Kicking Boxes Podcast|Become a Better Leader with Disruptive Leadership Lessons|Interviews with Thought Leaders Who are Disrupting the Status Quo in Business and Industry to Make the World a Better Place

On the Kicking Boxes Podcast, Randy Cadieux from V-Speed, LLC interviews leaders from around the globe who are using their experience, expertise and education to disrupt the status quo in business and industry. Thought leaders are interviewed about disruptive leadership to find out how they are working to change key areas in various industries. Critical subjects that underpin Operational Excellence are explored, including reliability, safety, quality, organizational learning and many other areas. “Kicking Boxes” means getting out into the field, on the production floor, or wherever real work gets done so leaders can “kick the boxes” (a metaphor for getting rid of the barriers between leaders and their teams so they can really engage with the workforce to learn how to make their organizations more effective and efficient). If you are looking for ACTIONABLE information and detailed stories about how guests are using disruptive leadership to change the status quo, the Kicking Podcast is for you. Guests are asked to share their real stories about disruptive leadership, what inspired them to start their quests, and what areas they think need the most disruption in business or industry. Subjects of leadership, safety, safety leadership, high-reliability organizations, human performance, Crew Resource Management, risk management, business innovation, system design, and many other areas are discussed to help you become a better leader using REAL, EFFECTIVE techniques. Come on and join the “V-Speed Squadron” (our community of listeners) and let’s get ready to kick some boxes!
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Kicking Boxes Podcast|Become a Better Leader with Disruptive Leadership Lessons|Interviews with Thought Leaders Who are Disrupting the Status Quo in Business and Industry to Make the World a Better Place


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Sep 28, 2017

Episode 27-Matthieu Branlat, Resilience Engineering. Biography: Matthieu Branlat is a Senior Scientist at SINTEF ICT in Trondheim, Norway. He obtained a PhD in Cognitive Systems Engineering from the Ohio State University in 2011. His research explores ways to contribute to the knowledge and improvement of socio-technical systems, particularly in high-risk environments. Themes of investigation include resilience engineering and system safety, decision-making, collaborative work, cross-cultural competences and the design of technology to support human operations. Recent and on-going projects are conducted in domains such as crisis response; air traffic management; military operations; intelligence analysis and cyber security; medical care and patient safety. Book recommendations: Resilience Engineering: Concepts and Precepts by David Woods, Erik Hollnagel and Nancy Leveson Resilience-Engineering in Practice: A Guidebook by Erik Hollnagel, Jean Paries, David Woods, and John Wreathall Sources of Power by Gary Klein Behind Human Error by David Woods, Sidney Dekker, Richard Cook, Leila Johannesen, and Nadine Sarter Contact information: email:

Feb 7, 2017

Biographic Sketch, Marc Rounsaville Rounsaville is currently one of the principles and a Senior Advisor for O4R Organizing for Resilience as well as the managing director of Bluejack Consulting. These firms specialize in leadership development, risk management and executive coaching. Clients from petroleum, banking, healthcare and emergency management industries seek out the technology and skills of these two companies. Both organizations serve individuals, organizations and governments with education, coaching, mentoring, professional leadership development, advanced emergency management and principles-based thinking. The diverse clients served include, US Forest Service, Dialogos International, Hospital Performance Improvement, Corsican Fire Department, Statoil, TOTAL, European Organization for Security and the Norwegian Oil and Gas Board. Prior experience includes; Special Assistant for Continuous Improvement and Risk Management, Deputy Director -- Operations US Forest Service Fire and Aviation, Area Commander, and Type 1 Incident Commander. In these roles Rounsaville led men and women in emergency response for fires, hurricanes, events and terror attacks. Program management duties during this period encompassed training, preparedness and risk management for emergency response and aviation activities across the Untied States. Book Recommendations: Team of Teams by Chris Fussell, David Silverman, Stanley A. McChrystal, and Tantum Collins The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel Simons The Man Who Lied to His Laptop by Clifford Nass and Corina Yen Contact:

Oct 18, 2016



Jason Hand and I discuss the importance of moving away from a blame-oriented culture and towards a learning culture. Jason talks about the importance of understanding how cognitive biases influence decision-making and the need to understand this when conducting post mortems. Jason talks about balancing efficiency and thoroughness, and the importance of using blame-free post mortems as a means for learning. While Jason comes from a tech world, this talk has application to a variety of sectors, including high-risk industrial work.

Jason Hand’s Biography:

DevOps Evangelist at VictorOps, organizer of DevOpsDays - Rockies, author of the books O’Reilly’s “ChatOps: Managing Operations from Group Chat" as well as "ChatOps for Dummies”. Jason is a co-host of “Community Pulse” (a podcast on building community in tech), and organizer of a number of DevOps related events in the Denver/Boulder area. A frequent speaker at DevOps events around the country, Jason enjoys talking to audiences large and small on a variety of technical and non-technical subjects such as Modern Incident Management, Learning From Failure, Cognitive Bias, ChatOps, and building communities.

Show Notes:

Information Technology is no longer just a cost center and needs to be seen as a way for companies to innovate and become market leaders. Trying to innovate and experiencing failure can be an important way to learn. Post-Mortems are an important tool for learning and organizations should be transparent about learning and sharing that information about safety with others in the industry. Root cause analysis may uncover something that broke, and that can be fixed, but it may result in a lack of innovation in complex systems unless the organization tries to avoid a check the box mentality for a quick-fix and actually learn and improve the system. After negative events occur, when investigators use the word “why” that can sometimes imply “who” and it is important to avoid blame during post-mortem events, yet organizations often seek blame and accountability from a single individual. Accountability means to “give an account of what took place” or describe what too place. Accountability is not the same as responsibility. DevOps works to create high-functioning teams rather than silo’d teams. When silo’ing goes away organizations can become more innovative and other industries may learn a great deal from how DevOps is working to overcome silo’ing and a lack of cooperation towards system goals. Theory of Constraints may be used to help understand system goals and reduce silos in organizations.

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Books: The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim, George Spafford, and Kevin Behr, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed and The Cynefin Mini-Book-Info-Q by Greg Brougham

Contact: Web: Twitter: @jasonhand

Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Management Podcast, HRO podcast, DevOps, blame free post-mortems

Oct 13, 2016


Todd Schlekeway is the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors. In this episode we talk about what it takes to lead a trade association dedicated to quality and safety in what has traditionally been a high-risk industry. Todd shares his experiences in sports, legislature and trade association leadership and how he works to bring people together for a set of common goals in an extremely important industry.

Todd Schlekeway’s Biography: Todd became the Executive Director of the National Association of Tower Erectors (NATE) in June of 2012. As Executive Director of NATE, Todd provides overall leadership and vision working in concert with the Association’s staff, Board of Directors, volunteer Standing Committees and approximately 780 member companies. Prior to joining NATE, Todd worked for seven years as the founder and principal of a public affairs and communications firm called Full Court Strategies Group, LLC. Todd also has extensive policy experience having served for two terms in South Dakota’s state legislature where he represented a Sioux Falls, South Dakota legislative district in both the State House and the State Senate. Todd received his undergraduate college degrees from the University of Sioux Falls (USF) with a B.A. in History/Political Science and a B.S. in Exercise Science. He also earned a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) from USF. While at the University of Sioux Falls, Todd also participated in collegiate athletics as a member of the USF basketball team. Todd currently resides in Sioux Falls, SD with his wife Jill and three sons Gavin, Grant and Jett.

Show Notes:

Todd learned a lot about leadership through athletics. Character, integrity, building relationships and learning to deal with adversity were very important in Todd’s life growing up and helped shape who he is today.

Serving as a legislator helped Todd learn how to leverage relationships to pass legislations and build coalitions.

He now manages an 810+ member trade organization.

The tower industry is a high-risk industry and NATE is working to make the industry safer.

