One of my favourite clips from a film is from Rising Sun where Sean Connery talks about fixing the problem not the blame.
One of the biggest reasons why problems happen is when “covering your ass” becomes more important than fixing the problem.
Even bosses are fallible and the sooner a problem is recognised, the sooner it is fixed.
At a deeper level, this is fundamentally an issue about management and leadership.
In a plane, a captain understands the value of a co-pilot and allows the co-pilot to question if he has concerns as a second pair of eyes and judgement increases safety.
However in bureaucratic organisations (such as hospitals – where fear of liability can create a culture of cover-ups), these control mechanisms and systems of checks and balances may not be in place.
I do wonder if the problems in the case of Grenfell Tower reflects these management and “system thinking” failures.
In a learning organisation, debriefing meetings are fundamental to learning. People will not be open to bringing up issues if they feel they will be blamed.
A team needs to feel psychology safety.
- You won’t be held to blame from a mistake.
- People are not rejected for being different or holding a different point of view – different perspectives are valued and respected.
- Team members can bring up tough problems and issues. (You can’t fix a problem till you admit it).
- It is safe to take managed risks (ie these risks are shared and there is transparency).
- People find it easy to ask for and get help.
- There is trust and people are not out to undermine an individual for personal reasons.
- Everyone feels valued and utilised.
These behaviours also minimise conflict in the workplace.
Here is an excellent video from Amy Edmondson on how to develop a “safe” workspace.
It frames work as a learning problem. (By building a learning organisation, it will be more adaptive in a complex and changing workspace)
People admit that they are human and fallible
Curiosity and a (Positive) questioning attitude is encouraged.