Facilitating Organizational Root-Cause Analysis

(c) 2023 by Denis Sunny and Ralph Jocham

A system of tools, techniques, and knowledge for:

* Organizational root-cause analysis of noticeable patterns and trends observable in culture, outputs, or outcomes;

* Mapping out the systemic consequences of potential changes within an organization.


We've developed a unique approach based on traditional often disconnected methods used in Systems Thinking and Organizational Design including such well-known concepts as:

  • The Star Model by Jay Galbraith
  • The Iceberg Model of Systems Thinking, which has been widely used but has no specific attributed author
  • Causal Loop Diagramming (CLD), a technique for visualizing the dynamics within systems

Our innovation led to the creation of the ORCA Canvas, a comprehensive tool designed specifically for Organizational Systems Thinking. ORCA stands for Organizational Root-Cause Analysis.

We believe that the true power of the ORCA Canvas unfolds when it's used alongside the skillful application of Causal Loop Diagrams (CLD). This combination, reinforced by Systems Thinking and effective facilitation techniques, is what we call ORCA Facilitation.

ORCA Facilitation is a system of tools, techniques, and knowledge - a carefully crafted combination designed to empower an unprecedented level of effectiveness and efficiency in:

  • Organizational root-cause analysis of noticeable patterns and trends within organizational culture, outputs, or outcomes;
  • Mapping out the systemic consequences of potential changes within an organization.

By studying and practicing ORCA Facilitation, depending on your organizational role, you will get equipped with a structured and guided approach to individually or collectively achieve the following.

  • For Senior and Top Management

    • Insightful Analysis: Gain a clear understanding of factors within your control that influence organizational culture and outcomes.
    • Strategic Changes: Identify actionable changes to drive the desired shifts in culture and business results.
    • Impact Modeling: Assess the potential effects and unintended consequences of proposed changes on organizational dynamics.
    • Ongoing Monitoring: Continuously track the real-world impacts of changes to swiftly identify and implement necessary adjustments.
    • Immediate Benefits: Start experiencing the advantages of ORCA Facilitation without the prerequisite of mastering Systems Thinking and Causal Loop Diagrams (CLD).
  • For Change Agents (e.g. Managers, SM, AC)

    • Enhanced Reasoning: Strengthen your argumentation for organizational changes with clear visualizations of their impacts on the aspects of primary interests for your opponents - e.g. business outcomes.
    • Root-Cause Identification: Unearth the underlying causes of disagreements to focus efforts on the most impactful areas.
    • Common Ground Discovery: Find areas of agreement with adversaries to explore alternative strategies for promoting change.
  • For Facilitators (e.g. SM, AC)
    • Workshop Facilitation: Conduct effective and efficient workshops on Root-Cause-Analysis and What-If-Modelling involving decision-makers and using provided tailor-made tools.
    • Decision-Maker Engagement: Clearly illustrate how proposed changes will affect crucial organizational outcomes to guide decision-making.
    • Conflict Resolution: Identify areas of disagreement among participants and explore their hidden drivers (e.g. beliefs and assumptions) to formulate actionable plans for resolution.
    • Adaptive Tools: Select the most suitable facilitation tool based on participant skill levels, learning willingness, and time constraints, with the flexibility to advance to more sophisticated tools as needed.

ORCA Canvas
ORCA SImple Canvas and ORCA CLD Canvas
Other Tools Included
    Essentials of Systems Thinking
    Guidelines, Tips and Tricks
Including printable versions of all ORCA Canvas versions and models
So far FREE of charge!
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Fully editable real-life examples + templates of all canvas versions and models!
So far FREE of charge!
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Your honest feedback on the ORCA Facilitation™
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