So, now we know. To insure that employees (primarily managers) would get a good night’s sleep, the alarms on the TransOcean drilling rig (the aptly named Deepwater Horizon; to inform us what was , indeed, just on the horizon) were turned off. To insure that Metro (DC) could keep operating the subways without slowdowns, train dispatchers turned off the alarms on sections of track by the Fort Totten station.
What, you say? How could THEY do that??? How about some other cases… Dialysis staff (and ICU staff) turn off the alarms, if they go off frequently- and the reason is not instantly obvious. Three Mile Island operators paid no attention (or had no clue- the end result was the same) to the low coolant alarms, before the meltdown ensued.
Do you think I am talking about these problems to lay blame on the perpetrators? [Actually, I hope our court system provide(s),(d) them their just desserts.] No, I am using these as examples for us to see how we really perform on a daily basis.
You see, it’s not just “them”- it’s us. How many of us have failed to see that our companies are not doing well? The alarm bells have been sounding. Have we examined our operating statements? Our cash flow data? Do we monitor daily the key performance areas (KPA’s) for our firms or divisions? If not- are we not just as mindless as the TransOcean managers? As Metro truly is?
We must monitor progress on our goals- weekly, if not daily. We can not possibly achieve our visions, if we don’t examine where we are- and where we are going. We must determine that we are where we planned to be – or we must change our plans to adapt to the new reality. As the adage states: Those that fail to plan, plan to fail… But, more importantly, we must be alert to those alarms sounding all around us- the bell, indeed, tolls for us…
By the way- the headline should be attributed to Ian Percy, an organizational psychologist.