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The joys of learning

May 15, 2024

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This podcast is a discussion between Ron Gant and Nippin Anand about learning within the context of accident investigations. Ron and Nippin discuss the underlying beliefs, myths and the narratives of accident investigations and what it takes to learn from accidents. The podcast is based on Nippin’s recent book, ‘Are we learning from accidents?’.

 

Further details about the book can be found here:

https://novellus.solutions/product/are-we-learning-from-accidents-nippin-anand/

 

Further information

 

The joys of learning

SPEAKERS

Nippin Anand, Ron Gantt, Nippin

 

Nippin Anand  00:01

Welcome to another episode of embracing differences with me Nippin Anand, a podcast aimed at understanding and promoting transdisciplinary ways of living and thinking, meaning, assimilating different viewpoints, different subjects, different disciplines, but focused on a very simple question. How do we human beings learn? Unlearn, relearn, and make decisions? And how can we tackle risks in an uncertain world?

 

Nippin Anand  00:34

This podcast is about learning, unlearning, and the joys of learning and unlearning. And I have with me my good old friend Ron Gant. Ron and I have been on this journey for a while now. Ron is just finishing his PhD. And I just finished a book, we just call are we learning from accidents? The details of the book are available on my website, Nippin anand.com. But here it is a very lively conversation about what is the problem with the way we investigate accident investigations? How are we approaching accident investigations today? Where is our focus? How can we shift our focus? And how can we make them more learning oriented? I hope you enjoyed this discussion as much as Ron and I enjoyed creating it.

 

Nippin Anand  01:31

Yeah,

 

Nippin Anand  01:32

you want to introduce yourself before we start? Although I know, I don’t know about that. I know you’re the celebrity here.

 

Ron Gantt  01:44

I’m Ron Gant. I, so I’m the I’m a health and safety professional, whatever that means.

 

Ron Gantt  01:54

For in this industry for about 20 years, little over 20 years, and

 

Ron Gantt  02:01

I work for a company called yonder when you are a data centre lease provider. So

 

Ron Gantt  02:08

that’s, that’s me in a nutshell.

 

Ron Gantt  02:11

I don’t know. And I live in California, Los Angeles, with my lovely wife and two dogs.

 

Nippin Anand  02:19

So that’s me. It’s fascinating. Every time you ask an American person to introduce themselves, without missing the have to say that they are from United States without missing I’ve seen this theme repeat.

 

Nippin Anand  02:36

I don’t know.

 

Ron Gantt  02:37

It’s fascinating. Actually. America, USA, USA. country on Earth, just ask Yes. Or no. I would venture to guess it’s it’s safe to say on this podcast that No, I’m not. Most assuredly I am not. I’m happy to explain why. That might. That might be a different podcast

 

Nippin Anand  03:06

would be good. Because, yeah, nevermind, but but we were just discussing, deviating from it. But we were discussing the idea of what keeps you so passionate about writing a book or a PhD? You said something very powerful. And maybe it’s worth repeating that and then we’ll build on that as we go. What? Yeah, so just for background, you’re, you’re in the way, you know, you’re in between doing your PhD at the moment, or you’re already finishing, as you said, and I’ve just released a portfolio. So it’d be interesting to hear what what, why what was the what was the biggest realisation in this journey, Ron?

 

Ron Gantt  03:51

No, and for me, the biggest takeaway, the biggest, the part I think that’s going to have the biggest meaning is this is one of the few things in my life that I’ve really allowed myself to do just for me, and I’m going to accomplish just for me on my own terms, and, and again, on my own terms, and air quotes, because nothing is truly on. I don’t I don’t believe anything’s on any individual’s terms. We’re always connected to other people and other things but but this is this is encompassed so much of my life and it’s shaped so much of my life and been shaped by so much of my life. It’s, it’s, it’s been a constant through so many different seasons of my life. And to be at the end where I’m finishing it, for the main reason is because I want to finish it. It’s such a good feeling. You know, to me, it feels it’s something I can be proud of, you know, which I’m, I don’t I don’t have a lot of things like that, that I do just for that purpose.

 

Nippin Anand  05:01

Yeah, as I said to Iran, I mean, I approached the publisher, when I was starting my book. And the first question I asked was, who are your audiences? And I said, it’s myself. I am, I am the audience for the book. And I, I don’t really know. And I honestly don’t really care how many copies are sold, I think the important thing is to be satisfied with what you what you write, and it can’t be until you write it for yourself, until what you genuinely believe. And you are about to say some nice

 

Ron Gantt  05:35

things recorded? Well, I was going to ask you this question. Because as you’re writing the book, do you find that? You know, because the the part of it is, like you said that you had something you wanted to say. But as you wrote it, did you find that a what you wanted to say? And then maybe be ultimately part of you also changed and shifted and more as you went through the process?

 

Nippin Anand  06:05

So radically, radically Yes. Do you want to hear that?

 

Ron Gantt  06:11

I do. Actually, I would love to hear that story. I don’t know if you want to share it?

