Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year Resolutions

New Year was just around the corner and many of us made New Year resolutions. These resolutions are often trivial, but still not less important to us when made. At the end of the year we may review these resolutions from previous year and assess how we did. However, by the time first month is gone, most of us have forgotten all about what resolutions were made. By the end of the year most of have forgot that any resolutions were made, so we ignore it and move forward with more resolutions. This may go on for years with the end result that nothing is being accomplished. 

Looking back has no value unless it's carried forward

When an organization is operating without a system; including policies, objective, goals and parameters, management becomes trivial New Year resolutions.  At the end of the year we may review, but without documentation it becomes a simpler task to forget the past and move on with new intentions.

Blogs of 2014 are ongoing New Year resolutions with the following New Year Eve being the date of a virtual Management Review.  Blogs of 2014 included several principles of SMS, with some of these being reviewed below. 

  • An effective non-punitive policy, which is not a "get out of jail free" card or an organizational excuse to deliver inferior quality job performance.  A non-punitive policy represents accountability and excellence;  
  • A fully operational SMS, which is a conglomerate plan of components, policies, objectives, goals and parameters; 
  • A system for documentation, knowing that documents are is the chosen method to recall plans, policies, objectives, goals and parameters, and a tool to recall future plans;
  • Training,  for all to receive job performance training to further develop performance skills to become a specialist in one area, or a selective few areas and receive SMS training;
  • Since the European bees did not perform well in the tropical climate of Brazil a plan was introduced to breed European honey bees with African honey bees. The goal was to create a bee which was gentle, highly productive and successful in the tropics. However, there was a system failure in the process which caused the creation of a Killer Bee;
  • Apply SMS as a tool for an enterprise to manage the day to day operation, to plan for the future and to analyze processes applied in the past for further improvement of operational safety;
  • Applying risk assessment to obvious situations that are threats to aviation safety, but also remember that pleasant conversation at the dinner table could distract and cause a human mind to drift away from focusing on tasks. What takes place at the dinner table may be a contributing factor to the outcome of next flight;
  • SMS makes aviation safer and a Safety Management System is a positive addition to deliver quality service to the flying public. Airlines operating within an SMS system are far better off than someone without an operational control management system;
  • Ensure manuals are up to date and relevant since the shelves could be stacked with manuals of different kinds and collecting more dust than fingerprints. Common purposes of manuals are to serve as a memory bank;
  • Assess the operation for effectiveness without falling into the trap that having the paperwork in order becomes more important than the process itself;
  • Changes are necessary to improve safety and not let accidents lead the way for improvements. In the days before SMS, it was acceptable for accidents to generate great improvements to flight safety. Prior to an unexpected accident the operation appeared to functioned perfectly and wasn't fixed, since it wasn't broken. What was forgotten is that it's "what you don't know that is what will surprise you";
  • The job needs to be done with accountability and not just because the boss is expecting quality. It could become a task to ensure the job is done correctly when the boss is away. In a professional organization it becomes critical to ensure that everyone performs their tasks to an expected level of standard;
  • Performance measurements are tools in a decision making process. Decisions are in concept either based on personal experience or on process data, as Operational or Optimal decisions. Operational decisions are based on heuristic data of outcome, while optimal decisions are based on variations and performance measurements;
  • It is not true that when holes in the "Swiss Cheese" lines up accidents happens. If this was the case, safety could then be managed like dropping a bag of marbles to spread in random patterns to manage the unknown. It is how the cheese is sliced to line up the holes, or to avoid the holes, that cause, or avoid accidents. When managing safety, daily routines and practices must be analyzed and then proceed to slice the task to manage the holes in the processes.    

Changing policies has no effect unless the process is changed

At the end of the year these new resolutions of policies, objective, goals and parameters are reviewed, malfunctioning processes are changed with corrective action plans, effectiveness of prior years are assessed and guidelines for upcoming year is established.
New Year resolutions have been in place for centuries, but it took a new system of SMS to make these proposals effective.