In this episode Peter Munson and I talk about balancing risk and reward, integrating risk planning into operational planning, the importance of adaptability as a managerial skillset and business resilience and continuity planning to prepare for unexpected contingencies.
Peter J. Munson’s Bio:
Peter J. Munson is Director of Safety and Security for the Cleveland Indians. He has two decades of defense and security leadership experience, having served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and led global security and crisis management programs at Citigroup. In the Marine Corps, Peter was a KC-130 pilot and Middle East specialist. His assignments included command of VMGR-352 Detachment A in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010 and special advisor and speechwriter for the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. Peter is the author of two books on national security issues and regularly speaks and consults on strategic and organizational issues.
Effective safety strategies will include an integrated approach to risk management with operations. While safety may be its own entity, safety and operations must work hand in hand.
Lessons-learned where some notes are scribbled on a piece of paper and filed away are not really lessons-learned. To truly learn organizations must have a process for using and sharing information recorded during After-Action Reviews.
Business continuity, resilience and crisis management planning are critical in today’s unexpected environments and they must be planned and designed into the organization. This must go beyond “checking the box” and move towards getting buy-in from employees because this should help the organization be better equipped to handle the “brutal audit.”
With crisis management there needs to be creativity to solve problems. This creativity can be harnessed during execution by practicing and simulating events during planning and exercises ahead of time. Then when novel situations arise on “game day,” organizations, teams and employees may be better prepared due to the capacity to act that has been developed over time.
We want people who are willing to plan and exercise different scenarios. We want a detailed plan with an analytical rigor, but a level of intellect and a level of rigor that helps build in adaptability. With a thoughtfully-developed plan it should be easier to deviate in an emergency situation, particularly when teams have a deep understanding of systems behind the plan, rather than a simple memorization of the steps of a plan.
If we work with fairly safe systems and organizations we can sometimes get that “wakeup call” when an accident happens. Hopefully we don’t wait until that time to start learning about our systems.
It is one thing to memorize checklists and procedures, but without a deeper and broader understanding of the systems, when abnormal or emergency events happen teams may not have the ability to respond and adapt appropriately to these novel situations.
Excess zeal to preserve safety may compromise operational effectiveness. For example, “shall” or “shall not” rules and blanket safety policies that include absolute rules may inhibit performance. Adaptive rules that allow options for supervisors to create performance-based calculations and include a safety buffer may actually create safety while improving operational effectiveness and efficiency. There may be times when binary/blanket safety policies are necessary and effective, but considering adaptive rules may provide some benefits to organizations in some cases. Safety should be pushed down to those who are involved in operations and who will be required to make tactical decisions.
Cross-functional leaders can bring a great deal of creativity and problem solving skills into organizations and this may serve an organization better than managers who know a very narrow skillset.
Book Recommendations: In Pursuit of Elegance by Matthew May, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Dutch Roundabout Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhqTc_wx5EU
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