 

Nippin Anand  06:14

I absolutely. I mean, this is a great question you’ve asked because, you know, I when I look back, and thinking has evolved so much from there, it was the idea that, you know, you know, the book is about the cost of Concordia accident. But gradually, as I started to write it, it became less and less about Concordia, less and less about the captain of the ship, and more and more about my own transformation. And one of the things I realised Ron was that at the end of the day, it’s a point of view. And if people don’t get it, then it’s so difficult to understand what learning means. Because I’ll give you an example. I read, I was fascinated by the idea of a second story as I started off, so I thought that, here’s the first story. So quickly out in the in the press in the media, quick fixes human error, you name it. And then you have a second story, which probably takes a lot of time to create, which is less about the person and more about the context. It’s less about solutions, and more about understanding the problems and so on. But what I realised in those in those few years, and particularly after doing so many workshops, one after another, was that, at the end of it, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a first story or a second story, it’s still very much a quest for certainty, and control. You know, it’s fascinating when people hear that, okay, so what was your learning from this accident? Okay, this thing failed, accountability, failed procedures did not work. The lifeboat did not lower as intended. The captain ran away from the ship. great questions, great points, you know, we are shifting the blame from one entity to another. But the point is, what is your learning? What did you take away from that, from that moment from the the captain left the ship? So what what does that mean to you? The lifeboat did not launch. What does that mean to you? Nobody spoke to the captain. Because the ship was even when the ship was running, you know, into the rocks. So what does that mean to you, and just listening to that side of the things, and just trying to ingest and see that people will have different views on this. And it’s okay to have your own view. And you don’t have to agree with mine. It’s so difficult. It’s so difficult. Because the moment you have a view on something, you’re so frustrated, why another person doesn’t see what I see. And they missed the point that, you know, we are all different. We live our own belief systems and our own bets and our own subjectivity. So why should I get so frustrated when you don’t see the world like I do. That has been a big part of my journey. And this is why I am so convinced that organisations don’t learn people learn and people move. It’s never the organization’s So yeah, that’s my that’s been so that’s been my transformation.

 

Ron Gantt  09:23

That’s, that’s beautiful. It really strikes up a lot of stuff in me. Because the way I see it is if you have this, I’m going to use the word fact, although I don’t really know that that’s the right word for this, this piece of information about what the captain did or something that shifted. But that piece of information doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it connects to the individual who’s hearing it and that connects to everything that brought that individual to that situation. Right which is a very unique unique story in unto itself. And so that that interaction between the individual and their story, and everything they bring to the table is going to create this sort of unique branching. You know, like, that’s kind of the analogy, the picture I have in my head is this sort of this, these branches that are spreading out and these really interesting, nonlinear ways. You know, and I think that, and that, to me, is is, is not just interesting, I think it’s important, because we fundamentally, I think, when you’re understanding an accident, the question is, what do you what do you want to do? Like, what are we going to do next? You know, like, how did you like you said, What does that mean to you? How are you going to take this and move forward in your life? You know, with that information? Like, is it going to change you? And that’s a really interesting human question.

 

Nippin Anand  10:57

Absolutely, you know, something very powerful comes to mind, actually, I was doing a workshop in Singapore. And that was about five years ago, or four years ago, something like that. And I finished the whole workshop. And as I was leaving, and I presented a very rich context of the accident, the Costa Concordia accident. And in the end, a ship manager came to me and asked me said, I have a question for you. And I said, he must be easy. He looked very disturbed and serious, actually. And I said, this must be a very difficult question. And he said, let me ask you a question. I said, what he said, was an alcohol test done on the captain shortly after the accident.

 

Ron Gantt  11:48

Okay, interesting,

 

Nippin Anand  11:50

isn’t it, isn’t it? Because that’s where his meaning came from? It doesn’t matter, you have a rich context, you explain everything away. But that’s where he found meaning in it. And that’s fascinating, because if you don’t answer that question, the rest of it means nothing at all. Because if I miss that out, that means I’ve not done a thorough investigation. That that bit I

 

Ron Gantt  12:16

find so interesting. Yeah, and to me that there’s a couple things that that really resonate, that pop up and resonate as a result of that like, like, because the first thing I wonder is, is, is, does that speak to some sort of concern or unmet need that he has relative to his life, his situation, his ship, even, you know, or his organisation where he’s seen that, and that’s a concern that he has in that, you know, and so really, he’s not responding to the accident, he’s the accidents connecting with that unmet need, maybe, you know, again, we’re speculating, but you know, and I think, again, that, to me is important, because that, you know, a phrase that pops up, I think comes from, from Sidney Decker, where he said, The, you know, to understand human error, you need to understand your reaction to human error. And I think this is part of it, you need to understand, like, you can use this as a way to understand yourself, understand, you know, your experiences, which I think is a really radical way to think about accident investigation, if you think about it, because we know, it’s about understanding the accident. But no, it’s another way another lens to see yourself and your own life and how you’re going to make sense of the world. You know, and it’s easy to dismiss that as a very myopic view of, you know, hey, well, he should have been alcohol tested. But again, that’s, that’s that individual’s experience in that moment. And yes, he’s, you know, if we don’t meet that need to your point, he’s not going to be able to move forward. Oh,

 

Nippin Anand  14:05

yes. You’ve lost your credibility as an investigator. If you don’t answer that question. It’s gone completely from that moment.