There are multiple layers within the tower industry and NATE is working hard to protect safety and quality from being compromised. There is a direct correlation between quality and safety.

Behind the mobile technology we use every day there are tower climbers doing work to construct, maintain and repair cell towers on a regular basis. This is an important job and safety has to be integrated into tower work.

NATE is at the forefront of working to provide safety training for the tower industry.

As the industry prepares for 5G technology NATE is also preparing for the spike in demand and their mission is to help make sure the men and women working in the tower industry go home safely at the end of the day.

Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: Resources:

Books: The Bible. A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin



Twitter: @natesafety


Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Management Podcast, HRO podcast

Oct 6, 2016


Mike Quashne is the Manager of Experience Assessment for PPL. In this episode we discuss Human Performance and how Human Performance tools may be used to help reduce biases and to help improve safety and operational performance.

Mike Quashne’s Biography: 

Mike Quashne is a US Air Force Academy graduate and spent 7 years in the US Air Force as a personnel officer and project manager.  After leaving the Air Force he came to PPL Electric Utilities in the Transmission Project Management department, and recently took over as the Manager of Experience Assessment.  The team is responsible for their Corrective Action Program, which includes incident investigations and data tracking, and the human performance program, which is designed to prevent incidents by bringing attention to common, often unconscious, mental errors.

Show Notes:

Mike likens Human Performance to a “life hack” to help people to understand their unconscious decisions to help with recognizing where those may be pushing them into an error.

With unconscious bias it’s as if the brain fills in the gaps in our decision-making with information that isn’t always correct and sometimes this will set “error traps” 

Human Performance Tools may be used to help reduce the likelihood workers will track into dangerous decision errors.

Communicating Human Performance Tools across the organization is important.

Storytelling and using stories to get the message across about what happened during events is important for organizational learning.

The Stop/Timeout Human Performance Tool is a last line of defense, but may be a very powerful tool if used correctly.

Even with standardized procedures, adaptability, thinking and decision-making will be required during complex work.

More often than not people succeed in their work, yet too often they are blamed when failure or error occurs.

Human Performance helps people to understand their decisions and reduce unconscious biases for improved decision-making.

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Funny video on communications:

Books: Subliminal by Leonard Mlodinow, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. 






Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, human performance, human performance podcast, Crew Resource Management, Crew Resource Management Podcast, HRO podcast

Sep 30, 2016

In this episode V-Speed's founder discusses the concepts of adaptability as a critical skill, adaptive capacity and safety margin, and resilience.

Sep 22, 2016


In this episode Gareth Lock and I talk about human factors and the importance of creating a team based environment and culture that supports open and honest feedback for safety and organizational improvement. Gareth talks about his efforts to improve safety in recreational diving as well.

Gareth Lock Biography:

Gareth is passionate about improving personal performance, taking lessons-learned from 25 years in the Royal Air Force as a C-130 navigator, instructor, military advisor to the research community and a requirements manager into different domains. His main area of focus at the moment is bringing human factors knowledge and non-technical skills or crew resource management training into recreational and technical diving, a sport with an inherent and irreducible risk. He is currently undertaking a part-time PhD examining the role of Human Factors in Diving incidents and accidents, and has recently launched two courses teaching human factors skills and knowledge to divers, especially relevant to those who face higher levels of risk or are supervisors or instructors.

Show Notes:

There is more behind the scenes than human error. When accidents or incidents happen and human error is listed as the cause, there is normally more within the system that led to the human error.

A lack of evidence as a result of a lack of reporting can impede improvement.

Defensiveness and a lack of accepting criticism can be a barrier to safety and organizational improvement.

“Absence of evidence doesn’t mean evidence of absence”-Nassim Taleb.

Just because there may not be a great deal of evidence about negative events doesn’t mean that safety deviations aren’t happening. Normalized deviance of proper and safe practices over time without any obvious incidents or accidents may lead people to believe that what they are doing is safe even though there may be excessive risk in the deviance from proper and safe procedures.

Building a habit of pre-checks, operational and safety awareness during operational execution, debriefing and lessons learned that seeks open and honest feedback may help improve human and organizational performance.

It can be hard to replicate operational failures in a lecture, but discussions and simulations may help accelerate the process of learning.

Adaptability as a core skill should be taught to teams working in high-risk environments.

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Books: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Just Culture by Sidney Dekker 



Web: and


Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Sep 15, 2016

This is the audio rebroadcast of an Intelex Community Webinar where Randy Cadieux and Ron Gantt discussed sustainable organizational performance and new ways to think about how safety practitioners may help organizations achieve production and safety goals in the long run. You can learn more about the Intelex Community at:

Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, reliability, reliability leadership, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, resilience engineering, adaptive capacity

Sep 7, 2016

Overview: Bryan Fass is the President and Founder of Fit Responder, whose mission is to improve Employer Financial Wellness and Employee Physical Wellness. Their tagline is Every Lift Counts. In this episode we talk about changing the paradigm of ergonomics, fitness and wellness for organizational improvement and how Bryan is working to disrupt the status quo regarding how teams and leaders view ergonomics and fitness, and their relationship to organizational performance. Bryan Fass Biography: Bryan has dedicated the past 10 years to changing the culture of Fire-EMS, Public Works and Industry from one of pain, injury and disease to one of ergonomic excellence and employee wellness. Bryan has leveraged his 15-year career in Sports medicine, Athletic Training, Spine Rehabilitation, Strength & Conditioning and as a Paramedic to become the expert on pre-hospital patient handling/equipment handling, fire-EMS Fitness & industrial athletics. His company, Fit Responder, works nationally with departments to reduce injury and improve fitness. Show Notes: In many high-risk organizations people learn by doing and learning from other more senior people can be helpful. When more experienced people tell stories about incidents this can facilitate learning. However, taking a proactive approach to learning in advance of incidents may help improve organizational performance. Understanding how work is performed in the real world is important. Simulations should mimic real world conditions as closely as feasible. People will fall back to their lowest level of training. Understanding the limitations on the human body and taking advantage of assistive devices to improve ergonomic performance may help with overall organizational performance in the short and long term. Fatigue can play a significant role in human performance, and ergonomics training may help. Many organizations in general spend very little time on helping people to survive the job for the long-term and often have employees watch videos on how to lift safely. Bryan feels it is important to improve video based education and to add a coaching process with master trainers. Bryan uses the mantra, “Use the Tool, Don’t Be the Tool” to help people to understand that assistive tools are there to help them to perform their jobs. Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: Resources: Bryan recommends spending 30 minutes per day learning. Reading 30 minutes a day can be highly beneficial and a good leader who is in constant growth mode should invest time every day. Contact: Web: Free newsletter available Social Media: Fit Responder is active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn:

Aug 31, 2016


In this episode Terrance O’Hanlon and I talk about reliability, safety and operational excellence. We dive deep into leadership and talk about how if leaders really want to be excellent at their jobs they need to get better at asking questions and listening. Terrance gives some excellent advice for leaders and for helping their workers to understand the value in their work. Terrance’s Bio: Terrence O'Hanlon, CMRP is the Publisher of®, RELIABILITY® Magazine and Uptime® Magazine. He is certified in Asset Management by the Institute of Asset Management and is a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional by SMRP. Terrence is the acting Executive Director of the Association of Asset Management Professionals (AMP). He is the executive editor and Publisher of the 5th Edition of the Asset Management Handbook. Terrence is also a voting member of the US TAG (PC251) for ISO 55000 - ASTM E53 Asset Management Standards Committee. More recently Mr. O’Hanlon has been selected as the sole US Representation through ANSI for ISO Working Group 39 to create a standard for competence in assessing and certifying Asset Management programs known as ISO 17021-5. Mr. O’Hanlon is also a member of the Institute of Asset Management, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, The Association of Facilities Engineers, Society of Maintenance and Reliability Professionals and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.

Show Notes: There are a number of proven tools for improving reliability, yet they fail about 70% of the time. Effective leadership behind these tools is one of the key drivers behind what makes these tools successful. Reliability is directly tied to safety. Reliability goes beyond the business case. It can be a factor in promoting social good, and it and can be seen as a way of life. It can be very empowering when leaders ask workers about their jobs and about what they do and know. Not only can leaders learn more, but when workers have the opportunity to explain their work it can improve morale. Asking questions, working through inquiry and listening to answers can create a more powerful force in creating greater reliability. Leaders need to work through master to discovery. Leaders need to build trust with their subordinates and have to in turn trust them. Organizations should work to preempt failures and work to prevent failures from “piercing the shell” of organizations. Organizations should work to avoid letting defects into the system. They should work to find and remove the sources of the potential defects before they enter the system, which creates greater reliability, as opposed to allowing defects into the system and then finding and fixing them later. Detection is a necessary skill, but the leverage is not letting the defects into the system. You can help do that through empowering and engaging the team and empowering team members to fix the defects before they enter the system without having to go through a bureaucratic process.

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Books: How to Measure Anything by Douglas Hubbard, The Toyota Way by Jeffery Liker, Don't Just Fix It, Improve It! by Winston Ledet and Sherri Abshire

99 Percent Invisible Podcast About Air France Flight 447:




Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, reliability, reliability leadership, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, tower safety, wireless safety

Aug 24, 2016


In this episode Wade Sarver and I talk about the wireless tower industry, some of the operational and safety challenges faced by tower crews, and the importance of leadership and its relationship to near-miss reporting and safety.

Wade’s Bio:

Working in wireless for over 25 years, over 10 years tower climbing, Wade has been part of the wireless revolution and seen all types of wireless deployments, problems and solutions. That is why was created. To serve the wireless communications industry with a blog and podcast to help wireless deployment teams, engineers and installers as well as business owners, learn from past mistakes and improve. It became Wade’s mission to improve work processes and safety for wireless field workers. 

Show Notes:

OSHA isn’t on the jobsite to simply shut a job down. They are there to help. The tower industry needs to educate regulators about the problems they experience.

Regulators create baseline safety regulations, and there needs to be a relationship between industry and regulatory bodies so a constructive dialogue about safety can occur.

In the tower industry near-misses are not recorded enough because people are afraid of getting in trouble. However, if near-misses can be recorded learning can occur to make operations safer in the future.  Organizations may benefit from anonymous near-miss reporting systems, which may help workers feel more comfortable reporting.

If tower companies or any organizations want to learn and improve they have to establish a relationship that fosters open communication between workers, managers and leaders.

When an accident occurs even if human error was a causal factor, there were likely system factors that influenced the human behavior. Organizations need to build in layers of resources in order to create safer systems. Cost cutting measures that reduce the ability of organizations to spend adequate money on resources can reduce layers and levels of safety. 

“What we permit, we promote.” If leaders are pretending unethical things aren’t happening and turn their backs on unethical procedures, this is like telling workers that it is permissible to perform those unethical practices. 

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Wade Sarver’s books:

Scope of Work Overview: A high level overview of the Wireless SOW. 

Field Worker's Aid for Tower Site Work, Wireless

Deployment Handbook: LTE Small Cells, CRAN, and DAS Edition

Tower Climbing: An Introduction: Wade4Wireless (by Wade and Jodi Sarver)

Other books: 

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Patterson, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin


Follow the wireless deployment blog at or listen to the podcast: 


Stitcher :

Wade works to keep you up to date with the latest wireless information! Feel free to email Wade at for more information. 


Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast, tower safety, wireless safety​​

Aug 10, 2016

Overview: In this episode John Covington and I talk about leadership and his experience with Theory of Constraints and culture change. John’s Bio: John Covington is president and owner of Chesapeake Consulting, Inc. since 1988. Chesapeake provides operations improvement, leadership development and project management support for both commercial and government accounts. John did his undergraduate work at the United States Naval Academy and the University of Alabama receiving a BS in Chemical Engineering. He has held a variety of engineering, management and executive positions with Dupont, Stauffer Chemicals and Sherwin-Williams. He has authored numerous articles and five books on leadership development, process improvement and faith. He was selected business person of the year in 2002 by the Severna Park, Maryland, Chamber of Commerce. He is a Distinguished Fellow in both the College of Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Alabama and sits on the Deans Leadership Council. He serves on several charity boards including Capstone Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering advisory board, The Blackburn Institute, and Dogs Finding Dogs, a K-9 search and rescue group for pets. He is an active church member and is involved in several community charity organizations. Chesapeake Consulting opened a Tuscaloosa office in January of 2015 and John moved to Alabama from Maryland in April of 2015. He has been married to Linda Covington since 1972, is an avid biker, dog trainer and is a terrible golfer. Show Notes: Complex systems normally have one thing that drives them and that can be a leverage point. The Theory of Constraints tries to simplify complex systems. The culture of a company is extremely important when trying to implement Theory of Constraints. Leading organizations requires at least 3 things: Disruption, making sure things are aligned and honoring people. Leadership development is something that has to be ongoing. Self-awareness is a large part of leadership and there must be an ongoing accountability and leadership development process to help leaders maintain their self-awareness for leadership results. Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: Resources: Book Recommendations:The Bible, Enterprise Fitness and What I Learned about Leadership from My Dog (both by John Covington), Influencer by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, Jesus CEO by Laurie Beth Jones Contact: Email: Phone: 205-759-8259 Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Aug 3, 2016

Overview: In this episode Peter Munson and I talk about balancing risk and reward, integrating risk planning into operational planning, the importance of adaptability as a managerial skillset and business resilience and continuity planning to prepare for unexpected contingencies.

Peter J. Munson’s Bio: Peter J. Munson is Director of Safety and Security for the Cleveland Indians. He has two decades of defense and security leadership experience, having served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and led global security and crisis management programs at Citigroup. In the Marine Corps, Peter was a KC-130 pilot and Middle East specialist. His assignments included command of VMGR-352 Detachment A in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010 and special advisor and speechwriter for the Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. Peter is the author of two books on national security issues and regularly speaks and consults on strategic and organizational issues.

Show Notes: Effective safety strategies will include an integrated approach to risk management with operations. While safety may be its own entity, safety and operations must work hand in hand. Lessons-learned where some notes are scribbled on a piece of paper and filed away are not really lessons-learned. To truly learn organizations must have a process for using and sharing information recorded during After-Action Reviews. Business continuity, resilience and crisis management planning are critical in today’s unexpected environments and they must be planned and designed into the organization. This must go beyond “checking the box” and move towards getting buy-in from employees because this should help the organization be better equipped to handle the “brutal audit.” With crisis management there needs to be creativity to solve problems. This creativity can be harnessed during execution by practicing and simulating events during planning and exercises ahead of time. Then when novel situations arise on “game day,” organizations, teams and employees may be better prepared due to the capacity to act that has been developed over time. We want people who are willing to plan and exercise different scenarios. We want a detailed plan with an analytical rigor, but a level of intellect and a level of rigor that helps build in adaptability. With a thoughtfully-developed plan it should be easier to deviate in an emergency situation, particularly when teams have a deep understanding of systems behind the plan, rather than a simple memorization of the steps of a plan. If we work with fairly safe systems and organizations we can sometimes get that “wakeup call” when an accident happens. Hopefully we don’t wait until that time to start learning about our systems. It is one thing to memorize checklists and procedures, but without a deeper and broader understanding of the systems, when abnormal or emergency events happen teams may not have the ability to respond and adapt appropriately to these novel situations. Excess zeal to preserve safety may compromise operational effectiveness. For example, “shall” or “shall not” rules and blanket safety policies that include absolute rules may inhibit performance. Adaptive rules that allow options for supervisors to create performance-based calculations and include a safety buffer may actually create safety while improving operational effectiveness and efficiency. There may be times when binary/blanket safety policies are necessary and effective, but considering adaptive rules may provide some benefits to organizations in some cases. Safety should be pushed down to those who are involved in operations and who will be required to make tactical decisions. Cross-functional leaders can bring a great deal of creativity and problem solving skills into organizations and this may serve an organization better than managers who know a very narrow skillset.

