Episode 27-Matthieu Branlat: Resilience Engineering

This episode was recorded in 2016 and includes a conversation I had with Matthieu Branlat on resilience engineering. 


Matthieu Branlat is a Senior Scientist at SINTEF ICT in Trondheim, Norway. He obtained a PhD in Cognitive Systems Engineering from the Ohio State University in 2011. His research explores ways to contribute to the knowledge and improvement of socio-technical systems, particularly in high-risk environments. Themes of investigation include resilience engineering and system safety, decision-making, collaborative work, cross-cultural competences and the design of technology to support human operations. Recent and on-going projects are conducted in domains such as crisis response; air traffic management; military operations; intelligence analysis and cyber security; medical care and patient safety.

Book recommendations:

Resilience Engineering: Concepts and Precepts by David Woods, Erik Hollnagel and Nancy Leveson

Resilience-Engineering in Practice: A Guidebook by Erik Hollnagel, Jean Paries, David Woods, and John Wreathall

Sources of Power by Gary Klein

Behind Human Error by David Woods, Sidney Dekker, Richard Cook, Leila Johannesen, and Nadine Sarter

Contact information: email: matthieu.branlat@gmail.com

Episode 26-Leadership and High-Reliability with Marc Rounsaville

Biographic Sketch, Marc Rounsaville

Rounsaville is currently one of the principles and a Senior Advisor for O4R Organizing for Resilience as well as the managing director of Bluejack Consulting. These firms   specialize in leadership development, risk management and executive coaching. Clients   from petroleum, banking, healthcare and emergency management industries seek out the technology and skills of these two companies. Both organizations serve individuals, organizations and governments with education, coaching, mentoring, professional leadership development, advanced emergency management and principles-based thinking.  

The diverse clients served include, US Forest Service, Dialogos International, Hospital Performance Improvement, Corsican Fire Department, Statoil, TOTAL, European Organization for Security and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Board.

Prior experience includes; Special Assistant for Continuous Improvement and Risk Management, Deputy Director -- Operations US Forest Service Fire and Aviation, Area Commander, and Type 1 Incident Commander. In these roles Rounsaville led men and women in emergency response for fires, hurricanes, events and terror attacks. Program management duties during this period encompassed training, preparedness and risk management for emergency response and aviation activities across the Untied States.

Book Recommendations:

Team of Teams by Chris Fussell, David Silverman, Stanley A. McChrystal, and Tantum Collins

The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel Simons

The Man Who Lied to His Laptop by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen



Episode 25-Moving Away from Blame and Towards Organizational Learning with Jason Hand of VictorOps


Jason Hand and I discuss the importance of moving away from a blame-oriented culture and towards a learning culture. Jason talks about the importance of understanding how cognitive biases influence decision-making and the need to understand this when conducting post mortems. Jason talks about balancing efficiency and thoroughness, and the importance of using blame-free post mortems as a means for learning. While Jason comes from a tech world, this talk has application to a variety of sectors, including high-risk industrial work.

Jason Hand’s  Biography:

DevOps Evangelist at VictorOps, organizer of DevOpsDays - Rockies, author of the books O’Reilly’s “ChatOps: Managing Operations from Group Chat" as well as "ChatOps for Dummies”. Jason is a co-host of “Community Pulse” (a podcast on building community in tech), and organizer of a number of DevOps related events in the Denver/Boulder area. 

A frequent speaker at DevOps events around the country, Jason enjoys talking to audiences large and small on a variety of technical and non-technical subjects such as Modern Incident Management, Learning From Failure, Cognitive Bias, ChatOps, and building communities. 

Show Notes:

Information Technology is no longer just a cost center and needs to be seen as a way for companies to innovate and become market leaders.

Trying to innovate and experiencing failure can be an important way to learn.

Post-Mortems are an important tool for learning and organizations should be transparent about learning and sharing that information about safety with others in the industry.

Root cause analysis may uncover something that broke, and that can be fixed, but it may result in a lack of innovation in complex systems unless the organization tries to avoid a check the box mentality for a quick-fix and actually learn and improve the system.

After negative events occur, when investigators use the word “why” that can sometimes imply “who” and it is important to avoid blame during post-mortem events, yet organizations often seek blame and accountability from a single individual.

Accountability means to “give an account of what took place” or describe what too place.  Accountability is not the same as responsibility.

DevOps works to create high-functioning teams rather than silo’d teams. When silo’ing goes away organizations can become more innovative and other industries may learn a great deal from how DevOps is working to overcome silo’ing and a lack of cooperation towards system goals.

Theory of Constraints may be used tohelp understand system goals and reduce silos in organizations.

