Tiimiakatemia on Jyväskylän Ammattikorkeakoulun yrittäjyyden huippuyksikkö

Optimizing resilience to failure

Kirjoitettu 27.02.18
Esseen kirjoittaja: Aleksi Iittainen
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: Optimizing resilience to failure
Kirjan kirjoittaja: John Hutchins
Kategoriat: 1. Oppiminen

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We had John give us a workshop/lecture about how to gain resilience to failure. Ville held a learning expedition that John participated on. He has gotten to know Tiimiakatemia lately and he got so inspired he wanted to give us something back.

John’s background is in the maritime industry. He’s been involved in the collaboration with the aviation industry on learning safer travel for both.

 

Why did the dog bite? Part 1

We started the workshop by watching a video about Pink Panther where the inspector sees a dog and asks the clerk; Does your dog bite?
The clerk answers: No, my dog doesn’t bite.
The inspector goes to pet the dog and it immediately bites him. He asks the clerk that didn’t he just say that his dog doesn’t bite?
The clerk smiles and answers: That’s not my dog.

Then came the question: Why did the dog bite?
We wrote our answers down on the post-its and we would later return back to them.

Later on we came back to this video. This time we watched it again and the answers were really different. We had understood the importance of the attitude. The inspector was being mean to the clerk which in turn led to the clerk wanting to get him bit by the dog and answering the way he did.

 

Reducing and understanding errors

The main goal of the workshop is to reduce the frequency and effect of errors. Since we’re talking about the aviation and maritime industry trying to be proactive with errors is a great thing.
As my teacher told me in the 8th grade as I intervened her berating my classmate who had forgotten to do his homework:
“To human is err.”
The important thing here is the fact that errors and mistakes happen, but how do you react to them is the question.

 

 

Attitude + Personality = Behaviour


According to John we should try to get rid of the hazardous thoughts and focus more on the safe ones. I disagree here a bit since we’re at Tiimiakatemia and one of the things this place offers is a safe platform of trying out the crazy ideas that we might have.

He also brought up a good point about how inn today’s society efficiency is overtaking thoroughness. We’re doing this by multitasking, abbreviating our messages and constantly being in a hurry. Before people were more thorough and did things properly and then moved on to the next objective.

We also want to get to the bottom of the mistakes. If we only think about what caused the mistake or how it happened we’re missing the main point of why the mistake occurred. When we go deeper in to the why do mistakes happen we need to understand the concept of mistakes better.

There are three stages from where the mistakes form:

  1. Blunt end, which means the bigger things affecting mistakes
    • Company culture
    • Incompatible goals
    • Company decisions
  2. Situational environment, which means the things in the individuals life
    • Training
    • Workload
    • Fatigue
  3. Sharp end, where the mistake actually happens
    • Complacency
    • Assumptions
    • Skill deficiency
    • Attitude

In this chart above there are three categories. Most of the times we can trace the mistakes back to the blunt end, meaning that the mistake could’ve been prevented with better planning by the company. There are always the chance for someone just messing up but then comes up the question was he trained properly or was he the right person for the job?
We were also tasked to think about an event at our job that could’ve been avoided with better blunt end decision making. My example was the following:

I started to work at the slaughterhouse in February 2014. Just before I came to the factory the trainees of the company quit. This meant that me and others were trained by an unqualified person. This in turn led to the fact that we didn’t know how to do everything as well as we were supposed to, which led to mistakes that should not have happened. The mistakes cost the company time and money.

If we start to analyze the events, we can see that one thing that led to this was the trainees quitting. The reason they quit was because they felt that they weren’t respected for their trainer’s qualification since their pay was quite the same as the other workers. So, the mistake actually happened when the company refused to pay more and failed to realize the added value of the experience.

Post-motorola

This model got us thinking about our post-Motorola. Are we focusing on the right things while doing it and do we understand how good of a tool it actually is? John was really impressed about how well we use this tool to improve and to learn from our mistakes.

