describe how they carry out some activity or how they carried out that activity in the specific situation that we’re trying to investigate.  So, thinking about the accident situation, describe what you were doing at the time and what you remember.  And what we’re doing here is we’re trying to avoid diving down too deep to soon.  Again, if you go in there with a list of possible causes in your mind and you start asking them questions to determine whether or not each of those cause is actually the cause, you may miss some really critical information that you haven’t thought about or that might be pointing you in the right or different direction.  

So, we want to do more exploratory type interviews, and then when we have a reason to believe that it’s time or appropriate to start digging down into the details or causes and so on, the whys if you will, then we’ll do that.  And of course a combination interview would be where you do both of these where you do the exploratory and then the fact finding and you might even bounce back and forth between those two.  But keep those two exploratory versus fact finding in mind because again if you dive too deep too soon you’re likely to miss some important information.  And while I’m thinking about it if you want to learn more about this, Google cognitive interviews.  National transportation safety board actually offers training on this and really powerful stuff.

All right.  So, we have different interviews.  And what we’re trying to do then is to say what happened, describe what actually occurred and then how did it happen, so we’re thinking in a little deeper way but then why did it happen.  You never want to dig into the why too soon.  So, exploratory interview, and again some of these comes out of the cognitive interviewing information and I think I have a couple of references in a slide related to books and articles on that.  It is what you’re trying to do is to transfer control away from you, you know interviewers are sort of typically used to being in charge of the interview and what you really want to do it try to put the interviewee in charge of the interview when you’re doing exploratory interviews, so you’re going to help them understand why you’re there and then ask them to describe anything and everything that they can remember about that particular situation.  

You’re going to as much as possible avoid interrupting them because when you interrupt them what you’re doing is actually interrupting the flow of their cognition, and so that mean again you’re actually likely to shut off some thoughts that they were having or cause them to go in a different direction than they might have gone otherwise.  Now, there is one situation where we will if you want to think about it as interruption is that is if they say something and we want to know more about it we might do what they call echo probing.  So, the customer service person was entering the order for example might say, “I was entering the order and remember thinking, ‘well, that’s odd.’” And so, you might say, “Odd?”  So, understanding what we’re doing we’re simply echoing back what they said and what we’re doing is we’re sort of asking them for more information without actually changing their cognitive processes, we’re trying to leverage that particular thought process.

For fact finding interviews, of course we still want to set the context and that might include a review of the information gained through the exploratory interview if they’re done a separate time.  And by the way let me mention on the exploratory interview, I should have added another line there.  What you’re really doing excuse me doing the exploratory interview is trying to pick up on signals that sort of hint that this is an area where you probably want to dig down.  That is, if they’re describing the process and it sounds like everything was normal, then maybe it doesn’t make sense to dig down any further in that particular area, but when they say, you know, I remember thinking that’s odd or I heard a loud noise or whatever it was that is something that s abnormal if you will relative to the flow what they were talking about and so that’s a signal you probably want to go back at some point and dive down into that.  

So, fact finding interview gives you the opportunity to explore that deeper, so, any of the issues that came up during the exploratory interview we’re going to ask for more information on that whether it’s again a deeper description of it or more information.  Avoid asking why.  This is I think an important part, it is not always going to be possible but describe it in what you were doing or what you were thinking, for example, is better than saying why did you do it that way or why didn’t you do this, because as soon as you start asking why, it can put them only defensive.  

Then using different angles, this is one of the things that is really important, is to if you have a piece of information you think is pertinent and you’re trying determine, let’s say, the accuracy of it or the validity of it, then you might say if someone else had been there how do you think they would have seen it or interpreted it or heard it, or if you had been sitting in the next cubicle, what would you have been thinking if you had listened to the conversation.  If we’re interviewing the individual who is doing the pick pack ship, we might say, you know, if you were on the crane that they used to move heavy parts what would you have seen.  Or the person who was involved in falling down the stairs asks I somebody would have been at the bottom of the stairs what would they have seen or noticed.  

So, were trying to get them to think from a different time perspective.  So, if we say you did A then B then C what we might do is at some point say what did you just do before C and if they say anything other than B then we probably need to dig a little deeper because they might have been confused.  Now, this sort of supports what we’ve just talked about the exploratory interviews versus fact finding interviews, but let’s talk about different questions.  Our expansion questions which are designed to help get, if you will, broader information, so, again, what we’re doing before that or what did you do after that or tell me what it takes for you to get this particular activity done or what did it take for you to get that done.  We’re not asking for a specific information, we’re asking them to expand on the information they’re providing us.  