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Books:  The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed and The Cynefin Mini-Book-Info-Q by Greg Brougham


Web: www.victorops.com



Twitter: @jasonhand


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Management Podcast, HRO podcast, DevOps, blame free post-mortem

Episode 24-Leadership, Safety and Quality in the Wireless Industry with Todd Schlekeway


Todd Schlekeway is the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors. In this episode we talk about what it takes to lead a trade association dedicated to quality and safety in what has traditionally been a high-risk industry. Todd shares his experiences in sports, legislature and trade association leadership and how he works to bring people together for a set of common goals in an extremely important industry.

Todd Schlekeway’s Biography:

Todd became the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) in June of 2012.  As Executive Director of NATE, Todd provides overall leadership and vision working in concert with the Association’s staff, Board of Directors, volunteer Standing Committees and approximately 780 member companies. 

Prior to joining NATE, Todd worked for seven years as the founder and principal of a public affairs and communications firm called Full Court Strategies Group, LLC.  Todd also has extensive policy experience having served for two terms in South Dakota’s state legislature where he represented a Sioux Falls, South Dakota legislative district in both the State House and the State Senate.

Todd received his undergraduate college degrees from the University of Sioux Falls (USF) with a B.A. in History/Political Science and a B.S. in Exercise Science. He also earned a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) from USF. While at the University of Sioux Falls, Todd also participated in collegiate athletics as a member of the USF basketball team.

Todd currently resides in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife Jill and three sons Gavin, Grant and Jett.

Show Notes:

Todd learned a lot about leadership through athletics. Character, integrity and building relationships and learning to deal with adversity very important in Todd’s life growing up and helped shape who he is today.

He now manages an 810+ member trade organization. The tower industry is a high-risk industry and NATE is working to make the industry safer.

Serving as a legislator helped Todd learn how to leverage relationships to pass legislations and build coalitions.

There are multiple layers within the tower industry and NATE is working hard to protect safety and quality from being compromised. There is a direct correlation between quality and safety.

Behind the mobile technology we use every day there are tower climbers doing work to construct, maintain and repair cell towers on a regular basis. This is an important job and safety has to be integrated into tower work. NATE is at the forefront of working to provide safety training for the tower industry.

As the industry prepares for 5G technology NATE is also preparing for the spike in demand and their mission is to help make sure the men and women working in the tower industry go home safely at the end of the day.

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Books:  The Bible. A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Web: www.natehome.com

Twitter: @natesafety

Email: todd@natehome.com


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Management Podcast, HRO podcas

Episode 23-Human Performance Tools for Reducing Biases and Improving Operations and Safety Performance with Mike Quashne of PPL


Mike Quashne is the Manager of Experience Assessment for PPL. In this episode we discuss Human Performance and how Human Performance tools may be used to help reduce biases and to help improve safety and operational performance.

Mike Quashne’s Biography:

Mike Quashne is a US Air Force Academy graduate and spent 7 years in the US Air Force as a personnel officer and project manager.  After leaving the Air Force he came to PPL Electric Utilities in the Transmission Project Management department, and recently took over as the Manager of Experience Assessment.  The team is responsible for their Corrective Action Program, which includes incident investigations and data tracking, and the human performance program, which is designed to prevent incidents by bringing attention to common, often unconscious, mental errors.

Show Notes:

Mike likens Human Performance to a “life hack” to help people to understand their unconscious decisions to help with recognizing where those may be pushing them into an error.

With unconscious bias it’s as if the brain fills in the gaps in our decision-making with information that isn’t always correct and sometimes this will set “error traps”

Human Performance Tools may be used to help reduce the likelihood workers will track into dangerous decision errors.

Communicating Human Performance Tools across the organization is important.

Storytelling and using stories to get the message across about what happened during events is important for organizational learning.

The Stop/Timeout Human Performance Tool is a last line of defense, but may be a very powerful tool if used correctly.

Even with standardized procedures, adaptability, thinking and decision-making will be required during complex work.

More often than not people succeed in their work, yet too often they are blamed when failure or error occurs.

Human Performance helps people to understand their decisions and reduce unconscious biases for improved decision-making.

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Funny video on communications: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=7&v=OdKa9bXVinE

Books: Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.


Web: www.pplweb.com


Email: mrquashne@pplweb.com


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Mangaement Podcast, HRO podcast


Episode 21-Disrupting Perceptions Around Human Error and Reducing Normalized Deviance with Gareth Lock


In this episode Gareth Lock and I talk about human factors and the importance of creating a team based environment and culture that supports open and honest feedback for safety and organizational improvement. Gareth talks about his efforts to improve safety in recreational diving as well.

Gareth Lock Biography:

Gareth is passionate about improving personal performance, taking lessons-learned from 25 years in the Royal Air Force as a C-130 navigator, instructor, military advisor to the research community and a requirements manager into different domains. His main area of focus at the moment is bringing human factors knowledge and non-technical skills or crew resource management training into recreational and technical diving, a sport with an inherent and irreducible risk. He is currently undertaking a part-time PhD examining the role of Human Factors in Diving incidents and accidents, and has recently launched two courses teaching human factors skills and knowledge to divers, especially relevant to those who face higher levels of risk or are supervisors or instructors.

Show Notes:

There is more behind the scenes than human error. When accidents or incidents happen and human error is listed as the cause, there is normally more within the system that led to the human error.

A lack of evidence as a result of a lack of reporting can impede improvement.

Defensiveness and a lack of accepting criticism can be a barrier to safety and organizational improvement.

“Absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence”-Nassim Taleb.

Just because there may not be a great deal of evidence about negative events doesn’t mean that safety deviations aren’t happening. Normalized deviance of proper and safe practices over time without any obvious incidents or accidents may lead people to believe that what they are doing is safe even though there may be excessive risk in the deviance from proper and safe procedures.

Building a habit of pre-checks, operational and safety awareness during operational execution, debriefing and lessons learned that seeks open and honest feedbackmay help improve human and organizational performance.

It can be hard to replicate operational failures in a lecture, but discussions and simulations may help accelerate the process of learning.

Adaptability as a core skill should be taught to teams working in high-risk environments.

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Books: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Just Culture by Sidney Dekker


 Email: gareth@humaninthesystem.co.uk

Web: https://www.humanfactors.academy and www.humaninthesystem.co.uk

Email: gareth@humaninthesystem.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garethlock


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcas, new view safety, safety II

Episode 20-Intelex Webinar On Sustainable Performance-Audio Rebroadcast of Ron Gantt and Randy Cadieux

This is the audio rebroadcast of an Intelex Community Webinar where Randy Cadieux and Ron Gantt discussed sustainable organizational performance and new ways to think about how safety practitioners may help organizations achieve production and safety goals in the long run. You can learn more about the Intelex Community at: community.intelex.com

Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, reliability, reliability leadership, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, resilience engineering, adaptive capacity

Episode 19-Disrupting Perceptions Around the Importance of Ergonomics and Its Relationship to Organizational Performance with Bryan Fass


Bryan Fass is the President and Founder of Fit Responder, whose mission is to improve Employer Financial Wellness and Employee Physical Wellness. Their tagline is Every Lift Counts. In this episode we talk about changing the paradigm of ergonomics, fitness and wellness for organizational improvement and how Bryan is working to disrupt the status quo regarding how teams and leaders view ergonomics and fitness, and their relationship to organizational performance.

Bryan Fass Biography:

Bryan has dedicated the past 10 years to changing the culture of Fire-EMS, Public Works and Industry from one of pain, injury and disease to one of ergonomic excellence and employee wellness.  Bryan has leveraged his 15-year career in Sports medicine, Athletic Training, Spine Rehabilitation, Strength & Conditioning and as a Paramedic to become the expert on pre-hospital patient handling/equipment handling, fire-EMS Fitness & industrial athletics. His company, Fit Responder, works nationally with departments to reduce injury and improve fitness. 

Show Notes:

In many high-risk organizations people learn by doing and learning from other more senior people can be helpful. When more experienced people tell stories about incidents this can facilitate learning. However, taking a proactive approach to learning in advance of incidents may help improve organizational performance.

Understanding how work is performed in the real world is important. Simulations should mimic real world conditions as closely as feasible. People will fall back to their lowest level of training.

Understanding the limitations on the human body and taking advantage of assistive devices to improve ergonomic performance may help with overall organizational performance in the short and long term.

Fatigue can play a significant role in human performance, and ergonomics training may help.

Many organizations in general spend very little time on helping people to survive the job for the long-term and often have employees watch videos on how to lift safely. Bryan feels it is important to improve video based education and to add a coaching process with master trainers.    

Bryan uses the mantra, “Use the Tool, Don’t Be the Tool” to help people to understand that assistive tools are there to help them to perform their jobs.

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Bryan recommends spending 30 minutes per day learning. Reading 30 minutes a day can be highly beneficial and a good leader who is in constant growth mode should invest time every day.


Web: www.fitresponder.com

Free newsletter available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fitresponder/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FitResponder

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fit-responder

Episode 18-Reliability Leadership with Terrance O’Hanlon


In this episode Terrance O’Hanlon and I talk about reliability, safety and operational excellence. We dive deep into leadership and talk about how if leaders really want to be excellent at their jobs they need to get better at asking questions and listening. Terrance gives some excellent advice for leaders and for helping their workers to understand the value in their work. Terrance’s Bio: Terrence O'Hanlon, CMRP is the Publisher of Reliabilityweb.com®, RELIABILITY® Magazine and Uptime® Magazine. He is certified in Asset Management by the Institute of Asset Management and is a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional by SMRP. Terrence is the acting Executive Director of the Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP). He is the executive editor and Publisher of the 5th Edition of the Asset Management Handbook. Terrence is also a voting member of the US TAG (PC251) for ISO 55000 - ASTM E53 Asset Management Standards Committee. More recently Mr. O’Hanlon has been selected as the sole US Representation through ANSI for ISO Working Group 39 to create a standard for competence in assessing and certifying Asset Management programs known as ISO 17021-5. Mr. O’Hanlon is also a member of the Institute of Asset Management, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, The Association of Facilities Engineers, Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.

