Mission Accomplished: Santa Completes Another Worldwide Transit—Incident Free!
Every December 24th, this jolly ole elf embarks on one more global initiative. We know this to be true because each year since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD and its predecessor the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado have tracked his operation–www.noradsanta.org.
We are happy to report that as of this writing, Santa has returned to the North Pole with all his reindeer healthy having delivered almost 7.3 billion gifts. Another 364 days of operational planning has paid off handsomely.
So how does this bearded (non-millennial) man in a red suite and his supporting elf ecosystem routinely accomplish this logistical nightmare? Could it be that Santa is the CEO of a High Reliability Organization (HRO)?
Through this blog and others including our book Implementing a Culture of Safety: A Roadmap for Performance Based Compliance, the author has extensively written on the High Reliability Management (HRM). Interested readers are invited to search these and other works on the subject.
Briefly, an HRO focuses on operations from the top down, expects failure and puts in place resilient processes and procedures designed to recover quickly. Moreover, Human Factors play a major role in Santa’s HRO operation.
For example, human elves must care for the reindeer full time, not just the night of the flight. The sled must meet certain regulatory and safety compliance requirements. Packages must be wrapped, and hand delivered efficiently without damage. Finally, route planning and coordination with various airspace control entities is critical to assure an incident free transit.
This ‘tongue and cheek’ mythical case study does serve a point. Large, global, complex initiatives involving a number of constituent parties including customers require HRM. Much is said about Operational Excellence (OE) these days and we make the case herein that without HRM, OE is also an unattainable myth.
We are told on good authority that after a short rest, the Santa OE Ecosystem will start planning for the December 24, 2019 transit. Children believe in Santa Claus and marvel at all he can accomplish in one night. Perhaps those of us who are older can also learn new lessons from this jolly ole elf.
How Do You Assure your Global Initiatives Remain Incident Free?
Critical Mass: Value from the RBC Framework
Nuclear physicists define the term, “critical mass” as the amount of fissile material whereby a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining. From that original definition, the construct is further developed along societal and political terms as a function of the environment and number of adopters and their interdependencies that create enough of a consensus for individual actions that sustains an undertaking.
In 1996, the author published the first of several case studies on a societal interaction model based on the Relationships, Behavior and Conditions (RBC) construct among economic actors. Previously the model was only in the domain of academia.
This blog addresses contemporary issues from the RBC perspective and whether in the present state they are sustainable or not. Many readers may be familiar with the “Innovation Adoption Curve.” RBC seeks to enlighten the causality of behaviors that cause movement towards the critical mass that generates movement along this diffusion curve.
- 2020 Vision: Are Your Stars Aligned This Year? January 7, 2020
- Reflection: Are We Near a Digital Tipping Point? December 31, 2019
- Safety Santa: Another Case of Operational Excellence Success December 27, 2019
- Lessons in Servant Leadership: What Did You Say? December 8, 2019
- Running Across an Open Field: Strategy for Disruptive Technology? November 19, 2019
Other Blogs by Dr. Shemwell
Dr. Shemwell is an author/contributor for the following 3rd party blogs.
So, You Want to be an Entrepreneur
Dr. Shemwell is a member of the Global Energy Mentors (GEM) Leadership Team. Every month he or one of his colleagues is posting timely tips to help entrepreneurs navigate the energy start up sector. Check out the Landing Page.
Governing Energy Blog
BTOES Insights is the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news. Dr. Shemwell is a contributor.
Consult 2050 connects organizations with a wide range of consultants all around the world. The firm operates an online marketplace for consultancy services.
Essays on Business and Information
This two volume set covers a series of newsletters and opinion pieces published circa 2002-2009, including Bug Lore–Lessons for the Online Economy that addressed real time systems vulnerabilities from Y2K (1998-99).
About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.