I recently watched the HBO miniseries, “Chernobyl.” For those of you who haven’t, it is both excellent and disturbing. It tells the story of the worst nuclear accident in history, but I believe it also provides a lesson in how culture is as important as systems and protocols in producing reliability. High reliability is not required in every industry. Think about wireless companies—they don’t come close to providing 100% coverage and connection. Consider the clothing industry. Although the tag on an item of clothing may say S, M, L or XL, most of us know it’s best to try it on before making a purchase.
In contrast, working for other businesses in security, there is little to no margin for error. Peoples hard work and even lives are in our hands. The community to which we will serve depends on us to be alert to allot for us to protect and serve. we need to continuously work hard to represent the mission of this company or any company you may currently work for. We individually and together can do better, by being humble and motivated so that our record of success doesn’t lure us into complacency.
Systems and protocols in security are similarly complex, and when team members regard them as a guarantee of safety, tragedy can result. The truth is, no algorithm or tool can account for all the complexity we encounter.
This is the great lesson of Chernobyl. On paper, there were safeguards in place to make a nuclear tragedy an impossibility. But this was a dangerous illusion. The Soviet nuclear industry did not present an impenetrable wall against disaster, but was more like a block of Swiss cheese, filled with holes that would one day align in catastrophe.
Each of us has ongoing ownership for high reliability. We are all responsible for:
Be vigilant observers and active participants.
Speak up when we don’t understand or agree with something—get comfortable challenging others, regardless of role.
Draw on our values of compassion, collaboration, curiosity and courage to figure out what we can do better.
Learn from our successes and failures to continually improve.
We each must boldly commit to achieving high reliability at all times. It starts with you!