Show Notes: There are a number of proven tools for improving reliability, yet they fail about 70% of the time. Effective leadership behind these tools is one of the key drivers behind what makes these tools successful. Reliability is directly tied to safety. Reliability goes beyond the business case. It can be a factor in promoting social good, and it and can be seen as a way of life. It can be very empowering when leaders ask workers about their jobs and about what they do and know. Not only can leaders learn more, but when workers have the opportunity to explain their work it can improve morale. Asking questions, working through inquiry and listening to answers can create a more powerful force in creating greater reliability. Leaders need to work through master to discovery. Leaders need to build trust with their subordinates and have to in turn trust them. Organizations should work to preempt failures and work to prevent failures from “piercing the shell” of organizations. Organizations should work to avoid letting defects into the system. They should work to find and remove the sources of the potential defects before they enter the system, which creates greater reliability, as opposed to allowing defects into the system and then finding and fixing them later. Detection is a necessary skill, but the leverage is not letting the defects into the system. You can help do that through empowering and engaging the team and empowering team members to fix the defects before they enter the system without having to go through a bureaucratic process.

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Books: How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard, The Toyota Way by Jeffery Liker, Don't Just Fix It, Improve It! by Winston Ledet and Sherri Abshire

99 Percent Invisible Podcast About Air France Flight 447: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/children-of-the-magenta-automation-paradox-pt-1/


Web: www.reliabilityweb.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/reliabilityweb

Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, reliability, reliability leadership, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, tower safety, wireless safety

Episode 17-Safety and Reliability in the Wireless Tower Industry with Wade Sarver


In this episode Wade Sarver and I talk about the wireless tower industry, some of the operational and safety challenges faced by tower crews, and the importance of leadership and its relationship to near-miss reporting and safety.

Wade’s Bio:

Working in wireless for over 25 years, over 10 years tower climbing, Wade has been part of the wireless revolution and seen all types of wireless deployments, problems and solutions. That is why www.wade4wireless.com was created. To serve the wireless communications industry with a blog and podcast to help wireless deployment teams, engineers and installers as well as business owners, learn from past mistakes and improve. It became Wade’s mission to improve work processes and safety for wireless field workers. 

Show Notes:

OSHA isn’t on the jobsite to simply shut a job down. They are there to help. The tower industry needs to educate regulators about the problems they experience.

Regulators create baseline safety regulations, and there needs to be a relationship between industry and regulatory bodies so a constructive dialogue about safety can occur.

In the tower industry near-misses are not recorded enough because people are afraid of getting in trouble. However, if near-misses can be recorded learning can occur to make operations safer in the future.  Organizations may benefit from anonymous near-miss reporting systems, which may help workers feel more comfortable reporting.

If tower companies or any organizations want to learn and improve they have to establish a relationship that fosters open communication between workers, managers and leaders.

When an accident occurs even if human error was a causal factor, there were likely system factors that influenced the human behavior. Organizations need to build in layers of resources in order to create safer systems. Cost cutting measures that reduce the ability of organizations to spend adequate money on resources can reduce layers and levels of safety. 

“What we permit, we promote.” If leaders are pretending unethical things aren’t happening and turn their backs on unethical procedures, this is like telling workers that it is permissible to perform those unethical practices. 

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Wade Sarver’s books:

Scope of Work Overview: A high level overview of the Wireless SOW. 

Field Worker's Aid for Tower Site Work, Wireless

Deployment Handbook: LTE Small Cells, CRAN, and DAS Edition

Tower Climbing: An Introduction: Wade4Wireless (by Wade and Jodi Sarver)

Other books: 

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Patterson, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin


Follow the wireless deployment blog at www.wade4wireless.com or listen to the podcast: 

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wade4wireless-blogcast/id884500168?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Stitcher : http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/wade4wireless?refid=stpr

Wade works to keep you up to date with the latest wireless information! Feel free to email Wade at wade4wireless@gmail.com for more information. 


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, tower safety, wireless safet

Episode 16-Theory of Constraints and Leadership Lessons with John Covington


In this episode John Covington and I talk about leadership and his experience with Theory of Constraints and culture change.

John’s Bio: 

John Covington is president and owner of Chesapeake Consulting, Inc. since 1988.  Chesapeake provides operations improvement, leadership development and project management support for both commercial and government accounts.  John did his undergraduate work at the United States Naval Academy and the University of Alabama receiving a BS in Chemical Engineering.    

He has held a variety of engineering, management and executive positions with Dupont, Stauffer Chemicals and Sherwin-Williams. He has authored numerous articles and five books on leadership development, process improvement and faith.  He was selected business person of the year in 2002 by the Severna Park, Maryland, Chamber of Commerce. 

He is a Distinguished Fellow in both the College of Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Alabama and sits on the Deans Leadership Council.  He serves on several charity boards including Capstone Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering advisory board, The Blackburn Institute, and Dogs Finding Dogs, a K-9 search and rescue group for pets.   

He is an active church member and is involved in several community charity organizations. 

Chesapeake Consulting opened a Tuscaloosa office in January of 2015 and John moved to Alabama from Maryland in April of 2015.  

He has been married to Linda Covington since 1972, is an avid biker, dog trainer and is a terrible golfer. 

Show Notes:

Complex systems normally have one thing that drives them and that can be a leverage point. The Theory of Constraints tries to simplify complex systems. The culture of a company is extremely important when trying to implement Theory of Constraints.

Leading organizations requires at least 3 things: Disruption, making sure things are aligned and honoring people.

Leadership development is something that has to be ongoing.

Self-awareness is a large part of leadership and there must be an ongoing accountability and leadership development process to help leaders maintain their self-awareness for leadership results.

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Book Recommendations: The Bible, Enterprise Fitness and What I Learned about Leadership from My Dog (both by John Covington), Influencer by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones


Web: https://chesapeakeconsultinginc.com/

Email: jcovington@chesapeak.com

Phone: 205-759-8259


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcas

Episode 15-Adaptability, Crisis Planning and Business Resilience with Peter J. Munson


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.

Show Notes:

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.

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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


Blog: http://peterjmunson.blogspot.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterjmunson 


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcas

Episode 14-Operational Excellence with Todd Conklin


In this episode Todd Conklin and I talk a lot about human error, safety at the margins and Operational Excellence. Two of the key takeaways are that human error is not a choice and that organizations that can learn from themselves are on the path towards Operational Excellence.

Reminder about Intelex Webinar on July 28:

This is a short reminder about the Intelex Webinar July 28, 2016 from 10:00-10:30 EST where Ron Gantt and I will discuss “How to create sustainable performance and achieve organizational goals through safety.”

Here is the link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8877148295350507012

In this webinar, we will identify: 

1. The goals of a safety management program and their relationship to organizational performance. 
2. Factors and Barriers that enable or disable sustainable performance. 
3. The best practices that organizations can implement to facilitate building sustainable expert performance.

Show Notes:

Many people consider human error a poor choice on the part of front line operators, supervisors or whoever made the error. However, error isn’t necessarily a choice. It is often influenced by numerous system factors that lead to a deviation from expected or desired performance and many of these factors are beyond the control of the person who made the error.

A goal of zero incidents or accidents is the moral goal. However, chasing a goal of zero accidents may be problematic for organizations that are complex systems or operate complex systems. As a general rule, most organizations are complex systems. If we incorrectly treat organizations as simple systems we may chase a lagging indicator of zero incidents and not understand the factors that actually develop to lead to incidents or accidents. We must understand that organizations have numerous interconnected parts and the way those parts integrate and connect can change and risk can emerge around those connection points. Therefore, rather than chasing a goal of zero lagging indicators organizations may be better-served by gaining an understanding of risk within their systems.

Randy likes to describe Operational Excellence as “sustainable mission accomplishment through the use of quality, safety and reliability methods.” These methods must work within the organization and they may vary from one organization to another. Todd uses a very interesting description of Operational Excellence which encompasses these points. He calls Operational Excellence “the ability of an organization to learn from itself.” This highlights the importance of organizational learning.

When talking about safety and work as it is actually done operational teams often work at the edge of the boundaries of operational drift and this area of performance may be referred to as the safety margin. It is within this space of safety and operational performance where crews, teams and workers actively create and manage safety so that safety is a mission-enabler to help the organization achieve its production/operations goals.

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Book Recommendations: Pre-Accident Investigations: Better Questions-An Applied Approach to Operational Learning by Todd Conklin, A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel, The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error 3rd Edition by Sidney Dekker.


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcas

Episode 13-Disruptive Leadership and Entrepreneurship with Joe Crane from Veteran On The Move


Joe Crane describes his journey into entrepreneurship and the benefits of entrepreneurism. We also discuss how to be an intrapreneur (an entrepreneur within a larger organization). 

Joe’s Biography:

LtCol) Joe Crane retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after 24 years of service. He was an AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter pilot and completed two combat flying tours in Iraq. Joe is now an airline pilot and host of the Veteran On the Move podcast. "Your Pathfinder to Freedom" Providing knowledge and inspiration to veterans aspiring to transition to the exciting world of entrepreneurship.

Show Notes:

Entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learned if given the right kind of training. 

When organizations free up some of the bureaucratic institutional rules that hold back innovation, intrapreneurs may be able to help their organizations succeed by being more innovative. 

Sometimes the really hard part is getting the ball rolling with entrepreneurship, but if people want to become entrepreneurs they may be able to take their time to prepare for the new role of entrepreneurism. 

Veterans tend to make great entrepreneurs due to their leadership capabilities and ability to innovate, adapt and thrive.

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Book Recommendations:  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Will It Fly by Pat Flynn


Web: www.veteranonthemove.com

Email: joe@veteranonthemove.com  


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Episode 12-V-Speed Academy Leadership Lesson Number Two: The Role of the Front Line Supervisor

This is a short podcast episode where I deliver some education or at least opinion and perspective on leadership, operations and safety performance based on things I have seen or experienced or perhaps read or learned through dialogue with colleagues.

In this episode I want to talk about the subject of front line supervisors operational workarounds or where operational teams will modify procedures to meet the goals of the organization,

 Earlier in the week I was at the ASSE PDC in Atlanta. Had a great time, met some great people. In the course of discussing our CRM-PRO-LSW training workshops I found out that a lot of organizations select their first line supervisors out of their worker/technician ranks. I largely knew this to be true, but I wanted to listed to the perspectives of folks in different organizations to find out some of their challenges and struggles in creating effective teams with outstanding front line supervisors.

What is the role of the supervisor? To SUPERVISE. It isn’t necessarily to be a “task master,” but to use the words of Bill Brown from Episode 3, they should “Lead, Teach, Coach and Council.” But how can they do those things if they haven’t been trained? What can you do to help your front line supervisors to become better team leaders so they supervise their teams and bring out the best in their workers?

After, all, isn’t that one of the most important roles of the supervisor? I think their role is to bring out the best in their teams so they can collectively accomplish their production goals safety and in accordance with their quality and reliability goals. 

The copyrighted material below is taken from V-Speed’s CRM-PRO-LSW training module on leadership:

“What are some of the qualities you should promote in your supervisors?

  • Takes ownership of functional areas and team
    • Processes and tasks
    • Doesn’t look the other way when a problem ID’d
    • Doesn’t wait for someone else to take action if able   to solve at his/her level
    • Owns problem until resolved or brought to someone else’s attention if unable to resolve at his/her level
  • Coaching approach to develop team
    • Asking guiding questions, providing suggestions to help team members become better decision-makers

Who should you look for when seeking out technicians to promote to supervisory roles and what qualities should you look for?

  • Integrity
  • Stopping work in the face of pressure when the environment is too hazardous
  • Standing up to the pressure of supervisors when they know conditions are unsafe
  • Identifies system problems and solutions rather than laying blame
  • Willingness to interject opinion even when nobody else is speaking up (groupthink) 

Developing Supervisory skills

  • Allow employees who show the right potential leadership opportunities
    • Create the right environment and opportunities, yet put controls in place to mitigate shortcomings
    • May need to allow graceful failure sometimes for learning opportunities to work
  • Coaching future leaders to see system problems rather than simply blaming people
  • Debriefing culture/lessons-learned focus and tools
  • Build safety leadership into your culture”

What do you think? What is the role of the front line supervisor and how should he or she be trained? What is the role of the top level leader and upper manager in shaping the conditions so front line supervisors can do their job effectively? 

Episode 11-Organizational Safety Capability Maturity with Mr. Daniel Slattery


Daniel is the Vice President of Operations at SafetyPro Resources. In this episode we talk about a variety of topics related to safety and organizational performance, including emotional intelligence, organizational resilience, Capability Maturity Model, and planning work with the right tools for the task.

Daniel Slattery's Biography:

Daniel is the Vice President of Operations at SafetyPro Resources, LLC headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA.  Daniel is an Associate Safety and Health Manager (ISHM), a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence and Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ). Daniel  received his Master of Science degrees in Occupational Safety & Health and Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Alabama, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Strayer University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is a Doctoral Candidate in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Daniel’s professional safety career began in 1997 working in emergency medical services and he has expanded his experience in health and safety management systems, ergonomics/human factors, behavior-based safety, systems and process safety, competency development/management, and program design and development for an array of industrial markets including: oil & gas (upstream and downstream), healthcare, refineries, and shipyards. 

Show Notes:

Safety is driven by a need, just like other parts of business.

Safety performance may be thought of in terms of a Capability Maturity Model where organizations move up the maturity ladder as they strive to go beyond simple compliance to continuous improvement.

When feasible, organizations should strive to become self-sustaining with their safety programs and safety management systems.