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Book Recommendations: In Pursuit of Elegance by Matthew May, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf by John Coates, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Dutch

Roundabout Video:




Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Jul 27, 2016

Overview: In this episode Todd Conklin and I talk a lot about human error, safety at the margins and Operational Excellence. Two of the key takeaways are that human error is not a choice and that organizations that can learn from themselves are on the path towards Operational Excellence.

Reminder about Intelex Webinar on July 28th:

This is a short reminder about the Intelex Webinar July 28, 2016 from 10:00-10:30 EST where Ron Gantt and I will discuss “How to create sustainable performance and achieve organizational goals through safety.”

Here is the link to register:

In this webinar, we will identify:

1. The goals of a safety management program and their relationship to organizational performance.

2. Factors and Barriers that enable or disable sustainable performance.

3. The best practices that organizations can implement to facilitate building sustainable expert performance.

Show Notes:

Many people consider human error a poor choice on the part of front line operators, supervisors or whoever made the error. However, error isn’t necessarily a choice. It is often influenced by numerous system factors that lead to a deviation from expected or desired performance and many of these factors are beyond the control of the person who made the error.

A goal of zero incidents or accidents is the moral goal. However, chasing a goal of zero accidents may be problematic for organizations that are complex systems or operate complex systems. As a general rule, most organizations are complex systems. If we incorrectly treat organizations as simple systems we may chase a lagging indicator of zero incidents and not understand the factors that actually develop to lead to incidents or accidents. We must understand that organizations have numerous interconnected parts and the way those parts integrate and connect can change and risk can emerge around those connection points. Therefore, rather than chasing a goal of zero lagging indicators organizations may be better-served by gaining an understanding of risk within their systems.

Randy likes to describe Operational Excellence as “sustainable mission accomplishment through the use of quality, safety and reliability methods.” These methods must work within the organization and they may vary from one organization to another. Todd uses a very interesting description of Operational Excellence which encompasses these points. He calls Operational Excellence “the ability of an organization to learn from itself.” This highlights the importance of organizational learning.

When talking about safety and work as it is actually done operational teams often work at the edge of the boundaries of operational drift and this area of performance may be referred to as the safety margin. It is within this space of safety and operational performance where crews, teams and workers actively create and manage safety so that safety is a mission-enabler to help the organization achieve its production/operations goals.

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Book Recommendations: Pre-Accident Investigations: Better Questions-An Applied Approach to Operational Learning by Todd Conklin, A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel, The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error 3rd Edition by Sidney Dekker. Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Jul 20, 2016

Overview: Joe Crane describes his journey into entrepreneurship and the benefits of entrepreneurism. We also discuss how to be an intrapreneur (an entrepreneur within a larger organization). Joe’s Biography: LtCol) Joe Crane retired from the Marine Corps in 2013 after 24 years of service. He was an AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter pilot and completed two combat flying tours in Iraq. Joe is now an airline pilot and host of the Veteran On the Move podcast. "Your Pathfinder to Freedom" Providing knowledge and inspiration to veterans aspiring to transition to the exciting world of entrepreneurship. Show Notes: Entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learned if given the right kind of training. When organizations free up some of the bureaucratic institutional rules that hold back innovation, intrapreneurs may be able to help their organizations succeed by being more innovative. Sometimes the really hard part is getting the ball rolling with entrepreneurship, but if people want to become entrepreneurs they may be able to take their time to prepare for the new role of entrepreneurism. Veterans tend to make great entrepreneurs due to their leadership capabilities and ability to innovate, adapt and thrive. Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: Resources: Book Recommendation: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Will It Fly by Pat Flynn Contact: Web: Email: Keywords: Disruptive leadership podcast, safety podcast, leadership podcast, safety innovation podcast, high-reliability organizations podcast, HRO podcast

Jul 1, 2016

This is a short podcast episode where I deliver some education or at least opinion and perspective on leadership, operations and safety performance based on things I have seen or experienced or perhaps read or learned through dialogue with colleagues.

In this episode I want to talk about the subject of front line supervisors operational workarounds or where operational teams will modify procedures to meet the goals of the organization,

 Earlier in the week I was at the ASSE PDC in Atlanta. Had a great time, met some great people. In the course of discussing our CRM-PRO-LSW training workshops I found out that a lot of organizations select their first line supervisors out of their worker/technician ranks. I largely knew this to be true, but I wanted to listed to the perspectives of folks in different organizations to find out some of their challenges and struggles in creating effective teams with outstanding front line supervisors.

What is the role of the supervisor? To SUPERVISE. It isn’t necessarily to be a “task master,” but to use the words of Bill Brown from Episode 3, they should “Lead, Teach, Coach and Council.” But how can they do those things if they haven’t been trained? What can you do to help your front line supervisors to become better team leaders so they supervise their teams and bring out the best in their workers?

After, all, isn’t that one of the most important roles of the supervisor? I think their role is to bring out the best in their teams so they can collectively accomplish their production goals safety and in accordance with their quality and reliability goals. 

The copyrighted material below is taken from V-Speed’s CRM-PRO-LSW training module on leadership:

“What are some of the qualities you should promote in your supervisors?

  • Takes ownership of functional areas and team
    • Processes and tasks
    • Doesn’t look the other way when a problem ID’d
    • Doesn’t wait for someone else to take action if able   to solve at his/her level
    • Owns problem until resolved or brought to someone else’s attention if unable to resolve at his/her level
  • Coaching approach to develop team
    • Asking guiding questions, providing suggestions to help team members become better decision-makers

Who should you look for when seeking out technicians to promote to supervisory roles and what qualities should you look for?

  • Integrity
  • Stopping work in the face of pressure when the environment is too hazardous
  • Standing up to the pressure of supervisors when they know conditions are unsafe
  • Identifies system problems and solutions rather than laying blame
  • Willingness to interject opinion even when nobody else is speaking up (groupthink) 

Developing Supervisory skills

  • Allow employees who show the right potential leadership opportunities
    • Create the right environment and opportunities, yet put controls in place to mitigate shortcomings
    • May need to allow graceful failure sometimes for learning opportunities to work
  • Coaching future leaders to see system problems rather than simply blaming people
  • Debriefing culture/lessons-learned focus and tools
  • Build safety leadership into your culture”

What do you think? What is the role of the front line supervisor and how should he or she be trained? What is the role of the top level leader and upper manager in shaping the conditions so front line supervisors can do their job effectively?

Jun 23, 2016


Daniel is the Vice President of Operations at SafetyPro Resources. In this episode we talk about a variety of topics related to safety and organizational performance, including emotional intelligence, organizational resilience, Capability Maturity Model, and planning work with the right tools for the task.

Daniel Slattery's Biography:

Daniel is the Vice President of Operations at SafetyPro Resources, LLC headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA.  Daniel is an Associate Safety and Health Manager (ISHM), a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence and Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ). Daniel  received his Master of Science degrees in Occupational Safety & Health and Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Alabama, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Strayer University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is a Doctoral Candidate in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Daniel’s professional safety career began in 1997 working in emergency medical services and he has expanded his experience in health and safety management systems, ergonomics/human factors, behavior-based safety, systems and process safety, competency development/management, and program design and development for an array of industrial markets including: oil & gas (upstream and downstream), healthcare, refineries, and shipyards. 

Show Notes:

Safety is driven by a need, just like other parts of business.

