“If we wish to fulfil our potential as individuals and organisations, we must redefine failure” – Matthew Syed author of Black Box Thinking.
At school they used to say mistakes were learning opportunities and all too often you would raise your eyes incredulous at the platitude.
However now we can see that effective cultures are the companies that have an environment that is open to mistakes. Organisations that provide an open forum to talk about challenges and errors, means they are open to new ways of working.
In the book “Black Box Thinking” the culture of the aviation industry is compared to the NHS. The safety record of aviation is phenomenal with every incident being thoroughly investigated with the help of the Black Box. The NHS culture is still incredibly hierarchical with a fear of admitting mistakes. We are now in a world far more litigious where there is a threat of liability hanging over people’s heads.
To implement Black Box Thinking into your organisation here are some tips:-
- Create a progressive attitude to failure – confront mistakes
- Team meetings and team briefings where everyone has a voice
- Empower everyone to speak – create linear management structure
- Break down a big problem into small parts and rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t
- Ensure that blame language is not used or individuals targeted – group responsibility
- Create systems like the Black Box investigations where you review success and failure in the same way every time
- Apply creative thinking to resolve problems
- Be open to change when analysing and during problem solving – do not focus on just one part or one error
- Explain the benefits of learning from failure – reduce costs, advocating practising, as it is better to fail within the company than to the Client
- Wash up meetings and reviews should be common place and enjoyable leading to effectiveness and ultimately success
Please do get in touch if you would like a 90 minute workshop on Black Box Thinking.