Safety isn’t a task. It is an emergent property of a complex system or organization.

Organizations must properly plan their work and use the right tools for the task to help design safety into their jobs.

Resilience starts and ends with front line workers. Organizations need to build adaptability as a competency in their workers and teams.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 0:41-Randy introduces Daniel Slattery and describes who he is, including reading his biography.
  • 3:10- Randy asks Daniel, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 13:58-Randy asks Daniel about an “Aha moment” that shaped his outlook on business and leadership.
  • 16:31-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 24:33-Randy asks Daniel about his next projects or areas of interest he wants to explore and he describes management systems implementation from more of a human factors standpoint.
  • 30:55-Randy asks Daniel, “What area(s) in leadership or organization development do you think needs disruption and why?”


Book Recommendations:

Cadieux, Randy E. Team Leadership in High-Hazard Environments: Performance, Safety and Risk Management Strategies for Operational Teams.

Conklin, Todd. Pre-Accident Investigations.


Web: www.safetyproresources.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dpslattery

Episode 10-Entrepreneurial Advice to Benefit Leaders from All Industries with Sean K. Murphy


Sean K. Murphy has an accomplished career in a variety of industries, including software engineering, project management and business development. In this episode we talk about leadership, resilience and reliability from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I am firmly convinced that all leaders need to understand something about entrepreneurism and how entrepreneurial skills may help leaders to develop more resilient organizations. Sean has some outstanding advice for leaders, regardless of their industry. 

Sean’s Biography:

Sean Murphy has worked in a variety of roles in the last twenty-five years: software engineer, engineering manager, project manager, business development, product marketing, and customer support. Companies he has worked directly for include Cisco Systems, 3Com, AMD, MMC Networks, and VLSI Technology. He has a BS in Mathematical Sciences and an MS in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford.

Show Notes:

Changes make things obsolete so organizations need room to experiment in environments that are safe to fail in. A degree if failure has to be tolerated if organizations want to seek improvement and build resiliency.

Organizations need to plan for iteration.

Organizations should consider a stream of small failures and include resilience and recovery plans for overlapping repair. Startup organizations should have 2-3 backup plans ready.

Leaders need to review and critique their own performance in order to improve.  They also need to be willing to say, “I don’t know.”

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Time-Stamped Show Notes:

·      0:35-Randy introduces Sean Murphy and describes who he is, including reading his biography.

·      3:30- Randy asks Sean, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”

·      8:02-Randy and Sean discuss the concept of going all in with one course of action and having no backup options, and the potential dangers of not having backup plans.

·      18:00-Randy asks Sean about some of the reasons for business failure, such as giving up too early or scaling too quickly and Sean provides his perspective.

·      25:29-Randy asks Sean about an “Aha moment” that shaped his outlook on business and leadership. Sean describes the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.

·      32:15-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.

·      33:40-Randy asks Sean, “What area(s) in leadership or organization development do you think needs disruption and why?” 


Article about avoiding backup plans: http://www.inc.com/deborah-petersen/elizabeth-holmes-avoid-backup-plans.html

Book Recommendations: Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, and Effectual Entrepreneurship by Sara Sarasvathy


Web: www.skmurphy.com (includes blog and contact info)




Episode 9-Learning to Reach Stretch Goals by Running 100 Miles with Ultra-Marathon Runner David Tosch


David Tosch has an accomplished career as a business leader in the dental laboratory industry and as an ultra-marathon and endurance runner. He is also the founder of a company that creates shorter and longer distance trail runs, including ultra endurance trail runs. In this episode we talk about breaking audacious goals into shorter, more achievable goals. 

David’s Biography:

David Tosch is an accomplished business leader, and ultramarathon runner. He credits his start in distance running to a time in junior high school, when he realized that to be a distance runner in track he didn’t have to run fast. He attended the University of Texas system, graduating from the Univesity of Texas at Dallas Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. He ran his first marathon around the 1979-1980 timeframe and in 1980 he founded Tosch Laboratory, Inc. (Dental Laboratory) in Dallas, Texas, and later moved the lab to Birmingham, AL. His list of marathons and ultra endurance runs is extensive, including multiple 100 mile endurance runs, such as The Pinhoti 100,The Leadville 10, the Wasatch 100, the Tahoe Rim Tiral 100, The Rocky Raccoon 100, the Grindstone 100 and the Hardrock 100. He has also participated in numerous Ironman events and even had the opportunity to run with Bill Rogers in 1980. David is the founder ofSoutheastern Trail Runs and the Run For Kids Challenge, which raises money for Camp Smile-A-Mile. 

Show Notes:

People may not realize what they can truly accomplish in life and by setting a series of goals along a path to an overall stretch goal they may be able to reach new levels of achievement. David shows people how to do this by creating a series of runs, starting out at 5k at the beginning of the trail running season and going all the way up to 50 or 100 miles at the end of the season.

From a business leadership standpoint this may be thought of as creating a series of SMART goals to achieve stretch goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. 

David discussed the need for runners to think about safety when planning their trail runs and consider some of the safety requirements that go into it. Lessons may be drawn from this and compared to High-Reliability Organizations (HRO). 

Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: www.v-speedsafety.com/email-subscription

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

·      0:45-Randy introduces David Tosch and describes who he is, including reading his “informal” biography.

·      3:15- Randy asks David, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”

·      5:47-David describes how he got inspired to run marathons after watching Frank Shorter win the Gold Medal in the marathon at the1972 Olympic Games.

·      8:12-Randy asks David about his current projects and work and David describes the origins of Southeastern Trail Runs and describes his charitable work with Camp Smile-A-Mile in Alabama.

·      13:55-David describes how he created a method to teach people how to run competitive trail runs starting with a 3 mile run and working at progressively longer runs up to 50 miles over the course of a trail running season.

·      15:30-David describes Zig Ziglar’s methodology of breaking long term goals into shorter term goals and how this approach has influenced his trail running program.

·      17:13-Randy asks David to describe stories about people who started running shorter distances and worked up to ultra endurance runs.

·      24:24-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.

·      25:42-Randy describes breaking ultra visions into step-wise goals and the analogy of breaking down long runs into smaller goals and business leaders creating visions and breaking them into shorter-term goals. David describes techniques and how he “tricks himself” to help him achieve his long term goals when the runs get to their hardest points.

·      29:09-Randy takes David’s advice and makes the connection to achieveing safety or quality goals, such as an ISO certification.

·      29:40-Randy asks David, “If you could be granted one wish for  your outlook on charity, personal development, or limiting beliefs what would it be?” David describes his desire for people to be better stewards with national parks and trails. 


Book Recommendations: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, “Trail Runner” Magazine and “Ultra Runner” Magazine, Ken Follett books, including The Fall of Giants and The Eye of the NeedleFor Those I’ve Loved by Martin Gray.


Web: www.southeasterntrailruns.com 


Email: david@davidtosch.com 

Blog: www.davidtosch.com

Episode 8-Disruptive Leadership and High Reliability in Healthcare with Dr. Marty Scott


Marty Scott describes his experience with safety and quality and tells engaging stories about his journey towards high reliability in healthcare.

Dr. Marty Scott’s Biography:

In March 2015, Marty B. Scott, M.D. was named Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer for Meridian Health System. At Meridian, he will be using his expertise in high reliability to strengthen patient safety, quality, and the overall patient experience. Previously, he served at Wake Forest Baptist Health, which he joined as Vice President of Brenner Children’s Hospital in October 2010. A leader in children’s healthcare and administration, Dr. Scott served as Brenner’s Senior Administrative Executive until July of 2014. During his tenure, Brenner Children’s Hospital debuted in the US News and World Reports Top 50 Children’s Hospitals.  In addition to his responsibilities as Vice President of Brenner, Dr. Scott was named Chief Patient Safety Officer in July 2011. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating tasks and activities associated with ensuring the safety of all Wake Forest Baptist health patients. In July of 2014 he was named Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer with the added responsibilities for the quality and performance improvement of the healthcare system. He had a joint faculty appointment as a Pediatric Intensivists within the Departments of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology.

Dr. Scott completed his undergraduate work at David Lipscomb College in Nashville and earned his medical degree at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He received his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Show Notes:

High-reliability is a journey, it isn’t necessarily an end goal because when organizations say “we’ve arrived” at high-reliability it is easy to let their guard down.

Most employees go to work each day to do a good job, not to cause errors or failures. Unfortunately many people believe that accidents or failures are the fault of errant employees who are not trying hard enough. The reality is that even when failure occurs in the presence of people doing work, there are often underlying condtions

In many situations safety must come first. Safety, quality, empathy and respect are important for high-reliability, but in many high-reliability organizations safety must come before the other goals, and those other goals will be subordinate to safety. However, empathy and respect for others can help when leaders explain why safety must come first.

Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: www.v-speedsafety.com/email-subscription.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

·      0:35-Randy introduces Dr. Marty Scott and describes who he is, including reading his formal biography.

·      3:16- Randy asks Marty, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”

·      4:20-Marty and Randy discuss how most employees go to work every day to do a good job, not to make mistakes or errors or cause failure.

·      8:18-Randy asks Marty to discuss his perspective on empathy and respect.

·      18:33-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.

·      31:07-Randy asks Marty, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?”


Book Recommendation: Drive by Daniel Pink, Managing the Unexpected by Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, Influencer by Joseph Grenny, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.


Web: www.meridianhealth.com

Email: mbscott@meridianhealth.com