Safety performance may be thought of in terms of a Capability Maturity Model where organizations move up the maturity ladder as they strive to go beyond simple compliance to continuous improvement.

When feasible, organizations should strive to become self-sustaining with their safety programs and safety management systems.

Safety isn’t a task. It is an emergent property of a complex system or organization.

Organizations must properly plan their work and use the right tools for the task to help design safety into their jobs.

Resilience starts and ends with front line workers. Organizations need to build adaptability as a competency in their workers and teams.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • 0:41-Randy introduces Daniel Slattery and describes who he is, including reading his biography.
  • 3:10- Randy asks Daniel, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 13:58-Randy asks Daniel about an “Aha moment” that shaped his outlook on business and leadership.
  • 16:31-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 24:33-Randy asks Daniel about his next projects or areas of interest he wants to explore and he describes management systems implementation from more of a human factors standpoint.
  • 30:55-Randy asks Daniel, “What area(s) in leadership or organization development do you think needs disruption and why?”


Book Recommendations:

Cadieux, Randy E. Team Leadership in High-Hazard Environments: Performance, Safety and Risk Management Strategies for Operational Teams.

Conklin, Todd. Pre-Accident Investigations.




Jun 2, 2016


Sean K. Murphy has an accomplished career in a variety of industries, including software engineering, project management and business development. In this episode we talk about leadership, resilience and reliability from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I am firmly convinced that all leaders need to understand something about entrepreneurism and how entrepreneurial skills may help leaders to develop more resilient organizations. Sean has some outstanding advice for leaders, regardless of their industry.

Sean’s Biography:

Sean Murphy has worked in a variety of roles in the last twenty-five years: software engineer, engineering manager, project manager, business development, product marketing, and customer support. Companies he has worked directly for include Cisco Systems, 3Com, AMD, MMC Networks, and VLSI Technology. He has a BS in Mathematical Sciences and an MS in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford.

Show Notes:

Changes make things obsolete so organizations need room to experiment in environments that are safe to fail in. A degree if failure has to be tolerated if organizations want to seek improvement and build resiliency. 

Organizations need to plan for iteration.

Organizations should consider a stream of small failures and include resilience and recovery plans for overlapping repair. Startup organizations should have 2-3 backup plans ready.

Leaders need to review and critique their own performance in order to improve. They also need to be willing to say, “I don’t know.”

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Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • 0:35-Randy introduces Sean Murphy and describes who he is, including reading his biography.
  • 3:30- Randy asks Sean, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 8:02-Randy and Sean discuss the concept of going all in with one course of action and having no backup options, and the potential dangers of not having backup plans.
  • 18:00-Randy asks Sean about some of the reasons for business failure, such as giving up too early or scaling too quickly and Sean provides his perspective.
  • 25:29-Randy asks Sean about an “Aha moment” that shaped his outlook on business and leadership. Sean describes the book The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.
  • 32:15-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 33:40-Randy asks Sean, “What area(s) in leadership or organization development do you think needs disruption and why?” 


Article about avoiding backup plans: 

Book Recommendations: Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, and Effectual Entrepreneurship by Sara Sarasvathy


Web: (includes blog and contact info)




May 27, 2016


David Tosch has an accomplished career as a business leader in the dental laboratory industry and as an ultra-marathon and endurance runner. He is also the founder of a company that creates shorter and longer distance trail runs, including ultra endurance trail runs. In this episode we talk about breaking audacious goals into shorter, more achievable goals.

David’s Biography:

David Tosch is an accomplished business leader, and ultramarathon runner. He credits his start in distance running to a time in junior high school, when he realized that to be a distance runner in track he didn’t have to run fast. He attended the University of Texas system, graduating from the Univesity of Texas at Dallas Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. He ran his first marathon around the 1979-1980 timeframe and in 1980 he founded Tosch Laboratory, Inc. (Dental Laboratory) in Dallas, Texas, and later moved the lab to Birmingham, AL. His list of marathons and ultra endurance runs is extensive, including multiple 100 mile endurance runs, such as The Pinhoti 100,The Leadville 10, the Wasatch 100, the Tahoe Rim Tiral 100, The Rocky Raccoon 100, the Grindstone 100 and the Hardrock 100. He has also participated in numerous Ironman events and even had the opportunity to run with Bill Rogers in 1980. David is the founder of Southeastern Trail Runs and the Run For Kids Challenge, which raises money for Camp Smile-A-Mile.

Show Notes:

People may not realize what they can truly accomplish in life and by setting a series of goals along a path to an overall stretch goal they may be able to reach new levels of achievement. David shows people how to do this by creating a series of runs, starting out at 5k at the beginning of the trail running season and going all the way up to 100 miles at the end of the season.

From a business leadership standpoint this may be thought of as creating a series of SMART goals to achieve stretch goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

David discussed the need for runners to think about safety when planning their trail runs and consider some of the safety requirements that go into it. Lessons may be drawn from this and compared to High-Reliability Organizations (HRO).

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Time-Stamped Show Notes

  • 0:45-Randy introduces David Tosch and describes who he is, including reading his “informal” biography.
  • 3:15- Randy asks David, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 5:47-David describes how he got inspired to run marathons after watching Frank Shorter win the Gold Medal in the marathon at the 1972 Olympic Games.
  • 8:12-Randy asks David about his current projects and work and David describes the origins of Southeastern Trail Runs and describes his charitable work with Camp Smile-A-Mile in Alabama.
  • 13:55-David describes how he created a method to teach people how to run competitive trail runs starting with a 3 mile run and working at progressively longer runs up to 50 miles over the course of a trail running season.
  • 15:30-David describes Zig Ziglar’s methodology of breaking long term goals into shorter term goals and how this approach has influenced his trail running program.
  • 17:13-Randy asks David to describe stories about people who started running shorter distances and worked up to ultra endurance runs.
  • 24:24-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 25:42-Randy describes breaking ultra visions into step-wise goals and the analogy of breaking down long runs into smaller goals and business leaders creating visions and breaking them into shorter-term goals. David describes techniques and how he “tricks himself” to help him achieve his long term goals when the runs get to their hardest points.
  • 29:09-Randy takes David’s advice and makes the connection to achieveing safety or quality goals, such as an ISO certification.
  • 29:40-Randy asks David, “If you could be granted one wish for your outlook on charity, personal development, or limiting beliefs what would it be?” David describes his desire for people to be better stewards with national parks and trails.


Book Recommendations: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, “Trail Runner” Magazine and “Ultra Runner” Magazine, Ken Follett books, including The Fall of Giants and The Eye of the Needle, For Those I’ve Loved by Martin Gray.







May 18, 2016



Marty Scott describes his experience with safety and quality and tells engaging stories about his journey towards high reliability in healthcare.


Dr. Marty Scott’s Biography:


In March 2015, Marty B. Scott, M.D. was named Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer for Meridian Health System. At Meridian, he will be using his expertise in high reliability to strengthen patient safety, quality, and the overall patient experience. Previously, he served at Wake Forest Baptist Health, which he joined as Vice President of Brenner Children’s Hospital in October 2010. A leader in children’s healthcare and administration, Dr. Scott served as Brenner’s Senior Administrative Executive until July of 2014. During his tenure, Brenner Children’s Hospital debuted in the US News and World Reports Top 50 Children’s Hospitals. In addition to his responsibilities as Vice President of Brenner, Dr. Scott was named Chief Patient Safety Officer in July 2011. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating tasks and activities associated with ensuring the safety of all Wake Forest Baptist health patients. In July of 2014 he was named Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer with the added responsibilities for the quality and performance improvement of the healthcare system. He had a joint faculty appointment as a Pediatric Intensivists within the Departments of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology.