We have a really advanced way of analyzing our projects after they’re done. Most of the companies don’t do this and that is why they re-do their mistakes many times.

Focus on the positive!

A new thought that we also discussed was that we don’t really focus on the positives enough. We do think what went well, but we don’t think why did it go so well? By focusing more on this we could get great information about our project team and the reasons for success. Focusing on why things went well would reinforce our vision of the strengths of the project group and also help them find their way of working. In a best-case scenario someone would notice that he’s really good at this thing and he enjoys doing it – thus discovering his “thing”. That is what we are all looking from Tiimiakatemia after all. We could also use post-motorola for the feedback session within the project group. We could do a Motorola from each of the team members and find out the positives and things that still have room for improvement. This way everyone would leave with a list of good things, but also with a list of things that could be improved for the next time. At least for me this type of system would work great, since feedback is a great source for self-improvement.

By also analyzing the things that didn’t go so well and the reasons behind it we would gain a really good understanding of the projects anatomy.

We should try to go deeper to reach the blunt end of the reasons for making mistakes. For example, we’ve been analyzing the T4L and Bday events way deeper than normal short projects. By analyzing deeper we’ve found out some of the reasons for the difficulties of the collaboration. We’ve come to realize that in the beginning of the projects there should’ve been only one project group with one project manager handling the big picture of the events. The marketing would’ve been clearer, and the collaboration would’ve been way easier when we would be working towards a common goal.

 

Challenge and response

In todays workplace on of the best ways to counter errors is to build a healthy challenge and response environment which promotes saying things on your mind out loud. If you think your superior makes a mistake you’re not afraid to point it out. In some workplaces the managers are so high up the ladder that it feels terrifying to tell them that they are wrong. Especially when they react poorly, like with yelling or berating.

The correct way to respond to a challenge is with polite thank you to the challenger and acknowledging his/her opinion on the matter then reviewing the situation thoroughly. Even if he/she is wrong the manager should keep polite and calm.

The challenge doesn’t necessarily have to come from the employees, it can also come from the company culture, laws of nature or just an outsider of the company. Sometimes it’s best to get a new fresh set of eyes to look at your problems.

This is important to keep in mind for us also. Don’t just blindly trust everything someone says but challenge them if you think there’s a chance of misinformation spreading unnecessarily. Many time in my life have I witnessed someone who knows that the information that we’re receiving is false just stay silent because he/she doesn’t want to speak up. I think this is partly also a cultural thing. In Finland we don’t like to tell someone that they’ve done something wrong. For example, in restaurants if we get bad food we just fight through it and if the server comes we mumble/nod something or stay silent.

This can also be seen in a team environment. Are we all ready to challenge and be challenged? I like to challenge people and bring up some of the topics in to closer inspection. I also think that we’re not fully there yet when it comes to us all receiving or giving a challenge. This is one thing that could boost our team along with the fact that I’d love everyone in our team to realize the silent context that when we’re in a training session everyone wants the best for everyone else. If something is said with a mixed signal you should take in the context and assume it was meant positively. Over analyzing can sometimes lead to mis-undestandings and unnecessary drama.

This brings up a point about the team’s feedback culture also. We should learn to say feedback as soon as the thing in need of it happens. Waiting three to six months between feedback sessions is silly and we should do them way more often. I think I’ll try to bring them up more since I am the CFO of Co-Operative Globaattori after all.

 

Closing words

John’s 6-hour workshop about resilience to failure was very interesting and brought up good conversation. The language was at times a bit hard to follow but that was partly due to the fact that the course is normally 4 days and the terminology gets introduced bit by bit along the way. John also used good videos to demonstrate his points which was refreshing with the lecturing, group working and conversations. At first the safety aspect felt a bit off for us but as the day went on we found out ways to implement safe thinking to our daily routine.

Overall a day well spent, thanks John and Ville for booking this workshop for us!

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