Monday, September 19, 2011

The Trouble with Breakthroughs -- Getting beyond the current state

Recently, I heard a quote that stopped me in my tracks: Nothing fails like success. In our profession, there is a passion for performance. Many of us have experienced the thrill of safety culture improvement, and, unfortunately, this thrill often leads to getting stuck in the rut of comfort and complacency. As humans, we all resist change to some extent. When we are presented with new ideas or concepts, it seems natural for us to try and find holes in what is different from our paradigms that are built on our experiences/successes.

I once worked with a small group of innovators who were trying to get to perfection in an important foundational part of their large company’s performance. They scheduled themselves into every seminar given on the topic and took numerous opportunities to visit and benchmark at appropriate sites around the world. When asked what they learned, I was not a little surprised at their responses. They admitted that they focused on defending their own best practices. After all, they were an industry success model, well, at least in their own minds they were.

In a progress report-out, they got torched by a V.P. who forced them to stop defending themselves and start doing some R&D (Rip Off and Duplicate). Where could they steal shamelessly, run some trials to prove the new concepts and get breakthroughs instead of defending status quo?

Are there some different concepts that may help improve safety which have been percolating in your mind? Maybe it is time to think through the possibilities, develop a pilot trial and see if a minor (or major) breakthrough can be the result of getting out of your personal comfort zone.

The Doc

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