Building Organisational Resilience
Building organisational resilience to human frailties - a new approach to improving
safety, quality and performance.
My longest standing area of focus within Occupational Psychology has related to how and
why people make mistakes. I have seen organisations consistently surprised by people not following procedures, by being unpredictable, by totally missing information that is in front of them, by misinterpreting the data, and by simply doing the ‘wrong’ thing.
Making mistakes is an inherent part of being human. We can’t create the perfect environment, which will ‘human proof’ all activities. We can take steps to minimize the risks, by designing environments, jobs and processes that use our knowledge and understanding of behaviour (human factors) to minimize risk. But we are all complex, full of flaws in the way that we make decisions and strongly influenced by emotion and social environments, and inevitably will behave in ‘unpredictable’ ways every now and again.
This is why my focus is on creating organisational cultures which drive the right attitudes and behaviours, and include an ability to be resilient to mistakes occurring. These are organisational cultures where people are not surprised by mistakes and errors, where people are not reactive in response and don’t look for someone to blame. They are environments where every situation is seen as an opportunity to understand more about the organisational system, and where there is creativity in looking for solutions based on a deep understanding of human psychology.
I have worked with organisations to:
- Investigate and deeply understand why things have gone wrong
- Anticipate and understand the impact of a significant organisational change on leaders' ability to focus on safety
- Assess staff attitudes to key components of safety culture
- Understand fatigue and how that can impact performance
- Develop culture maturity models – defining, assessing and planning an approach to developing a resilient organisational culture
- Understand the factors that can contribute to attention failures.