Dr. Scott completed his undergraduate work at David Lipscomb College in Nashville and earned his medical degree at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. He received his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Show Notes:


High-reliability is a journey, it isn’t necessarily an end goal because when organizations say “we’ve arrived” at high-reliability it is easy to let their guard down.


Most employees go to work each day to do a good job, not to cause errors or failures. Unfortunately many people believe that accidents or failures are the fault of errant employees who are not trying hard enough. The reality is that even when failure occurs in the presence of people doing work, there are often underlying condtions


In many situations safety must come first. Safety, quality, empathy and respect are important for high-reliability, but in many high-reliability organizations safety must come before the other goals, and those other goals will be subordinate to safety. However, empathy and respect for others can help when leaders explain why safety must come first.



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Time-Stamped Show Notes:


  • 0:35-Randy introduces Dr. Marty Scott and describes who he is, including reading his formal biography.
  • 3:16- Randy asks Marty, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 4:20-Marty and Randy discuss how most employees go to work every day to do a good job, not to make mistakes or errors or cause failure.
  • 8:18-Randy asks Marty to discuss his perspective on empathy and respect.
  • 18:33-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 31:07-Randy asks Marty, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?”




Book Recommendation: Drive by Daniel Pink, Managing the Unexpected by Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, Influencer by Joseph Grenny, and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.








May 13, 2016

This is a short podcast episode where I deliver some education or at least opinion and perspective on leadership, operations and safety performance based on things I have seen or experienced or perhaps read or learned through dialogue with colleagues. In this episode I want to talk about the subject of operational workarounds or where operational teams will modify procedures to meet the goals of the organization, This can be a touchy subject because in a perfect world we want 100% compliance, but is that always possible and is it possible that workers are placed in a position where they cannot fully comply with all the workplace rules or informal demands? As an example, what if management says you have to meet the shortened production deadline no matter what, but at the same time complying with all the rules or formal procedures may result in delays and missing the deadline? Also, is it possible that employees are not equipped with the resources they need to get the job done safely and comply with rules and procedures? As an example, I was on a job site during a consulting engagement and I noticed a modified tool, which apparently the workers modified because the tool didn’t meet their needs. This isn’t surprising. Additionally, I recently read an aircraft accident report where the pilot placed a NVG case in front of the yoke to relieve control pressure off the yoke during the loading of bulky cargo. Maybe he was trying to make the procedure more effective, efficient and safer, but in the process forgot to remove the case. Then after takeoff the case blocked the control movement and the aircraft ultimately crashed. I believe these types of workarounds happen a lot and in the mind of the operator they are necessary. Is it right to simply run around and chastise employees for implementing workarounds or what Weick refers to as “bricolage” or the artful use of what’s at hand? Of course, some workarounds simply should not be permitted. We can’t have employees removing machine guards to get the job done faster. But isn’t that where strong leadership comes in? Shouldn’t leaders get out into the field and on the production floor to try to understand the challenges employees face when getting the job done? This doesn’t mean workarounds are simply ignored, because as the saying goes, “what we permit, we promote,” and ignoring workarounds because they are successful is like giving tacit approval. What if leaders engaged the workforce in a dialogue to find out what they needed to improve the system and what if these potential improvements were vetted to verify they were safe and didn’t violate regulatory compliance? Would it be possible to create a middle ground between compliance and workarounds so that a formalized process could be developed to improve production and safety performance? Some people might call this process Management of Change or MOC, but I don’t think the MOC process is used enough to identify gaps between work as imagined vs. work as done. What do you think? What is the role of the leader in balancing procedure compliance and rule compliance and identifying the challenges workers face in the field in getting the job done? What can leaders do to improve the process and help minimize cross-purpose goals and misalignment in the organization?

May 4, 2016


Dave Christenson shares his experience and knowledge about how to create an environment for fostering high-reliability and resilience within organizations. He offers some profound insights for leaders and managers who wish to improve organizational and human performance.

Dave’s Biography:

David is the CEO of Christenson & Associates, LLC, a consultancy group primarily serving safety-critical, high-risk industries and now doing business as O4R: Organizing For Resilience. David contributes to this organization as it serves clients with education, training, coaching and mentoring The New View in Relational Leadership, Event Learning Teams, Human Performance, Safety II, High Reliability Organizing & Resilience Engineering, Crisis Management, Critical Thinking, and Inspiring Leadership through Emotional & Social Intelligence. David is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Relational Leadership and Social Construction through the U.S. Taos Institute and Leiden University of Leiden, The Netherlands. He completed the Masters of Science degree program in Human Factors and Systems Safety at Lund University, Sweden in 2012. He was a researcher in the Leonardo da Vinci Laboratory for Complexity and Systems Thinking under the guidance of Professor Sidney Dekker. Previously David helped to build and manage the U.S. Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center. David focused on developing organizational learning, high reliability organizing, resilience engineering and creating a widely used knowledge management system as he helped build a new Learning Center for his nation’s interagency 300,000-member wildland fire community. He has served as a High Reliability Organizing Technical Specialist with national and regional incident management teams (IMT) during wildfire and non-fire incidents. Dave was also a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force, training teams of an Alert Interceptor Force in Europe. He graduated from that career as the production superintendent over a squadron of F-15 Eagles at Holloman AFB, NM. 

Show Notes:

As we move from the industrial sectors to the information age, there is a lot more complexity within organizations. Interactive complexity can greatly impact the way decisions are made and breakdowns can occur in areas where teams interact.

It is critical to organize systems and habits so that people can learn to pay attention to and detect weak signals of failure and react appropriately. High-Reliability Organizing and Resilience Engineering offer approaches to help organizations that operation in high-hazard, high-risk and/or high-consequence industries to proactively manage risk and react appropriately when failure occurs.

Small failures are like free lessons because they can help us learn without experiencing catastrophe. Leaders and managers must choose to listen to these free lessons and learn from them, as opposed to simply thinking that the problem won’t happen again. Even when other organizations experience failure leaders and managers should attempt to learn from them rather than exhibit a “distancing through differences” attitude.

Leaders should learn to be humble and admit they don’t know everything. When an organization is extremely successful it can lull leaders and managers into a false sense of security. By maintaining a questioning attitude leaders can try to detect weak signals of potential failure. Open mindedness is an important trait in today’s VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 0:35-Randy introduces Dave Christenson and describes who he is, including reading his formal biography.
  • 1:33- Randy asks Dave, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 6:51-Randy asks Dave about his current role.
  • 8:44-Randy and Dave talk about Distancing through Differences and how leaders may experience a “that couldn’t happen to us” attitude when failure happens in a similar industry.
  • 12:25 –Dave describes how success can include blinders and affect how leaders view weak signals of failure.
  • 20:50-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 23:30-Randy and Dave talk about the need for human performance and effective teamwork in high-risk complex environments, particularly in electrical utility industries.
  • 24:08-Randy asks Dave about what area in industry he feels needs disruption.
  • 31:07-Randy asks Dave, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?” 


Book Recommendations: Beyond Blame: Learning from Failure and Success by Dave Zwiebeck, The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error by Sidney Dekker, Managing the Unexpected by Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe, Pre-Accident Investigations by Todd Conklin, Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal, Tatum Collins, David Silverman and Chris Fussell 




Apr 20, 2016


Lanny Floyd is an expert in electrical safety and understands how to lead organizations in order to drive dramatic change. He has spent his career working to protect employees from electrical hazards and he provides some outstanding leadership lessons for organizational change, even for those who don’t work in or around electrical hazards. Lanny’s story is inspirational! 

