CRJ Series 1 - An Introduction to Human Performance
Welcome to my first 'Blog' for this fantastic publication, Crisis Response Journal; I
am so proud to have been asked by Emily and Kirsty to contribute!
I thought I would take a bit of a structured approach to my blogs over the next year
because I am on a mission. My mission is to educate at least 1000 organisations
around the world about Human Performance by 2030. Now is your time to get ahead
of the curve because over the next 12 blogs I will be focusing on different elements
of Human Performance so make sure you follow this series to get a really good
understanding of what it is, where it came from, how it works and why it has been a
fast-transformational tool in the early adopter organisations my associates and I work
The field of Human Performance (HP), sometimes known as Human Performance
Improvement (HPI) and more recently Human and Organisational Performance
Improvement (HOP or HOPI) emerged in the late 60s to early 70s in the U.S.A. It is
an approach to proactively reduce the consequences of unwanted outcomes
triggered by Human Error.
HP Professionals are employed in large high hazard organisations all over the world
but in the UK, it has received little or no attention outside of nuclear generation and
aviation until now. If you have taken the behavioural safety route, run the
'challenging unsafe behaviour' programme, implemented the behaviour-based
observation database and are still scratching your head about why people do the
things they do, then listen up. Human Performance is what you're looking for! Why?
Because human error doesn't just result in 'safety' incidents. Human error has the
potential of impacting on every aspect of your business. Show me a poor-quality
product, reduced productivity, increased overhead, rising re-work, or reputational
damage related 'outcome' and I will show you the path that human error took until we
reach the core of the problem.
Safety initiatives are fantastic for temporarily driving down specific types of incidents,
less cut fingers? Better gloves and punish anyone not wearing them! Slips, trips and
falls? Pay more attention, wear flat shoes and always paint the top stair Yellow - job
done! Sadly, we know all too well that we will see these incidents and unfortunately
even worst ones' time and again. Why? It's because of those workers who don't care
enough, aren't committed enough, don't follow the rules, go out of their way to screw
things up, yes? Well, no actually! Allow me to let you in on a little secret - Human
Error is inevitable! you can't eliminate it, you can't punish it out of your business, you
can't reward it out of your business and no matter how hard you try, how much 'be
safer at work' training you provide, how often you sack, suspend, shout at or
discipline people, I'm sorry to say it is here to stay. Period!
Don't lose hope! Remember that I said "Human Performance is about proactively
reducing the consequences of unwanted outcomes triggered by Human Error?" Well
if we do something proactively that means we do it ahead of time. This means we
must be able to predict what is going to happen? We can predict human error? Yes!
The bad news is that Human Error is here to stay, the good news is that it is
predictable and therefore we can reduce the likelihood of it happening and when it
does happen (and it will) we can make sure that we have the innate ability to bounce
back, i.e. we have built-in resilience. In our systems, in our processes, in our
activities and most importantly in our people!
Join me on my blog journey through Human Performance where I will share with you
the theory, the methodology and the practical tools and techniques you can adopt
and implement to start the process of introducing the principles of human
performance in your team, department or organisation.
My blogs will cover
1. Organisational Drift
2. The Principles of Human Performance
3. Human Error & The Performance Modes
4. Introducing the "WITH" Model
5. Adapting HP to fit with our organisational culture
6. Error prevention tools for Organisations and Leaders
7. Error prevention tools for workers
8. Building Organisational Resilience
9. Investigating unwanted outcomes triggered by human error pt 1
10. Investigating unwanted outcomes triggered by human error pt 2
11. Learning from Unwanted Outcomes
12. Learning from Successful Work
In the mean time allow me to leave you with my thought for the month which will get
you thinking along the lines of my next blog on Organisational Drift and please do
comment, concur, debate, etc. below, it would be fantastic to hear what you are up
If the way in which your organisation responds to unwanted outcomes such as
incidents, lost production, errors, etc., determines your organisational culture, what is
the real culture of your organisation? Don't take your own word for it - go and
validate your assumption with your colleagues, superiors, your workers and your
More insights coming soon.