Enjoying Fish Bones

Have you played the affinity game?

Now is the time to do something with the data that you got from that game. Remember the five areas for the headers of all the Post-it notes that everyone placed on the board? Those headers were Plans, People, Processes, Prosperity, and Papa Nature. Well now, we can use the information you gathered to fill out a cause-and-effect chart.

The cause-and-effect chart is often known as a Fish-bone diagram. That is because it often looks like the skeleton of a fish. The one I have above probably bends that rule a little bit. The area where we have the effect is what you can think of as the head of the fish. And all the bones of the fish are all the things that we are filling in. This area is known as the causes. Thus, the cause-and-effect chart.

I should take time right now, to let you know you don’t have to be a master draftsman or artist to do this, or any of the charts and diagrams that we are going to make along the way. Each person does their best at arts and crafts. There will always be someone better and always be someone worse along the way, yet that never matters. The whole idea is that you are doing what you can when you work on these goals and games.

Go ahead and draw the outline for your Fish-bone diagram (Cause-and-effect chart.) And place the labels on. If you notice I wrote the word Effect below the line so you can write in what the effect is above the line. Please remember everything to the left of the head(effect) are the causes. When drawing the chart out, you do not have to put in the small horizontal lines coming off the ribs until you need to do so. I placed them in mine so you can have an idea of where they will go when you need them.

The effect could be, “We need to save more money.”, “We need to save more time.”, “I need to make better grades in school.”, Or anything else that you’re looking to improve. What this chart will show, as you fill it out is that all the causes equal the effect.

At this point take your post it’s, and start to fill in the five ribs on the cause side of the chart. At this point, the better the data that you put into the chart, the better the outcome. The whole idea of the chart is to see what’s happening now, and what effect that has. If you start doctoring the causes, or not putting some important data in, the chart will not be as effective.

The best thing about The cause and effect chart is that it is a very easy visual. You see what is happening, and what it causes. Too much late-night TV, not enough sleep, too many video games, not enough book time, it is easy to see what to change, to possibly raise your grades. Too many credit cards, not being paid regularly, a few emergencies, it’s easy to see what you can do to better manage her money. ‘My business is stagnating’ could equal, too many distractions, fewer classes, and more work, not enough interaction with the public, need to join some Facebook groups.

Everybody’s chart will be different, depending on the person, where they are, and where they want to go. There is no right and wrong in this. There is only where you are and where you want to go.

Tomorrow, I will introduce you to Sam. Sam’s been having a problem and wants to get back on track. We will use Sam as a case study. I will give you his affinity diagram, and his Fish-bone diagram. (Remember, the Fish-bone diagram and the cause-and-effect chart are the same things, and either name can be applied.) I am doing this because as we go on, it will be good to have some data to talk about.

I look forward to next time when we will go over Sam’s information and figure out the next step in helping him out.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Author: Mike Balof

Mike Balof, MEd, develops intensive, interactive courses which have helped contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to better represent themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and to identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Mike now turns his talents to helping fellow veterans reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from months to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone. Everyone has the opportunity to retool and find the career they want. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities, and means with a full plate of options for learning.

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