Safety Strategies

Start in the Disorder domain of the Cynefin Framework. Be certain on the purpose of the safety intervention. For instance, if it is a lack of skills, then it’s a straight-forward training issue on the Ordered Side either in the Simple or Complicated domain. If you’re not sure if training is the solution (possibly a personal motivation or crew conflict problem), then uncertainty will place you into the Complex domain where you will Probe, Sense, Respond.

Find out what’s really going on through narrative research.  Move away from surveys and interview techniques which suffer from cognitive bias. Use the power of stories and their ability to effectively map safety culture issues. Introduce Sensemaker® as a possible tool to build a credible dataset.

In the Complex domain, probe your complex adaptive system with safe-to-fail experiments. Monitor the workplace to accelerate desirable or dampen undesirable behaviour. Recognize the pattern(s) that begin to emerge. 

From the patterns, design new safety solutions that, in hindsight, will seem obvious. Test before scaling.

Move into the Complicated domain by documenting changes in process, system, and structure changes. Distribute the new skills and knowledge through training and learning avenues.

Continue to diagnose by collecting stories and fragments of everyday conversations to monitor safety and manage risk. Share dataset with storytellers to demonstrate how their contributions reveal the safety culture.

Strengthen safety Robustness in areas that are identified by storytellers. Purposely allow slack in the organization to build safety Resilience. Slack means having humans readily available to respond quickly when failure happens and exploit serendipitous opportunities that emerge. While the concept of dedicated trouble crews is common, agile companies can quickly assemble an improvement team at a moment’s notice.

Slack also means acting on the early detection of movement into the complacency zone and pulling back in time.

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