Is Just Culture desirable for learning? – Part 4

May 19, 2022



This is the fourth part of a six part series to explore the relationship between Just Culture and Learning with a diverse panel of experts. You will hear different perspectives on just culture and learning including legal, operational, academic and safety. Stay tuned for future sessions in this series.

Further information



Nippin Anand  00:00

Hello and welcome to the fourth session in the six part series is just culture desirable for learning. With me in Nippin Anand, on the podcast, embracing differences, and I’m very delighted to be joined by two of my favourite and intelligent ladies. Tanya Hewitt from Beyond compliance, and Rosa Carillo, the author of the book, relationship factor in safety leadership, the wise man and the mythbuster, Carsten Busch, who was recently published his book on safety culture, and my all time favourite, Steve Shorrock, the maestro of human factors. Let’s hear from all of them about what they think is just culture and learning. And if just culture is desirable for learning. Right, we are live now. All right, good afternoon. Good morning. Good evening, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining us. In this old session, the series, which is called is just culture desirable for learning. We’ll do a quick round introduction with our panellists. And then we will get into the discussion. The idea really is to explore this relationship between just culture and learning in this series, and we’ll take about five minutes or so. And then we will take questions from the from the audiences so please feel free. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment box. I’ll pick them up and then I’ll ask them from the caravan. So, Reza, would you like to give a very light introduction of yourself? I think most people know you. It’d be nice to just when like introduction. Yes.


Rosa Carrillo  01:44

Thank you. Yes, I’m very happy to be here I am right now in Long Beach, California. It’s 7am. And very, there’s a lot of fog. So I’m very anxious to hear what my colleagues have to say about learning and just culture. Thank you.


Nippin Anand  02:03

Thank you, Rosa. Steve. Hello, Steve.


Steven Shorrock  02:07

Hi, all yeah, my name is Steven Shorrock. I work in primarily in air traffic management and aviation, generally, very often with air traffic controllers, and in the sphere of just culture with pilots also, and the European judiciary, safety specialists up to kind of CEO level, talking about these kinds of things that we’re going to talk about today. That’s one of the things that I do.


Nippin Anand  02:36

Thank you. Tanya, would you like to say a few words?


Tanya Hewitt  02:41

Sure. Nippin. So I echo roses excitement about being in this panel and I normally introduce myself as coming from the unseeded territories of the Algonquin and and the Shinobi peoples, which is otherwise known as Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. And I have been fascinated by this whole shift in the safety world, including this whole nomenclature on just culture.


Nippin Anand  03:07

Great, thank you, Carsten.


Carsten Busch  03:11

Thanks, Carsten Busch is my name. I’m located in Norway. And just a bit of trivia, it’s snowing outside? Yeah. Yeah, well, I’ve been working for the past seven years, with occupational safety and health in the police force. Totally different background, more engineering, where I come from, and besides my daytime job in the police, I’m involved in the Human Factors system safety programme, university. And well, I think just culture is a very interesting subject to discuss, because I remember that it was both the 97 reason book, and then 10 years later, Sidney Decker’s book on just culture, which really put me on Well, let’s say safety. nerdiness at Rick. Thanks for inviting me with this fantastic people.


Nippin Anand  04:22

Thank you. Maybe customer we can start with you, because looks like you have a lot to say safety muddiness, I hear the word. So how do you how do you how do you view the idea of adjust culture?


Carsten Busch  04:38

I tried to explain it quite often in my own organisation, and then we always stress the difficulty of achieving just culture, which is quite difficult term, I think because it’s not about culture at all. It’s It’s about organisational justice, really. And I tend to use the common sense definition that, that reason I think started with, which is, it’s the balance on one side, you are allowed to make mistakes. And you even need to make mistakes, because it’s how we learn by trial and error. Or that’s one of the modes of learning at least. On the other side, we cannot accept everything. And especially working with police officers puts that sometimes on the edge because, well, society expect just a bit more of police. And, and it’s very hard to find where where’s this balance? Because it’s, I think it’s very human that we often immediately lash out too, that we cannot accept this kind of reaction before we are able to take the step back and think okay, but here is so much going on. So this is not really blameworthy, or and we probably need to make this mistake to learn. So it’s, it’s a balance. It’s a very difficult balance.


Nippin Anand  06:27

Okay, that’s a nice way to articulate it. Thank you, Kirsten. We’ll go to Rosa. Rosa, what’s your view on this idea of, of just culture?


