Critical Incident Analysis

Critical Incident Analysis
© Raj Chawla and Jolie Bain Pillsbury

The primary goal of critical incident analysis is not to problem solving. Rather, it is to more deeply understand what happened and explore multiple ideas about why it happened the way it did. Critical incident analysis helps leaders see things in a new way and try something new.



Critical Incident Analysis: A three-step process

This learning from a critical incident is uncovered when you as a leader take these three steps to better understand what “did not go well”:

  • Describe the facts of the incident: what was intended and what actually happened.
  • Diagnose what led to the incident: what are multiple hypotheses about “why” it did not turn out well.
  • Decide what to do: what are new insights and possible next steps to trying something new.
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