Podcast 6 – COVID-19 and SSP, Unknown Unknowns, 5 Whys and Ishikawa Analysis


This week

New SSP obligations for employers amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but any help for the self-employed or those on zero-hours contracts? Donald Rumsfeld’s classic Unknown Unknowns speech confused a nation, but what are they and how might they affect your business? And, when problems strike, how can you use the tools of 5 Whys and Ishikawa Analysis to seed your action plan.

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COVID-19 and SSP

In response to the current outbreak of Covid-19, the Prime Minister spoke of a change to Statutory Sick Pay, indicating it would become payable on day 1 of self-isolation due the virus, to avoid anybody being “penalised for doing the right thing” – but employers will foot this bill, not the government (though it’s only an extra £40), and it only affects those eligible and earning more than £118 per week… some zero-hours workers won’t qualify, and what about the self-employed?

Learn more at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51738837, the article I quoted from in this podcast.


Unknown Unknowns

Donald Rumsfeld famously spoke about ‘unknown unknowns’ in his speech around the time of the Iraq war, confusing the room, his nation and much of the watching world. But sudden issues that are near impossible to predict are a staple of the world, and can affect business hard. Just look at Corona Beer’s £132m loss due to a similarly-named virus. Was that on a threat-watch list somewhere in their head office with a mitigation plan ready to go? Unlikely…


5 Whys and Ishikawa Analysis

When problems strike and the cause is unclear, asking 5 whys (much like a petulant child) can actually be a helpful approach. If you add to that an acknowledgement that some things may have multiple causes, use of Ishikawa Analysis (or the ‘fishbone diagram’) can really help:


Reproduced from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishikawa_diagram under the GNU Free Documentation License


Go 5 why’s deep and you might discover some common underlying themes, some causes you might be able to identify as highly likely and some that are easy to fix. It’s a straightforward exercise to give a go if you’re facing some complex problems.

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