Rosa Carrillo  06:42

Well, I, I believe that it just culture. It consists of trust, learning and accountability. And it protects people from who make honest mistakes from being viewed as villains culpable. The problem, sort of what Carson is referring to what’s the difference between an honest mistake in a willful act, and that’s where I find most people struggle. And there’s no black and white answer to it. And it seems to depend on, uh, your assumptions, or your biases, whether they’re conscious or unconscious about the person that is that made them mistake. And this has been shown through a lot of research that when teachers and even researchers assume the best about their subjects, their subjects perform much better. So there’s a whole aspect of just culture that is never really discussed, which is the conscious and unconscious bias. And then again, we can relate it to diversity, equity and inclusion. Because there’s certain portions of the population that have never been in a just culture. So why is it that they have been able to learn? That’s an interesting question. When I looked up, the definition of learning, I got 10 billion hits 10 billion that surprise me. And from what I just a summary of my findings was that learning is a process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance and future learning. And I have to say, because I’ll reveal a little bit of myself personally, because I was not raised in a psychologically safe environment, which is basically what we’re talking about. Here in today’s hot word, psychological safety. Your learning capacity leads to your ability to adapt and survive. And I grew up in a very threatening environment, which I adapted to and survived. And you can see the result here I am, let me know if I’m over three minutes. Keep going. So the connection to psychological safety is very strong. But fairness is only one characteristic of that, okay, which is what just culture seems to be about. But there are many, many other aspects that have to be in place in order for people to learn. And so focusing, I mean, we look for simple answers, such as the golden rules, okay, now everybody knows the rules. And if you stay in between these rails, you will be safe. But no, it just isn’t true because the unspoken elephant in the room is our politics and power and the fact that they are frequently behind the scenes, pushing people to make decisions in the direction that isn’t necessary. Therapy safe?


Nippin Anand  10:02

Yeah, it’s interesting. You you talk about the unconscious biases. And then you, you both you and CastOn talk about this this tension between honest mistakes and willful negligence. So how do you? How much control do you have on something that is totally unconscious? That’s an interesting one to explore. But we’ll go to Steven first and hear his view. Steve, what do you think about the idea of just culture?


Steven Shorrock  10:34

It’s clearly like one of these multi dimensional things, right, because there’s many conceptions of justice led in two major types of retributive and restorative. There’s many conceptions of culture as well. But we’re talking about at least something that’s roughly shared in a group of some kind of size. So shared ways of thinking and shared ways of doing a most basic level. But then that’s at many levels. So there’s, we can have, we can talk at the level of a family, which is probably quite a useful place to start because this is the most uncodified, you know, aspect of culture in a family where there’s, there’s no safety management system, there’s no written laws, going up through school, where now it starts to be more formalised going up then into organisations, organisations, and societies more generally, where we have laws and we have concepts of justice, all of those. And I think, then the so when we talk about just culture, we need to know what level we’re talking about. Typically, we’re talking about organisations. In my work, we’re also talking about more at the, the kind of legal level, because an organisation that exists in a context. So exist, it has to obey the law. So it makes it difficult, because you might have what you think is a just culture in an organisation. But it still has to comply with the nation’s laws, which may have particular laws on for instance, errors and outcomes. And so you cannot separate it from a systems point of view. But I think at a very basic level, we the idea is that, if you just take the concept of a family and justice within a family, well, what’s reasonable? Is it reasonable to punish a child for for dropping a cup, for instance, you know, and then you can go up through some kind of examples to is it reasonable to punish a child for stealing something from a neighbour or something like that, when they know that this is wrong, perhaps. So, you know, we grew up with this idea of justice, and we grew up with this idea of shared values within a family within a neighbourhood and within a country and so on. So it’s, I think all we’ve done in the organisational setting is try to somehow formalise this because there are so many grey areas. And the idea of an honest mistake raises the idea of what is a dishonest mistake? That makes no sense. There’s just that either. So then we were struggling to know, when is it reasonable to take some kind of punitive action from the retributive side? For instance, in cases of bullying, for instance, in cases of perhaps racial abuse, something like that. That might happen in a in a work setting. But also, how can we use justice to heal in the restorative sense? And then how can we use all of this to actually learn? And that’s the question you asked us today, I guess.


Nippin Anand  14:01

Yeah. And that’s, that’s a really interesting dimension. Because I think from what you’re saying, and I can clearly see where you’re headed. Well, at least I think I do. But I think when we talk about learning, probably we will start to this will start to make a little bit more sense. Because in the way you understand learning, of course, but let’s find out and see what Tonya has to say.


