Processes/Systems/Checklists


(Jodie Stainton) #1

So I was watching Sully on the weekend (a movie about the pilot who landed the plane in the Hudson River in NY). Right at the end of the movie, there’s a part where Sully and his co-pilot are at the hearing which is determining whether they made the right call or not. Spoiler Alert… please stop reading if you want to watch the movie!!

So, they prove that the pilots in the simulators could have made the two nearest airports, but Sully asks the question, how many times did the pilots train to make the landing? It turns out it was 17 times. He says that taking out the human factor - that is, time to analyse what was going on and make a decision and being directed what to do, meant that the pilots, after 17 tries could make the airport. So they put in a 35 second delay for the ‘human factor’ and it clearly showed they wouldn’t have made it and Sully was in fact a hero.

It got me thinking about our processes and systems and how we’re making sure that we take into account the human factor. How we make processes simple and train our people so they’d make good decisions in crisis situations. Who’s doing what in this space? How do you analyse whether your processes/systems/checklists are actually any good? How often do you look at them? I want to throw out everything I ‘know’ and start again.


(Terri Handy) #2

I love this movie and that point really struck home with me too. 17 times, without the pressure of a plane full of humans who are depending upon you to get it right - the first time.

I think the airline industry is a great one for us to look to for inspiration. They are very process driven and have to deliver great service to a wide demographic of people who will be utilising their services for all different types of reasons. They are responsible for the care of someone’s most important asset (their life) and their client’s expectations keep rising and rising (:rofl:). There are definitely a few similarities I can see.

Training for the right decisions, at the right moment - not just crisis situations is really important.

I am very keen to see what others do.

I know I find case studies a great way to help with ideas on what to do in different situations.


(Marine Funfrock) #3

I personally love Leeroy Gethro Gibbs (NCIS for those who don’t know) way of looking at this : Trust your training, trust your gut, trust your team.

There are processes, the same way that there are laws, and there is life and how you interpret them on the day to day basis.

You can hedge on a lot of things like having your insurance cover most known and unknown risks, having a PR department that will takeover any mistake adequately, but human error will always be a risk. The only way to manage this risk is to increase training and having a second level of review.

My partner works in the airline industry. His job is to sign off the aircraft and the maintenance done on them. He uses 6 different methods that are way over my head to explain (he tries, but invariably after 15secs, my mind has already switched off) and compares his findings to what the norm should be for such an aircraft. if not good enough, the aircraft is grounded pending further maintenance and again some testing.

He has been trained and need to be re-certified every 3 years on all the methods he uses, and he uses a manual with specs that varies for each aircraft. The training and recert is part of what makes the difference.

In a more usual context, you learn to drive and follow the driving code to the letter at the start. Imagine if we had to get a recertification every 3 years on how to interpret the driving code and how to drive… there would probably be less accidents in the long run.

the other part is to ensure that when someone makes a call he follows the right chain of command. In the accounting industry, no email goes out to a client without a partner in cc. No advice goes out without a review and sign off by a partner either. People there are trained on the laws and rules and interpretations to follow, but 9 times out of 10, the case is not a textbook one, so we talk, we review every single line of legislation and compare caselaw with the case at hand, then the manager usually lay out the reasoning, the partner validates and the junior executes and prepares everything for review.

So the question is how soon do you want to know that there’s a risk.

What I have been telling our team is: if you’re unsure, come and see me and if I’m not there call me or send me what you think should be answered and why so I can have a look.

My inbox has increased but at least I know I can count on them to tell me of anything that does not fit the usual standard and they know I’ve got their back. In that way, I’m following how I’ve been trained and I’m training them to do the same.

Don’t know if that helps.


(Jodie Stainton) #4

Great information @marine - love your question on knowing how soon you want to know there is a risk. So many things to consider. I don’t think that in general, our teams know when to escalate something and worse, some do know but hide things. Others escalate everything, which is just as annoying and in a one way, risky to the growth of the division.

There’s the above but also how effective are our checklists and processes? How effective in terms of the customer satisfaction, less errors/therefore risk, more productivity, smoother & quicker transitions and less friction between departments. So many things to consider.
This is our BDM checklist that we’re working on at the moment. Would love feedback. I wonder if there is a simple framework to measure effectiveness of checklists and processes? I’m about to re-read The Checklist Manifesto as it’s been a long time - anyone else got any good reading on this?


(Marine Funfrock) #5

The other thing I was thinking about regarding this is that apart from checklists and processes, if you have strong values in place and your employees are embodying these values all the time (that’s where recruitment has a value add in my view) then you’re probably safer too. i.e. values of transparency, trust, collaboration and thinking on your 2 feet may well be what can ensure that nothing stays hidden.

Thanks for the reference, I’ve read a lot of things but not this one :slight_smile: