Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!
This week’s focus: ignoring the warning signs
- Air France Flight 447 crashed off the coast of Brazil after it stalled (lost lift and forward speed) and dropped from an altitude of 30,000+ feet to the ocean’s surface. Audible stall warnings were ignored by the flight crew. They thought the alarms were in error. They weren’t.
- Asiana Flight 214 crashed when the crew failed to realize that airspeed had dropped to levels that caused the plane to stall resulting in the plane’s tail colliding with the seawall on approach. Two critical things to monitor for landing are altitude and airspeed. When both values are too low, the ability to make corrections vanish.
- The recent Spanish train crash that killed 80 people occurred after the train’s engineer received 3 warnings that he was going too fast in the 2 minutes prior prior to the train derailing. He was traveling more than twice the speed limit. The train’s engineer was distracted talking on the phone.
“Set it and forget it” doesn’t work at critical points in a process. Industry experts describe the inability of these crews to respond appropriately as “automation complacency,” a situation where those in charge overly rely on instruments and computer controls to do things automatically so the person at the controls doesn’t have to worry about it or attend to it.
All this makes me wonder about business owners being on auto-pilot and not sensing trouble ahead. It’s easy to assume that procedures and controls are operating normally and, as a consequence, little is done to confirm that things are as they are supposed to be–until it is often too late.
As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” This axiom will help you and your company thrive.
Thought for the week:
Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com
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