Tanya Hewitt  14:27

So, I think when I echo Carson that I probably was introduced to the term jazz culture through Sidney Decker’s book. I can remember the opening chapter of the nurse being in the defence dockets and wait a minute, where where’s my nurse manager? Where’s Where are my colleagues when he wears the system behind me that was implicated in this event? And I remember that being very impactful in the way that he wrote that book. But I also remember, in my podcast listener mode, listening to various podcasts on the pre Accident Investigation podcast, where just culture became a label that companies were using in a retributive way. And I realised, okay, this is a lot more difficult than it was presented initially. Maybe part of this is because of our addiction to binary thinking is this, you know, a, a willful act or an honest mistake, like, it’s not that simple. Most of the time to be able to talk about this, I’d like to pick up on something that Steven Shorrock had mentioned, there are some I was just listening to another podcast where ethical decision making was, was being looked at. And the, the guest had said that there are some areas where we do have to be more binary in our thinking, and she talked about racism. I’d like to just bring up a, a story that’s happening in my community right now. There was a, a hockey game, there was a black player on the ice, he was called various names that I won’t repeat this God into the local media. And the so a lot of the media wanted to talk to the head of the team, the head of the league, what are you going to do about this? And it came down to well, if a referee didn’t hear the the offensive terms, then we don’t really know what happened. The mother said, Well, I’d like to Mike my son so that he would be able to, but that’s not legal, as Steven was saying, like there are there are higher laws that we have to be aware of here. But when they did talk to the coach, he said, Well, you know, once we find that kid, he will be expelled, he will be punished. And I thought, Okay, what learning is happening here? This is exclusively retributive justice. We’re not going into any kind of restorative understanding of what motivated that kid to say what he said. And I, when I realised that at if 12 year olds are being taught this today, how on earth are we going to get to a better place in the future?


Nippin Anand  17:51

Excellent. Thank you this a lot in what you said. But I just wanted to unpack one thing before we go back to costume is that a lot of times what you hear is, we will enhance, for example, the situation that you mentioned that we you do an independent assessment, and you try and find out where in the system, where has the system failed. And the problem is that, in that kind of an approach, what you’re really trying to do is you’re allocating blame elsewhere. And so if it’s not the the frontline worker, it could be the CEO, or it could be ops. So I still struggle to understand how this system because we talk about just culture, but then we fall back into systems and structures. And this is where I find the idea of both just and culture. Very, very powerful. But we will explore that as we go. So where is the real learning? When we are finding somebody, it’s just dressing it into another? Well, it’s giving it it’s just positioning blame elsewhere in the so called system. So what has really changed as a result of that going back to Ross’s point of learning is about change. What change has happened as a result of this interesting, thank you, thank you, Tanya, very, very powerful example. Also, go back to custom now custom. Feel free if you have anything else to say but my point. My next question would be to explore what is learning in your world? What does it mean?


Carsten Busch  19:30

Well, I haven’t googled it and read 10 million hits. But on a common sense level, I tend to connect, learning with with improvement. That we can see better ways of doing things, maybe new ways of doing things. And If you’re we didn’t get really homework for this, but you make me think because we often connect this perhaps because of of James Reason who, who define safety culture as these these five different or five interconnected. subcultures are reporting culture and just culture and learning culture that we connect the just culture with, with learning the learning aspect, instinctively. And so you got me thinking, but why do we take this? Let’s say utilitarian view, just culture at all, or at accidents, because we often talk about the accident, well, something bad happened. And now we must learn from this because somebody got hurt and out of respect and blah, blah, and we have probably a lot of other arguments. But when I think of just culture, we often I think we we try to sell it to someone as being this is necessary for for learning, and in a way perhaps it is because we often think you can only learn about things that you know about. So if people are afraid to report because they know they get punished, which is one of the effects of not having this just culture, or psychological safety. So then we don’t know. And so it’s a pre requisites. But on the other well, I got thinking, and I don’t have an answer to this, but But why do we need to sell this in this way? Because nobody’s going to say, well, we need to have fair trials. Because else we don’t learn from crime, or whatever it was, well, we are living in a democracy. So the we shall have fair trials, and you’re not guilty until proven otherwise. So but when it comes to organisations, first we need to sell this in. And then all the I think Steven talked about it with all these levels, is that they’re regulated or not. And in organisations, it’s often not regulated at all, because you don’t have the protection from which you would have if you drove too fast, for example, and you will are getting a fee or whatever. Did this make sense? It was a bit of rambling, but you really got me thinking, and I don’t have any answers. But you provided me with a lot of interesting questions here. I hope that someone else can shine some light on it. Sure.


Nippin Anand  23:15

Before we go to Rosa, just the thing that really interested me in what you were saying was that you’re trying to promote the idea of just culture. And there is already a mental image, or an expectation that learning will lead to some sort of change and some sort of improvement. Maybe not. Maybe there is no need for any improvement. Maybe the status quo is serving well. And and when I say improvement, and you put politics at the heart of it, improvement comes from working harder, trying harder, often from people who are serving the hierarchy. So I’m not sure if an organisation of if at the level of expect setting expectation, we are coming up with this idea that learning means change. And learning means improvement because I hear it a lot of times, and I don’t know if learning will always result in change or improvement. Maybe sometimes not.


Carsten Busch  24:13

If I can just add another element. We tend to approach bad things happening with this focus on learning and improvement. But it’s not the only if you did there’s this great paper by by Sidney Decker from 2014 or 15 where he discusses the psychological psychology of incident investigation and then discusses four different goals with incident investigation. I think it’s just drilling to look through those four lenses. And then you have almost automatically to conclude it’s going to be very hard to satisfy everyone. Because the these four views are often conflicting, you cannot understand and prevent and restore something and explain the suffering that happened and then follow up the moral outrage that there is, well, somebody got hurt, so we have to punish someone that’s a very primal human reaction. So So you have to balance the these different goals. And that’s probably very hard. And maybe an organisation will decide, well, we don’t want to, to really learn from this, because a reputation is much more important right now. I don’t know who am I to decide here?


Nippin Anand  25:55

Precisely because you use the word reputation. Reputation is important. I think if you look at the work of Soren Kierkegaard, the more European the more you get better at learning on you improve your ability to contextualise something, explain something articulated well, so there is no rush to go and change things and improve them. Maybe you just need to build on what you already have. And so I think that’s an expectation that we set up against the idea of the just culture maybe. But but but going going to Rosa and Rosa, instead of asking you the question about what does learning mean, maybe you can help me articulate? When was it in your in your worst experience? In consulting and teaching and, and writing? You felt that moment where learning happened? You saw an example of learning, what would that be? In your view?


Rosa Carrillo  26:55

Well, okay, I think of learning at different levels. First of all, organisations don’t learn, systems don’t learn, people learn. And then those learnings then get put into norms, and so on, and so forth. So the psychological process operates. So my learning for myself has always been it’s constant, it’s constant, and it does change. Learning is change, because it somehow changes your perception of the world. So I remember when I first learned about culture, Carsten and I have something in common in that we really feel that the term safety culture is quite useless. Because very few people understand what a culture is. So most people just use it as a junk drawer. Oh, that’s, that’s the safety culture problem. Now, we will bring in a consultant and forget about it. But so I remember though, when I first learned about the unspoken assumptions and beliefs, and how those control society, I said, Oh, my gosh, I’ve been living under the tyranny of other people’s beliefs and expectations about me. And I don’t have to live there anymore. I mean, that’s like a huge transformation. And since that I have gone into organisations, and I’ve tried to transmit that moment and say, you know, you do not have to live, you don’t have to suffer. You don’t have to live in these tyrannic environments. Just as Viktor Frankl didn’t have to do it, in the concentration camp, because you have control over how you feel. And as I listened to the panel, you were all seem to be taking this position from a safety organisational point of view. And I, I think that the profession needs to pay a lot more attention to what happens at the individual level and the social level and the interaction. Because Carson, my latest insight is that culture is created through personal interaction. And that is how it’s maintained or broken, because you can see how a new leader that comes in and starts treating people with respect and following these aspirations of just culture. That the culture suddenly begins to change. I have seen it over and over again, at the team level, because there’s a leader within that team structure and at an organisational level because it General Manager, I’ve never experienced a CEO that did that, although I hear that Alcoa CEO, Paul O’Neill was able to do that through the power of his influence. So I don’t know if I’m answering I’m probably not answering your question. But when I go into organisations or I’m coaching, and I’ll say something such as you know, your influences in the power of your relationships, and then we start exploring that idea, I see that learning of that individual who begins to practice those things of relationship building trust, respect, psychological safety, I see them transform, and I see their teams transform. So learning is a very important aspect of that, because many of us were raised in a very nonlinear way, I shouldn’t say non learning, we’re constantly learning, even in oppressive environments, we have to learn to survive. Learning has nothing to do with just culture. Learning has to do with adaptation. So there we are. And we can continue to learn whether or not there’s a just culture, the question is, is a leader willing to adapt him or herself to these concepts so that they can experience more success and have a higher level of well being in the organisation? And and that’s for the leader? Who cares about employee Well, being not every leader has that focus?


Nippin Anand  31:29

Thank you, Rosa. I don’t know if I agree with you. But I really like your idea. I’m intrigued by the ideas, because one of the things that comes to mind is that as we move from the family, where we are nurtured and taken care of, and put into a formal education system, system to use the word, I think there, that’s where the the whole anti learning starts. So I think everything that starts from that point onwards to the point where you go to a school to a university to organisation is very, very anti learning. So it all against the idea of learning. And I was also very intrigued by your the word of the use of the word adaptation. Yes, that’s precisely what we do we adapt. We adapt because there is pressure on us. But there is no real learning. There is no real inner movement, bodily movement. And it’s it’s but but we’ll return to that, Rosa. Yes, very, very interesting concept is, what would you like to say something? Stephen about what’s your view on learning? Stephen? What do you think?


Steven Shorrock  32:42

What we learn, regardless of, you know, any kind of justice, we learn all of the time, there’s a kind of traction, right? So and there’s a deepening of understanding or changing of understanding, and there’s multiple perspectives all of the time. And so we’re going to learn regardless, it’s a case of what we learn, and, and by whom I suppose. And I guess the idea of just culture, at least at the corporate level, is learning about events and associated conditions and learning then how to improve. That’s the kind of intention I think there’s a lot of what goes on in the background is actually learning about norms about what is acceptable around here. I think that’s the strong undercurrent of that, that is influenced by every reaction when things go wrong, whether there’s an accident or incident or not simply if someone makes a mistake, and that may be working outside of the norm. So you work outside the group and my feeling, you know, talking to really hundreds 1000s Probably of air traffic controllers, engineers, and so on. And then more lately, prosecutors is that the people that frontline workers are afraid of, most are not the people at whom the idea of just culture is directed. So just culture is that is directed typically at safety people and people in management positions. At least in industries like mine, air traffic controllers are not really afraid of those people. And fear is at the heart of this. It’s, it’s intricately involved in learning, they’re afraid of each other. They’re afraid of their colleagues. And something happens and I think it happens certainly in healthcare as well and probably many other sectors. That blame is kind of externalised people like investigators, prosecutors, you know, whoever, right? But then within the closed shop, the conversation is different. You know, don’t it’s not So we have to talk about that too, as well, I think and the issue of norms, learning and justice both have in common consequences. Because events have consequences. Actions have consequences, and we learn based on consequences. You can’t learn if you don’t have feedback or knowledge of results, basic kind of psychological theory, I suppose. And so there’s a connection for sure. But it’s a case of what are we learning? And, and who’s learning what


Nippin Anand  35:32

I recall from this discussion, there was RJ last time we mentioned this idea of local ingenuity, and how can we learn and institutionalise local ingenuity? So you you see a case of improvisation on the ground? And then how can you put it back into the system. And to him, that was a telling example of just culture. But as I’m hearing from you, and I, this is my experience, also, that how much of that ingenuity will be appreciated by the colleagues at the lateral level, before you even take it to the level of at the top, and want people to formalise it because, one, we don’t have a language for an engineer at or improvisation. It’s very, it’s very murky, it’s very great, very greasy, it’s not working by the standards. So are we really prepared to go into that uncertain zone? Because this is keeps repeating Steven, I do workshops on on accidents, and particularly the Costa Concordia event, the most unforgiving people are actually the people who who come from the industry, who understand the murky details. And I can understand that because a lot of the the learning, which should come from the unconscious is coming from the conscious and the conscious mind is stopping them to learn anything. So that’s a very powerful things I don’t know it took. So to me, a lot of learning has to come from the unconscious, because that’s where we make most of our decisions also from interesting, thank you. Thank you for sharing. Tanya. Yes, yes, Rosa?


Rosa Carrillo  37:02

Well, I just dying to Steven, and maybe we can come back to it. But you’re the bomb, you said that they’re afraid of each other? And there it is that interpersonal interaction in that moment. And that’s what maintains the culture. Right there. So after Tonya speaks, I hope we can come back to that, because that’s amazing statement.


Steven Shorrock  37:28

I think just very, very briefly, again, going back to our family of origin, what do we fear most we fear, losing the love and approval of those closest to us, you know, when we’re little kids, you know, and then when we when we go into our families as professionals, then we, we fear being rejected from the group. We don’t fear investigate, we can work around them. And we’ll come to and we’ll come together to work around them. But we have to maintain the integrity of the group. First Principle something


Rosa Carrillo  38:09

No, I am glad I asked that question, because I didn’t know but I completely agree with it. And it goes back to that psychological safety doesn’t the importance of belonging, and not the way that Amy Edmondson uses the word but but the broader meaning of psychological safety, which has to be included and to belong, and that’s the unconscious need Nippin That that we all live within, and that drives our decisions, unless we become more self aware and say, Ah, you know, this is triggering this reaction. And I don’t have to go there. But But otherwise, I just go there without even thinking about it. And so we have baked in that the kinds of responses and results that we can get in that system. Right. Well, Stephen, that you published on that


Steven Shorrock  39:04

I think I just wrote one post once I don’t bother going through you know, formal publishing nowadays, though machine of publishing houses, but I just wrote something called Who are we most afraid of just culture? Who are most afraid of something? Something like that? Some some years, some years ago?


Rosa Carrillo  39:21

Okay. Love to have the link to that.


Nippin Anand  39:25

Dinner, Rosa. What triggered this series was was a conference that I attended on on the idea of just culture and learning where you had Shipmasters coming from all over the world flying business class put into the best of hotels, coming to the conference and listening to a captain who had made a mistake and and expecting an apology from him that was learning. So and then when you go into into personnel groups, and you sit with them, and you ask them so what do you think they would say, well, we would have done the same thing, but this is how You know, this is the conscious and the unconscious mind, the unconscious mind wants to give you the gift of of learning. But the conscious mind comes in the way and say no, we will not do that we will never do that we will never behave like him. He’s an idiot. So interesting. Yes, this is Tanya, what’s, what do you think?


Tanya Hewitt  40:21

So I think one thing that you had said Nippin is is really insightful. And I’ve heard you talk about your, your doctoral experience and how you when you were challenged, that was probably the first time that you realised ah, this is what learning is. I was confronted with a talk at the former HPRC tea conference a couple of years ago, where Bob Nelms had talked about a whole investigation that he did in the 80s, in Fort McMurray, Alberta, of all places. And you had the normal story of the investigative team having groupthink and believing that this this guy was had committed an infraction and needs to be punished and all this kind of thing. And then the this, he, he has a long story about it, but they brought in some computer nerd in you know, 1982. So there weren’t too many of them at that time. And, and he didn’t see what they saw. And he called them out on Well, wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense. And the you know, and all this kind of thing. And it started to really change the way that that the investigation proceeded, and that Bob mill and they ended up putting on parkas and going to see exactly how this guy did His work for the first time ever, like looking at work is done. And obviously this team, whether ye sat in offices and had heating and all this kind of thing, did not ever understand the so called blue line. And this was the first time that they were confronted with it. And the Bob Nelms talked about it literally hurting, their brains hurt because they knew what happened. And this was this supreme cognitive dissonance like What do you mean? What do you mean, he has to climb up for a flight? What do you mean, he has to hold on to what do you mean that this isn’t my worldview? This isn’t how I understood the world to work. And I think when you had said that schooling is a large part of this, because we get entrenched in a model of, of learning, that is more, you know regurgitation than it is anything else. That it’s not actually challenging your worldview and getting you to appreciate different perspectives and getting you to actually start to think about things. I know that just one other point I wanted to make is that I know that karst I’ve been on forums with Carsten where he has said, if you want to learn about culture, get rid of the word. You know, it’s the word that’s obstructing you getting into anything of value here. I don’t know how often, anthropologists and ethnographers use the word culture when they’re doing their work. But they’re doing culture the way that we see us. them. And they are very self aware, as Rosa said, they’re very transparent about how their own upbringing, their own environment might be influencing the way that they do their work. And they are they have supreme listening skills. They know how to listen, which is something that I think the traditional schooling doesn’t necessarily teach us. So maybe just some of that is is part of this. And that the unless we can start to get out of the safety field in the way that it has been traditionally taught. In didactic classrooms and all this kind of thing, we’re probably not going to get to a better place because there’s something in the structure of how that that whole paradigm works. That isn’t getting to the learning that I think we’re talking about the just culture that I think we’re talking about.


Nippin Anand  44:45

Thank you, if I may say was very, very insightful and very powerful and hit my heart, which is where all the learning comes from. But anyway, the the thing that I found interesting in what you said two things actually stood out to me one is that you schooling, training Daming. Education has nothing to do with learning. To me, at least in my mind, there is no connection with learning. The other thing you talked about the anthropology and anthropologist is that I think in the in this worldview of just culture and systems thinking, we are still trying to locate the truth outside, that truth exists outside of us. Whereas what Rosa also alluded to, in some ways, and you also did, I think the truth is very subjective. The truth is what it means to me. And I think that’s very, very important for learning because I could give you hundreds of examples of atrocities that are happening in organisations and around the world. But how does that matter to you? What does that mean to you? Would it create any movement or any change within you? And I think that’s, that’s where marketing and sales and Netflix movies, we can learn an awful lot from them. They’ve in the first 15 seconds, we decide whether we really want to spend the next two hours on this or not. And we are so far away from that and safety world, because we’re so fixated on the idea of rationalist thinking. Thank you, Tanya. That’s very helpful. Paston will now start to summarise this discussion I’m becoming this is this is a wonderful discussion. How would you? How would you answer the question, and tell me if it’s a rubbish question, but but but anyway, I will ask it. Do you think just culture is desirable for learning? What’s your view on that?


Carsten Busch  46:35

I think it just culture is is desirable. And happy because we want to be treated fairly. I think we should do so without us. And if we if we learn it’s probably a bonus. So that’s that’s 111 answer that I would like to offer. I don’t think we do need to connect the two. And we also probably should be reluctant to put the equation work or we must learn because maybe it’s not not the most important thing at a time. Am I allowed to take just a step back to what we talked about? Before you asked me the question, because I think it’s it’s a that was a really interesting thing. And some months ago, I read up a bit on risk communication under the work of Peter Sandmann, which is freely available online, which I think is brilliant stuff. And he has some some really, I think they’re they’re often very funny lectures on YouTube. So just if you have an hour, look him up Peter Sandman, and he talks about how we often tend to approach learning and communication in safety. Which is, which is the this this teacher model where we provide information, then we think, Well, now you know the truth. And you will change your attitude and you will change behaviour. And that’s it. And then you mentioned Netflix and advertisers is what’s really effective is what advertisers do because they they present you something and then they make you want that thing even though it’s probably unhealthy for you. But you want them because smoking is cool, or whatever. And then after you’re doing the thing that I want you to do you start to looking for reasons why you should be doing and then you look for reasons why why do you actually wear a seatbelt? Yeah, because it’s safer or whatever. I think the last two years have provided some really good examples here. Well, what why do we wear face masks? Because it’s safer, even though Well, the science is dubious, but and I think it’s really refreshing to to look at that way of different way at learning that it’s not necessarily the information that comes first but it’s maybe a second thing that we look for after we’ve changed behaviour. So and then, can we connect that to just culture mill, maybe, but I stand by my answer, I think just culture is just a good thing in itself, if applied properly and not as a fine term to punish people, now we’ve gone through due process and your sect anyway, that’s it. I know that there are organisations that do it that way.


Nippin Anand  50:25

Thank you, Kirsten, that was a very, very good summary. Rosen what’s what’s your view is just culture desirable for learning, just to conclude the session. You’re muted, you’re muted.


Rosa Carrillo  50:43

I agree with Carsten that it is desirable, but I don’t believe that the way it’s being used or understood is really what helps people learn. So it seems to me like just another programme or theme that the safety world has put together, again, separating itself from, from the whole, which, because learning capacity, determines your ability to adapt and survive. So any organisation that doesn’t want to support that in their people, regardless of whether it’s related to safety, or, or any other aspect, the salesperson takes risks, every you know, every moment going out here, first of all, driving driving is a huge risk. But then, you know, talking to strangers and selling that those are risks that we don’t usually think about. I mean, are you aware right now on this forum, that you’re taking a risk? Are you do you feel that within you? Or are you so comfortable now that you don’t realise that you’re taking a risk? Or maybe you don’t care what other people are going to think of you or say about your performance, but you’re still taking a huge risk being on this form. And most people won’t do that. They just will not say what’s on their mind, they won’t really reveal what they really think or who they are. So I think the it Yeah, it’s desirable, but unlike most of what we work on, it’s so superficial, that it’s it’s a programme. It’s a programme until you’re able to get down into where people really live in that camp. For me, that can only be done through the leaders that that are with that group of people. Yeah. Leadership.


Nippin Anand  52:59

I hear you, you. You seem to have a Yeah, it’s an interesting view that how much are the leaders can influence the culture, but I see where you’re coming from Rosa? That’s interesting viewpoint. Thank you. Yes, sir. Steve, what’s your view on this question is just considered desirable for learning?


Steven Shorrock  53:19

Well, justice is necessary for any group to survive. Otherwise, otherwise, there’s chaos, because without justice, create some kind of order that we kind of know what will happen if we do X, Y, or Zed? Yeah. If you watch a documentary of some a lioness and her cubs, and you see how the Cubs behave as they’re growing up, you know, that even at that level, they have it. So it’s there anyway. And it’s necessary for order. And that’s what seemed to be necessary for learning. Again, it’s it’s all in the implementation. What do we mean by it? Can we agree that people that things go wrong? Can we agree that that is not a simple cause of people making mistakes? Can we agree that people will always make mistakes, and there needs to be protections in place to protect the people also making the mistakes such as the train driver? Who’s the one at the front of the train, you know, the first one to hit another train, for instance? Can we agree that performance varies, and that’s necessary? Can we agree that things will go wrong? Can we agree therefore, that when things go wrong, the people who are at positions of making decisions under uncertainty and complexity are not necessarily blameworthy for their goodwill performance? Can we agree on some basic things like that? I think that’s the question. We don’t really need to use the word culture that’s just obfuscates everything So what are the agreements that we can make? Write them down? Don’t commodify it. That just ruins it as far as I’m concerned.


Nippin Anand  55:12

It’s very powerful when I interviewed small little kids, 10 years old kids in the school a couple of months ago, just to understand their view on what is learning. Most of the responses were, well, one of the responses stuck with me. And there were themes around it to increase my brain size, to get more information, to find a proper job. Not one student, came up with the idea of fallibility, not one student. So this, this idea of making mistakes, and learning from mistakes, I think it’s, it’s so rooted in, in our upbringing that you can’t, you just cannot make a mistake. So interesting perspective. Steve. Thank you. Tanya, would you like to summarise your thoughts on this question is just culture desirable for learning.


Tanya Hewitt  56:07

So maybe, maybe I’ll come up with another story. That kind of pulls I think some of this together, Carson had said that, you know, at the root of all of this, if somebody is harmed, like somebody’s to blame for this, like if somebody is harmed now what, and this, this is rooted in the just just world hypothesis that, you know, we might have to start questioning. I think his name is Anthony Ray Hinton. And I know him because he ran the death row Book Club, which, you know, is fascinating on its own, to being on death row and starting a book club. And he had chosen a book that an 18 year old white death row inmates had never read. And written by and I am not going to James Baldwin, I think, who, you know, a black author who, this this 18 year old who lynched people, black people, because because he was told to in his upbringing and things, was absolutely stunned in reading this book, because he had been told that black people are illiterate, that they’re useless that there are a scourge to society that Anthony Ray Hinton befriended this kid, because he realised this kid wasn’t raised with love. He was raised with hate. He was not actually a bad person. But he, he was just he adapted as we all said, We adapted to his environment, and he grew to hate, which ended him up on you know, and he was he was executed for his crimes, Anthony Wait, re hidden wasn’t, which is why we know this story because he was exonerated. And Anthony Ray Hinton says, that kid was in a world of hate. Where was Child Protective Services? In that environment? If we have structures in society to protect the vulnerable? What are they doing, not going to places that breed hate, and taking the kids out of that environment? I think this these last couple of years, where we’ve had a whole bunch of movements that have questioned the status quo, not a you had said Nippin, that sometimes the status quo is okay, and that’s fine, but sometimes it isn’t. And when it isn’t, I think we have to start questioning some of the the normal things that we have accepted in our society. And I just leave it with that, that just culture sometimes becomes a tick box exercise, which totally defeats the whole purpose. And learning is something that I think we need to engage in both at a personal level in self awareness, and starting to be far more curious about how we have seen the world and how we can see the world going forward, and to share that kind of insight to a broader sphere so that we can get to a better sense Seidel place overall.


Nippin Anand  1:00:05

Thank you, Tanya. That was very thought provoking. We are at the end of the session. Does anyone else have anything to add before we call it, call it off?


Rosa Carrillo  1:00:17

I would like to thank you for putting this group together. Every single person was brought new learning into my life. Thank you.


Nippin Anand  1:00:27

Thank you, and thank you to everyone who joined us. Yes. Sorry, Kirsten, you want to say something?


Carsten Busch  1:00:34

Oh, just one or two seconds what Rosa said. It’s eight o’clock.


Nippin Anand  1:00:40

Great. Thank you. And thank you, everyone for joining us. It’s, you know, a wonderful journey.


Rosa Carrillo  1:00:46

Good work.


Nippin Anand  1:00:47

It’s likewise all of you been doing fantastic work. So thank you. Thank you for joining everyone. And we hope to see you again for the fifth session soon. Goodbye. I will just stop the broadcasting. There it is. What did you think? I thought the tension between affection and fallibility was an excellent start from Carsten. I think this is one of the key problems at the heart of wanting to implement adjust culture. Rosa fills in the conversation with the issue of power in politics. How can we think of justice in just culture if we don’t consider power? Very, very interesting. Steve challenges us to think about justice and just culture within the context of a family and organisation and national level within the legislative framework. Because what is right or wrong, what is acceptable or unacceptable, will depend upon a myriad of factors. I remember once I showed a picture of a normal day at sea, to a group of middle aged white men in Aberdeen, and their eyes popped out of disbelief, they would never accept my view of what I thought was normal, and what is acceptable on an average day at sea. And yet, that was the shared culture in the maritime world. And then we asked, Are people not learning in God’s sort of culture? Interesting? Of course they do. Tania reminds us about the power of restorative just culture, it is quite easy to fix people like the fix equipment, but how does that help us to learn anything? Which brings us to exploring the idea of learning. I think one interesting thing I found from several comments is that there is an implied expectation that we must learn when something happens. And the pursuit of learning is already an expectation.


Nippin  1:02:51

That’s interesting, because the next question is, who needs to learn? Often that would mean people who make mistakes, people who err and not the ones who create the conditions. So in the absence of a just culture, learning is basically anti learning. Learning is training, learning is taming learning is demeaning people and telling them that they are less than humans, and they must try harder. So I think we need to really think hard about what we mean by learning and what sort of learning we want to create in our organisations, if the idea is to to link it with the just culture.


Nippin Anand  1:03:33

I’ll leave you with those thoughts. Now for the best part. If you really enjoyed listening to this podcast, and want to think, reflect, and dance with different perspectives, yes, dance with different perspectives, follow me on LinkedIn, on my company page Novellus solutions, or email me at nippin.anand@novellus.solutions, and I will add you to our mailing list. There is a great lineup of events planned in the next few months, so I wouldn’t want you to miss them at all. As usual to all your curious people. Thank you for wanting to know more than what you knew yesterday. It’s both very rare and refreshing to find true learners in this world. I wish you a pleasant day and night. Goodbye