Dave Yarin is a compliance and risk management consultant, and he shares a story of how good leaders can make horrible mistakes by ignoring the warning signs, and what they can do to prevent these mistakes.
Dave starts the discussion about risk and risk assessments saying that a SWOT analysis is a good starting point. Risk is defined in the broadest sense including strategic risk, environmental risk, industry risk, regulatory and compliance risk. He talks about using research into past news events in which the warnings that surfaced were ignored.
His noted example of this is a 1972 flight from JFK in New York to Miami, Flight 401. A failed indicator light saying that the The four man crew all put their focus on the light bulb, ignoring the the accidental removal of the flight from autopilot crashing the airplane and killing over a hundred people including the crew. The story led to the evolution of crew resource management practices in airlines. This process was successfully deployed with much different results in Captain Sully Sullenberger’s successful landing of the USAirways flight in the Hudson River.
The key for industry is to not focus on one risk at the risk of missing something very real and dangerous. He talks about “tone at the top” being the example so that the urgency reaches all the way down the organization to the line rather than sitting well documented but dormant in policy manuals. The message has to be simple–“If you have a question or concern, report it.” You have to have the systems in place to allow them to report issues, even anonymously, if necessary.
His soon to be published book Fair Warning talks about other stories with the recurring theme of credible people trying to warn of a pending disaster and why these warning were ignored. He points out that humans have in their social psychology a norm to ignore these warnings.
The post he wrote about the attention span of younger generations originally brought the Labrador Leadership audience to Dave. As a student of pop culture, he just found himself sensitive to the scene lengths of all three shows. His simple research is evidence of our decreasing attention span. His number one piece of advice is to take great care of your communication.
Dave and Bob also walk through the concept of the learning organization and why it is important for organizations to to provide the appropriate opportunities for their employees. Also, with an improving economy and an uptick in the capital markets, companies are looking for their next play.
On Twitter @daveyarin
On his website daveyarin.com