Finally, then starts to drill down a little bit in the sense of you know if they say I was having difficulties, what type of difficulty were you having, or give me more details on the discussion between you and the customer.  So, we’re taking apart of the process flow, if you will, that they’ve described to us and we’re focusing on that.  Proven this and when we’re getting more into thinking about cause and affect relationships and sort of ask specific questions.  So, you mentioned that the order seem like it was unusual, how so, how is it different than what you typically get or do you think that that might have had an impact on your communications with the customer.  

The yes no questions are, if you will, the last types of questions you’re going to ask typically in the sense of -- again, if you ask them a yes no question and you’re leaving out the potential for a lot other of possible answers.  But we will use yes no a lot of times as to confirm, okay, this is what I understood that you said is that correct or did you in fact count the parts that were in the box before you closed it up.

Now, by the way, on these three slides, the exploratory and fact finding interviews and types of questions one of the best ways I believe to help yourself learn more about these if you don’t have a lot of experience in being able to sort out the differences is actually sit down and practice writing various questions for an interview.  Not actually a real interview but pretend that you were doing an interview, let’s say, it was a safety accident, someone falls out of the stairs then think about, what are some of the questions you would ask and then which of those buckets do you think it fits into.  And that will help you then start to understand how you want to make sure you start broad as much as possible and then drill down on it as use for as needed basis.

Okay.  Now, we’re going to move away from different types of interviews and different types of questions and talk about how to deal with some of the memory issues.  So, let me talk about how we store, and I’m sure different cognitive scientists will give you different views on this, but this is one that I like very well.  That we have episodic memory and we have semantic memory.  Episodic memory is more think about it as time oriented flow, and semantic memory is more the details of where to put the components, if you will, of the items the artifacts within that process within that episode.  

Now, what happens is if you’re interviewing me about something that I did last week, a lot of the information that was part of that episode is no longer stored in my episodic memory.  Because it’s so similar to other episodes that I have has actually dropped into the semantic memory.  That is, if I eat an apple every day, apples are just stored in something as part of lunch.  They are not stored as a flow, if you will.  That’s probably not the best way to put it but, anyway my point is a lot of the details of that episode get stored in the part of your memory that is dealing with the semantics rather than the events.  What this means though is if I wanted to improve someone’s memory of an episode I can go into the semantic memory and try to find things that might have been relevant and hold those to sort of reengage if you will with the episode and help their memory.

And let’s see if the next slide is what I think it is.  So, here’s an example that occurred under maybe a couple of months ago or an individual has taken a photograph.  And they were trying to find that photograph and I mean this wasn’t a digital photo, this is one taken, let’s make up a number 25 years ago.  And they’re trying to find this particular photograph but there are thousands of photographs in the file, it's not very well organized to begin with. But the individual if they had known when the photo was taken, let’s say, the year and/or month, it would have improved the probability of them finding them.  And so, what I started to do was to ask them questions such as why were you taking the photo, where were you specifically standing when you took.  They were out in the country that had gotten out of the vehicle if they were driving took a photo, what did you take the photo with.  

So, what camera for example, how many shots did you take?  Were they all from the same position?  What were you thinking about?  What was it about that house or a building or a scenery that you were taking that made you want to take it or whatever?  What was the weather like?  And so on and so forth.  And I think the one that really probably worked was what vehicle were you driving.  So, if you assume, let’s say, a person replaces a vehicle every five years or so, well at least I can see with the end a five year time span, if you could help them remember that and it’s not something that they would have stored as part of episodic memory, but it might be in their semantic memory because they know they own that time vehicle and if you can get them to go through and try to sort out which one was it.  So, these were various questions that were asked and the individual ended up finding the photo probably a day or so later and it doesn’t mean it was because of this, but I’m pretty sure that this certainly helped to trigger their memories about when the photo was taken.  So, that’s what we’re doing when we’re trying to access semantic memory in order to help them remember episodic or episodes.

And I believe this is some of the stuff that comes out of the cognitive interview stuff.  If I'm going to do an interview again, what I would prefer to do is have them physically in the location where it actually, where the event actually occurred because again that improves their likelihood of remembering things that we’re in a similar area, they can see the same things they were using at the time.  But then the cognitive stuff, and again, this will be more relevant for probably our accident situation, So, what did you see as you were getting ready to go down the stairs, did you hear any sounds while you were stepping off the first step, when your foot touched the step what did it feel like, or we’ll see, was the hand real cold or warm, things like that.  

So, we’re trying to use the person's five senses because if we can somehow trigger one of those senses that might have been especially pertinent at the time of the accident then it helps them to remember more other details.  It's not necessarily that I care what they smelt or what the railing felt like.  Instead, I want them to actually be back in that particular moment by relating to the smells or the touch and so on.  And obviously, if we can get someone to create some sort of a drawing or a diagram that can also help.

Okay.  Now we mentioned earlier that there might be times when people are going to try to fool you or this might even be, let’s see, no, that’s the wrong one.  Anyway, so, physical indicators that tell you whether a person is comfortable with the interview or whether they’re perhaps tensed, a lot of these you probably know body language, So, whether they’re looking at you directly or they keep diverting their gaze now.  If they're looking at you directly all the time it might be maybe they’re trying to project an honest.  I’m not going to get to the ones on the right hand side up down left right but if you do some Googling of that there’s actually some information and training available on how to get at least some ideas whether or not a person maybe telling you facts as opposed to fiction by how their eyes move obviously whether a person’s arms or hands are opened or closed sometimes could be useful, watching whether they’re sitting upright maybe like leaning back or leaning forward.  

And I think it’s really the last one that’s more important than anything is how there might be changes in any of these.  If a person is sitting with her arms crossed that doesn’t necessarily mean anything negative.  It might mean that that’s more comfortable for them.  But if suddenly they uncross their arms that might mean that you fit on a sensitive issue or they’re remembering something they had remembered and so on.  So, as I mentioned earlier with exploratory interviews, what we’re doing is we’re looking for signals.  So, it might be oral signals, something that say it might just as well be a physical signal that okay, here’s something where I want to explore a little deeper.

Linguistic indicators, now this was an interesting one.  So, attended a week long course, the guy’s name was Don Rabom R-A-B-O-M, and the name of the course is investigative discourse analysis, IDA, Investigative Discourse Analysis.  And I’m pretty sure he has to look out there on it too.  And it is basically how to read statements that a witness or a suspect has given us.  And this can work just as well for our role as well as written statements although written statements obviously are better.  But if a person says well, I do this versus I did that, that gives you some indication whether or not they’re thinking about what they should have done as opposed to what they actually do, not always but potentially.  And again especially if they change from saying, well, I did this, I did this, I do this.  

The fact that they change from did to do mean, well, maybe they didn’t do it previously.  I did versus I did not, one of the things I talk about is when a person says I didn’t do something, I mean if you -- why would you tell somebody you didn’t do something, you know.  So, are they trying to hide a fact there or are they trying to convince us of something, again not always an issue but be aware of that.  I we versus you they.  So, if we said, okay, we when we and a pack ship our filling in order we go around and we collect the items and then you weigh them.  

Well, the you instead of we means that, well, you’re supposed to but maybe I didn’t actually do it, all right.  So, when you switch from I we which is personal to you they, just be personal, it’s a way of, let’s say, projecting if you will.  Always or never, obviously, it could be very useful to as a way of -- well, what do you mean always?  Has it ever been a variation or never?  So, these are generalizations that are often thrown out to try to get you to accept something even though may not be true.  Tone of voice of course again I assume you're familiar with.  So, spend time on that one.

Just another reminder.  So, basically what you’re trying to do during the interview is to number one, each of those facts, you want some sort of supporting evidence if possible, whether that is from another individual from a computer, from a video camera et cetera.  So, facts that you’re getting to an interview, you want to try to find supporting evidence for those.  Some of what you’ll get during the interview is not facts but opinion and so what you want to do is ask how is that relevant to what we’re talking about, why do you say that.  So, an opinion is where they say why I believe or what I think or whatever.

And then hearsay.  This is when someone tells you that something happened but it's -- they were not actually there at the time and so, we really need to go back to the original source.  So, John told me that, well, was john perhaps incorrect or was John joking or did he hear from someone else.  So, you always want to be careful for interviews to not automatically accept the information you get as being a factual either because there is nothing to back it up and/or because of the way that the individual knows that to be the case, if they do.

The importance of time I might have mentioned this a while ago.  About personal, we know that a person’s memory will decay rapidly.  So, we automatically want to try to get to an interview as quickly as possible after an event that’s usually pretty possible for safety, not so much for repetitive problem, such as the example where the customer complained.  But I think there’s also time to -- there’s also reason to during our interview make sure that we give people enough time to think about things.  So, we ask them a question, you don’t immediately ask them another question if they don’t start to answer, or if they stop talking, you don’t want to immediately ask them another question because maybe they’re simply trying to think about what they should say next, that is they’re trying to recall.

And importance of time between interviews.  And again, this is one of my favorites.  We always use it as much as I can is when you do that, let's say, initial interview what you’re doing is you’re helping the surface some things that perhaps they had not thought about.  And if you’re lucky, once the interview is over their mind will continue working on that subconsciously.  And so, it might be that if you come back a little later whether it’s the same day or a day or two later that the individual will have information available for you sort of like the police officer who gives you his or her business card and says if you think of anything else give me a call.