Lanny’s Biography:

Landis “Lanny” Floyd II received his BSEE from VA Tech in 1973. His 45+ year career with DuPont focused on electrical safety in the construction, operation and maintenance of DuPont facilities worldwide. His responsibilities included improving management systems, competency renewal, work practices, and the application of technologies critical to electrical safety performance in all DuPont operations. He is an adjunct faculty member in the graduate school of Advanced Safety Engineering and Management (ASEM) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At UAB, he teaches Prevention through Design, Engineering Ethics. He also teaches Electrical Systems Safety which he developed for the ASEM curriculum. He is an IEEE Life Fellow, a professional member of American Society of Safety Engineers, a Certified Safety Professional, a Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional, a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional, a Certified Reliability Leader and a registered professional engineer in Delaware. He established Electrical Safety Group, Inc. in 2001 to provide expert consulting services in electrical safety matters. 

Show Notes: 

Lanny and his team built a case around the need to change fundamentally how electrical safety was managed. The level of acceptable risk was way too high compared to how safety was managed in other areas. He started a quest to reduce the risk to people and advance the practice of electrical safety.

In the last 20 years of his 45 years with DuPont he was able to reduce the number of electrical fatalities to zero. He and his team were able to achieve breakthrough performance in managing the risk with electrical energy contact and sustain that for 25 years. However, he is not satisfied with this number because there are still electrical fatalities around the world and he sees a global trend of increasing electrical fatalities.

Lanny uses the concept of flying to the moon and how humankind achieved what seemed impossible. He describes the importance of stretching the capability of how we currently think and looking beyond the artificial barriers, what we perceive to be real barriers and think about things differently. This type of thinking may be used to help us work towards greater goals.

It is extremely important to help instill a level of curiosity in others as we teach. Expanding the ability to think critically about what is possible is an extremely important skill for leaders as they lead others. As leaders, it is extremely important to help develop other leaders and improve the way leaders think about problems and how they engage others about thinking differently.

Pushing beyond what we think is possible is important. We need to think beyond basic compliance and work towards achieving excellence. Compliance is important, but will only take us so far in terms of organizational performance. The analogy of heroes in history who have changed the world comes to mind, such as Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Michael Jordan, The Beatles, and Hank Aaron. These were all people who pushed the boundaries. They didn’t get to where they were by seeking average compliance. They “kicked the boxes,” sought excellence and opened the way for people to come behind them. Just like those heroes, leaders need to build the case for being excellent, not just average.

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Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 0:38-Randy introduces Lanny Floyd and describes who he is, including reading his formal biography.
  • 2:24- Randy asks Lanny, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?”
  • 3:08-Lanny describes tragic accidents involving electrical energy and tells some deep engaging stories about electrical safety accidents and how it shaped his goals for safety leadership and protecting people in the workplace.
  • 8:12-Randy talks about the dangers of letting our guard down in industry when we achieve outstanding performance and asks Lanny for his perspective.
  • 10:50-Randy quotes Mark Twain, “You can’t see with your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
  • 11:30-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits.
  • 12:47-Randy asks Lanny about his current projects and work since leaving DuPont and Lanny describes how he created an online masters level course on electrical safety and his work with IEEE.
  • 15:30-Lanny talks about the importance of instilling a level of curiosity and expanding the ability to think critically about what is possible.
  • 19:18-Randy asks Lanny, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?”


Book Recommendation: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.



Apr 15, 2016

Episode 3-Improving Performance Using Lessons-Learned Systems with Bill Brown, Founder and Product Manager of Secutor Solutions Overview: Bill Brown is the Founder and Product Manager at Secutor Solutions. In this episode we discuss how and why managers need improved leadership skills to empower teams, and the use of lessons-learned systems for improving organizational performance. Bill’s Biography: Bill was commissioned in the Marine Corps after graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1993. He spent 7 years in the Marine Corps as a platoon commander and intelligence officer before entering the civilian world in 2000. Since that time he has worked primarily as a program and product manager in the software development discipline. Bill has had the opportunity to work in a variety of industries, including Knowledge Management, Insurance, Healthcare, Aerospace and Defense. Working across these industries as both an employee and consultant with over 14 companies has allowed him to observe and interact with many leadership teams and operate within a variety of business processes. Through this experience he has had the opportunity to lead amazing teams that built, launched and supported 5 different products. Bill is currently the founder and product manager at Secutor Solutions whose specialty is engaging technology with their Lessons Learned Database to bridge the gap between the areas of project management, operations management and knowledge management to drive higher rates of business success and greater organizational resilience. Show Notes: It can be fun to envision the optimal solution and create the path to implementation. This requires picking the right team, the right platform and developing the right sequence of events and executing on the vision to achieve it in an efficient manner. The real fun comes in when the plan has to change to accommodate the external drivers that necessitate change. The world and business is very complex and planning is key towards developing repeatable processes and consistent results, but the value is in planning, not necessarily the plan. The plan will need to change because as Bill says, “No plan survives first contact with implementation.” Therefore leaders need to be prepared to adapt and be flexible and adjust operations as they execute on their plan. Inflexible leaders and managers will likely experience problems. Engagement and Integration are important and technology solutions have to be integrated into workflow to make them a normal part of work. Engagement means creating a value in the system that draws people in and engages them to use the system. A lot of application sit on the shelf and collect dust because people don’t feel connected to them. Workers have to feel connected with a system in order to use it effectively. You can make the use of applications more fun if you try. Integration is about taking the core knowledge we capture with a system and infusing it into widespread tools that are already in use, like email and project planning tools. Information has to be recorded, fed-forward and integrated into planning processes to help improve organizational learning. If this is done well, leaders, teams and workers can capture, collect and use information to help mitigate business and other risks by learning from the lessons others have already experienced in the past. A lot of managers who get promoted up into high-level management positions lack leadership skills. There is a lot more to leadership than being a “taskmaster.” Leading, Teaching, Coaching and Counseling are some of the big leadership skills necessary for managers to advance and become better leaders who can really lead their teams to greatness. It is a fundamental failure to simply come up with arbitrary goals without thinking through them. Stretch goals are important, but a dose of reality must be injected to find out what is actually possible. Micro-managing can be detrimental to performance. From an organizational resilience perspective managers have to be trained to think more broadly to be great leaders. Managers and leaders can’t have a zero defect mentality because workers and organizations have to make mistakes and learn. However, there are ways to find a path for workers so they can fail and learn along the way without having a major negative impact on the organization. Managers have to train and coach team members rather than jumping in and doing things themselves. Otherwise team members won’t learn as effectively and this may inhibit organizational performance. Managers need to be more than taskmasters or clock-watchers. They can’t just watch the output. They have to be more involved in the process and have to be more involved with their teams. They have to use the mantra “Lead, Teach, Coach and Counsel” to actually manager their people in a more comprehensive manner. Corporate leaders have to recognize the importance of these skills. Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to: Time-Stamped Show Notes: • 0:34-Randy introduces Bill Brown and describes who he is, including reading his formal biography. • 2:30- Randy asks Bill, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?” • 4:00-Randy quotes Eisenhower, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Randy and Bill get into a discussion on plans, how planning can create a thought process towards achieving a goal and that plans must be flexible. Bill describes the need to adapt. • 5:55-Bill states, “No plan survives first contact with implementation.” Because so many factors arise, especially on long-term projects and leaders must be adaptable. Don’t fall in love with your plan because it is going to change. • 6:34-Randy asks Bill what got him interested in his current work. • 7:25 Randy asks Bill about his current company or role and Bill describes the foundations of Secutor Solutions and how his company evolved into creating a Lessons-Learned database to help organizations continually improve. • 8:15-Randy asks Bill about some of the projects he’s currently working on right now and Bill describes taking the Lessons-Learned concept to the next level by leveraging solutions and incorporating them into people’s workflow. • 11:26-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits. • 12:42-Randy asks Bill, “What was the biggest moment in your career where you had an “aha moment” about leadership, organizational resilience, reliability, safety, or a similar area?” • 14:10-Randy describes how many industries struggle with developing and using a solid debriefing process after work is completed and capturing those lessons in lessons-learned systems. This creates fractured learning. • 15:00-Randy asks Bill, “What area in leadership, organizational development, or industry do you think needs disruption and why?” • 16:13-Bill describes the important skills needed by managers as they advance in their careers and these are, “Leading, Teaching, Coaching and Counseling.” • 19:08-Randy describes how managers need to take the sometimes counter-intuitive step of releasing a bit of control to the experts on their teams. Team members must be empowered in order to accomplish organizational goals effectively and efficiently. • 21:07-Randy asks Bill, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?” • 24:18-Randy mentions the challenge of major transformational change as compared to shorter-term project implementation. Resources: Book Recommendation: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t by Jim Collins. Contact: Email: Web:

