A culture of transparency
If we applied this number to airline safety, it would mean that five thousand of every one million flights would encounter a problem.
Aircraft are incredibly complex, and are designed, built, maintained and operated by people who will make mistakes – so how do planes stay in the sky?
The introduction of the black box on every aircraft provided an objective means of conducting root-cause analysis and research into near misses and crashes. It has driven a culture of safety and improvement which has been championed by industry leadership – holding transparency and honesty as priorities, above all else.
When there has been an incident or near miss leading to procedural, engineering or systemic change, learning has been universally applied across the industry.
For those who have never worked in this environment, the amount of collaboration between competitors, regulators and suppliers base comes as a real surprise. The right culture, and the ability to remove cognitive dissonance from post-event analysis, has made learning from mistakes very powerful.
Time to change
Regulators, organisations, and leaders need to abandon outdated practices and realise that the route to a dramatic improvement in quality and consistent service delivery, is to create environments where there is an acceptance that the process is more complicated than an individual’s ability. Process thinking in service operations means that the big picture must be integrated – the ‘how’ or the method, the inputs, the teams and the robots all play an important part. What you measure and how you interpret failure sets the tone and helps create an environment where we can learn from mistakes.
If we can all understand, and believe, that when things go wrong it is more complex than just an opportunity for individual blame, then we can remove a fear of failure, learn from our mistakes and allow room for real change.
So, let me ask you another question:
ARE YOU OPEN TO THINKING DIFFERENTLY?
Mark Palmer started his career in France in 1992, working for the French Automotive systems supplier Valeo. In 1995 he established one of the very first Operations Excellence Academies seen in Europe, the Ecole 5 Axes, which thrives to this day. After running the UK Division of Valeo as its MD he went on to become Management Development Director at HQ in Paris.
He returned to the UK in 2001 and joined OEE Consulting. Here he started the process of translating world class operations thinking into the service industry, which included a role as Interim of Head of Operations Excellence at Lloyds Bank. In 2008 he became Managing Director at OEE Consulting, the position he holds today.
Mark has a degree in French & Economics and an MBA from Cardiff Business School.