All right.  After the interview.  So, the interview is gaining a lot of information, but we have to make sure that we appropriately process that information.  So, number one, what was covered that is what are we able to say definitely might be an issue or might not be a cause, or what is now more or less likely, what corroborating evidence do I need to get my hands on in order to either confirm or deny some of those facts and should I go back and do a follow up interview.  So, I think there’s probably almost as much time in some cases used after an interview to sit down and process it and review and try to make sense of it, look at the linkages between things and do follow up for corroborating the evidence and so on as there is in the interview itself. 

At the top list slide are two of the references related to cognitive interviews if you’re interested in that, the third one is the NTSB website for their training course, the fourth one is the website that talks about different types of memories something has dropped out here.  I don’t know what it is.  I must have sent a letter out or I might have forgotten to send it.  Anyway, so, I mentioned the Don Rabom R-O-B-O-M earlier, I’ll probably add that to the list and this in discourse analysis.  And again the more you work in, let’s say, safety accidents, fraud interviews and the more important, some of that type of stuff would be the IDEA.  If you’re working in a more quality audits or whatever or quality investigations, that will be somewhat less useful.  But my view is it's a tool that you always can benefit from.

All right.  Let me go forward.  If you have questions, we’re going to take quick few Q&A here in a few minutes, but prior to doing that let me remind you that after the webinar, if you have other questions, feel free to email me, always available.  And Audio Solutions wanted me to also mention a manufacturing quality management system booth camp is coming up in March.  To my knowledge this is probably the first time they have done this although I know they have done it with some prepackaged offerings.  But in this case, instead of just having a one hour webinar, what you see here is about six or so hours, seven hours, two days in a row.  And so, day one is related to the ISO 9001 2015 transition, specifically also related to risk based thinking that was introduced into the standard and also analysis which is one of the more popular risk assessment tools.  

I’ll be doing the piece on auditing on that first day, because the standard does and an additional item in there relatively internal audits, and the risk orientation of the standard means that we need to modify audits in my opinion in some way.  The second day, we're going to be covering performance metrics, we’re going to be covering corrective action process and we’re going to be covering root cause analysis both the tools and barriers as well as human error.  You may or may not be aware that the standard, this latest edition 2015 specifically states that you have to be trying to prevent human error and that’s an area that really people have a lot of difficulty with.

All right So, let’s see what questions we have.  You can put it into the chat box on the lower right hand corner of your screen, at least that’s where it is on mine, in  its end and it will pop up on my screen or I think we can also take questions by phone.

Moen:  Thank you very much, Duke.  Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to remind you that this part of the conference is also being recorded.  Should you have any questions, please use the check facility on the right side of your window, and alternatively if you would like to ask an audio question, please press 01 on your keypad.

Duke:  Surely, there has to be some questions out there.  Remember, we all learn by questions.  That’s one of the better ways discussions specific.  I did onetime interviews with patients who get pregnant on a drug who don’t want to read the rest of this.  That causes birth defects, or who get pregnant.  So, they’re on a drug that causes birth defects when they get pregnant.  So, anything you can add about these types of interviews.  Let me think about this a second.  I’ve dealt with patient abuse situations but this is a little different.  So, we’re -- so, I guess I'd have to say, I assume you’re saying you’re trying to find out whether or not they were on a drug when they got pregnant.  Is that correct?  I need to understand for sure what you’re trying to discover as part of your interview.  

Else I would assume that if they were on a drug, we would be able to tell that with testing although not necessarily true, so they were on a drug at the time they got pregnant but they’re not necessarily on it now, I guess, you might be saying, all right.  So, they don’t want to admit to being on that drug probably.  I don’t know if they can be prosecuted for that.  Nothing is coming immediately to mind on this although certainly the types of interviews I talk about relative to fraud and so on, we'd be very pertinent.  The information about investigative discourse analysis the I versus you versus we versus they, those types of things.  Boy, I’m afraid I just don’t have something off the top of my head for that one.  Can you give me a little more on maybe what difficulties you have during the interview?  Maybe that would help me........
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About Our Speaker(s)

Duke Okes | Root Cause Analysis SpeakerDuke Okes FASQ, CMQ/OE
Duke Okes has consulted with organizations for over 30 years, primarily in the areas of implementation of quality management principles, systems and techniques. He holds degrees in technology, business and education and is a graduate of a program for Organization and Human Resource Development and the International Pro... More info

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    Event Title: Enhanced Interview Skills for Root Cause Analysis
    Presenter(s): Duke Okes, FASQ, CMQ/OE

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