Apr 15, 2016

Ron Gantt is Vice President of SCM, and in this episode we talk about leadership engagement with front line teams, trying to understand the context and perceptions of workers as they do their jobs, trying to understand how and why things make sense given their perspective, avoiding blaming people when things go wrong, and being humble as leaders. Ron Gantt is Vice President of SCM. He has over a decade experience as a safety leader and consultant in a variety of industries, such as construction, utilities and the chemical industry, to help people see safety differently. Ron has a graduate degree in Advanced Safety Engineering and Management as well as undergraduate degrees in Occupational Safety and Health and Psychology. He is currently pursuing is PhD in Safety Science, studying organizational learning and drift. Ron is a Certified Safety Professional, a Certified Environmental, Safety and Health Trainer, and an Associate in Risk Management. He was named by the National Safety Council in 2013 as a Rising Star in Safety, and winner of the Young Talent sponsorship in 2015 by the Resilience Engineering Association. Ron is also co-editor for Sign up for our Newsletter here, or go to:

Show Notes: Ron loves learning and is a lifelong learner. Lifelong learning is very important to help us advance organizational performance. Working in safety has helped Ron learn about many different industries and help people by being a positive influence to others in his work. At the highest levels of performance organizations should be learning organizations. Pushing beyond our comfort zones is important for thinking differently about how we manage risks. Once we get into the learning mode there is so much interesting things we can learn about. Once you stop believing you already know something you are surprised at every turn. That helps keep interest in our work. Our biggest flaw is that we think we know already when we don’t and as leaders that’s a huge mistake. If you make too many assumptions about your knowledge and act on faulty knowledge you may end up being less effective and you may let your followers down. It may be a critical error to assume you know when you don’t. It’s important to help people understand how to achieve success in a complex world, using the New View about safety and operations. Safety can be used to help organizations achieve success. There is a tradeoff between exploring and exploitation of operations, and there should be a balance with safety and success. One key in engaging leaders and front line workers involves talking about expertise, comfort levels and what has worked in the past. The question becomes “How can we know if we’re wrong?” This involves swinging the pendulum back to the exploration side from the exploitation side. Systems aren’t resilient if we don’t perceive failure until after it occurs. We need to be aware of risks and potential failure before it occurs. Organizations and leaders need to think beyond compliance to where their critical boundaries are, such as safety boundaries or operational boundaries that could lead to failure (which could be harm to safety or finances) and how those boundaries may be managed to avoid failure and maintain resilience. Operational drift can include benefits, but we need to manage drift and allocate resources to maximize operational performance while maintaining adequate safety and while not crossing that safety boundary. Operational drift should be examined prospectively (forward looking), but that is a challenge. A phase shift may be thought of as when something changes from one state to another. Sometimes a small amount can be added to something and it can go from one state to another in an instant (like moving from water to ice with one degree of temperature change) and operational drift can occur in a similar way. We need to appreciate how subtle changes can actually end up having huge effects. A small example is how we try to stick to strict schedules, but sometimes small impacts on our schedule could have very dramatic effects on the outcome. The same holds true in organizations. We may try to create stability in organizations and teams. We focus so much on controlling the teams and people, but we may lose sight of the effects of the operational environment, which can have tremendous impacts on teams and their performance. Local rationality is the idea is that people do things that make sense to them at the time based on their resources, attention, and goals. This is a very important concept. One of the most important traits a leader needs to have is empathy and the ability to see through the eyes of the other person. If we don’t understand how people are making sense of their choices they won’t follow us as leaders. We need to find out how things are making sense to people and find leverage points. People are always paying attention to something and we can’t simply assume workers are not paying attention when accidents or failures happen. If we assume they weren’t paying attention then we will limit our ability to understand what they were paying attention to at the time and we may miss opportunities to improve work systems. Quantitative and qualitative metrics are very important. We can’t simply rely on quantitative metrics. If we never look at stories or dissenting opinions and don’t pay attention to that we will limit innovation and the ability to detect weak signals. We need to be able to triage weak signals, pull out the important data and make good decisions based on that qualitative information. This can help to improve efficiency, effectiveness and resilience. The lack of curiosity needs to be disrupted. Leaders need to be curious about how work gets done. We need to get out there and ask more questions. Rather than seeing behaviors or operations, and judging them in a black and white way we need to be curious about what we are not seeing. We need to be more curious about the things we are not seeing because if we don’t look deeper we may miss opportunities for improvement. Leaders need to get out into the world and observe how workers are working and understand that workers have to overcome many imperfect situations nearly every day. By gaining this perspective those at the “blunt end” could understand some ways of making positive changes. Situational humility is important and in some situations leaders need to humble themselves in front of their workers so they can learn by asking questions. They need to understand that it is beneficial to admit they don’t know things and being overly concerned about “looking stupid” in front of workers may limit learning. Time-Stamped Show Notes: • 0:40-Randy introduces Ron Gantt and describes who he is, including his formal biography. • 2:27- Randy asks Ron, “Okay, we’ve heard your formal bio, but tell us what makes you tick, what motivates you, what inspires you, or generally why you do what you do?” • 3:37-Randy describes how at the highest level of organizational capabilities they should be learning organizations. • 3:55-Randy asks Ron what got him interested in working in safety. • 7:00-Ron comments that our biggest flaw is that we think we know already when we don’t and as leaders that’s a huge mistake. • 7:25 Randy asks Ron about his current company or role. • 9:50 Randy asks Ron about how he tries to engage with organizations to push the boundaries of safety and figuring out how to continue learning about safety, and Ron explains the exploration-exploitation tradeoff. • 14:15-Randy talks about how organizations don’t spend enough time thinking about how organizations may cross over important boundaries and experiencing failure, such as risks to safety or finance. Complying with regulations and rules is important, but may not go far enough. • 15:07-Randy asks Ron about what he’s working on now and Ron talks about his Ph.D. work and operational drift. • 17:00-Randy and Ron start discussing phase shifts and moving from one state to the next state, such as crossing a safety boundary and experiencing failure. • 18:25-Randy comments on how phase shifts are described in the book Simple Rules by Michael Mauboussin. • 22:26-Randy describes Crew Resource Management training and the benefits. • 23:43-Randy asks Ron, “What was the biggest moment in your career where you had an “aha moment” about leadership, organizational resilience, reliability, safety, or a similar area?” • 28:12-Randy brings up the problems with the term Situational Awareness and how it is sometimes mistakenly used to think that we can simply will ourselves to pay more attention in complex, demanding situations. • 29:00-Ron and Randy discuss counterfactual reasoning, the problems trying to use it to manage safety and how it may be used for pre-mortems or what-if scenarios for prospective reasoning. • 30:46-Randy asks Ron, “What’s next in terms of projects or areas of interest you want to explore?” • 34:10-Randy asks Ron, “What area in leadership, organizational development, or industry do you think needs disruption and why?” • 36:09-Randy asks Ron, “If you could be granted one wish for leadership or organizational change/development what would it be?” Resources: Book Recommendation: Humble Inquiry by Edgar Schein The Mission, the Men and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander by Pete Blaber Beyond Blame: Learning from Failure and Success by Dave Zwieback Contact: Email: LinkedIn: Web:

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