 

Ron Gantt  14:13

Yeah, yeah. Which I guess speaks to,

 

Nippin Anand  14:19

sorry, let’s just build on this idea what you said that it’s not so much the reality out there. But your reaction to that reality. And I think that’s such a great place to, to maybe build this up a little bit more. Because typically, your reaction as you’re met, it’s your belief. It’s your instinct. It’s your intuition. And I think people don’t quite realise that. You know, there is. There is a little bit of a break and a little bit of a Christian and a little bit of a Hindu in all of us, because there’s many ways in which people can react And one way of reacting is seeing the world as a place where, well, seeing life, the purpose of life as following the Word of God, which is a very Christian myth, you know, that must obey the Word of the God. So all life is about rule following rule compliance. Hopkins talks about mindful compliance. But that’s a very Christian myth, which is the idea of following the rules. And if you didn’t follow the rules, because the world is a perfect place, and the children of the god don’t follow the rule, then your salvation is not guaranteed. So what’s your typical reaction? Did they follow the rule? Or did he actually follow the rule, under safety management system about zero alcohol, whatever you want to call it? That’s the question method at work here. Then you have another myth, which is that life is all about. It’s not about compliance. It’s about it’s about defiance. So you defy authority. We, you, you, you because you want to be the hero, you want to save the world. You want to save the world from being oppressed by the oppressor. And that’s a very great method, the Roman myth, that the purpose of life is to set ourselves free from the oppressor. That’s the myth of defiance. And then you have another myth, which is no, no, it’s got nothing to do with compliance or defiance. The purpose of life is self realisation, which is I want to know more about myself in the way I ask questions. And I think this is where you cannot escape from your stories, the stories that you create, are all about are telling us telling me and us something about you. So the moment you ask a story about whether alcohol test was done or not, tells me how deeply connected or disturbed you are because of alcoholism, as a behaviour. So this this, this, you know, from those reactions, you can build so much if you understand which method do you belong to. And the trouble is that the world is not so neatly categorised into the Greek, the Roman, the Hindu and the Christian anymore. There’s a little bit of each of that in all of us. And it comes out in our instincts in our in our intuitions, actually. And I find that very fascinating to understand how, how to help people learn and unlearn. If you don’t know that you’re stuck in that Greek myth, or that Roman myth or the Hindu myth forever. You never have to realise you, you stay there forever. You never learn anything. I find it fascinating actually.

 

Ron Gantt  17:39

Yeah, yeah. That’s really interesting. And what would pops in my head, as you’re saying that as it’s this lovely visual from Kenneth Gergen, and an invitation to social construction, where he’s talking about how we have different selves, you know, that are very socially constructed. But in in the moment, you know, each of those is there, but they may or may not be, you know, activated, depending on the situation that you’re in, right. So you, you’re kind of maybe using kind of your analogy, or the what you’re talking about relative to myths, these different sort of myths that have, that are connecting to different parts of our life, different aspects of our life, you know, from our childhood, to our education to our friend groups, and, you know, things of that nature. But the picture is this kind of lovely, it’s almost like, half of a butterfly, where you have the individual and you have these different sort of, like, like, you almost think of fingers extending out that, you know, these, like, the myths, if you will, that extend out backwards in time and space to these parts of your life. And each of them, you know, is meaningful, but each of them is also limited at the same time in, you know, how they can help you in that moment, make sense and move forward. Right? Because I think that’s, that is the key thing, you know, like, how do we move forward? Like, a lot of times people talk about accident investigation, like it’s a it’s a truth finding thing, but a, I don’t know that that’s really possible in a meaningful sense. But be I don’t know that that’s really it. Because if I just figure out what happened, who cares? If it doesn’t help me know how to move forward in my life in a meaningful way, then why does that matter? It’s, it’s, it’s akin to watching the History Channel on TV. You know, it’s like, it’s interesting, but like, who cares? You know? You know, and I, so I like that.

 

Nippin Anand  19:51

You know, it’s, it’s very fascinating. You say that because if you go on my website, my own website lebanon.com Um, the first thing you will see is four monkeys. So one monkey is complaining, another one is laughing. The third one is sympathising, and the fourth one is trying to solve a mystery. And, you know, Ron, this was a consistent pattern that I saw during workshops after workshop. So you provide the context of the accident. And the first reaction is just to laugh at that man. And the amount of time he was ridiculed, I have not seen anything like this in any accident. So the first reaction is to either laugh, or sympathise, I saw that also quite a lot. The third one is to curse, which is to blame. And the fourth one is to provide a solution. Here’s the solution. And this should have worked in this instance. So what I saw us quote from Spinoza, as I was doing my PhD, writing the book, and it said something like this, not to laymen, not to laugh, not, not to curse, but to understand. And to me, that was that was the moment to say, yes, the man knew it. You nearly four centuries ago, it was all there. And just connecting it with how people were reacting, as you said, to that accident was fascinating that that image captures it also, so powerful. And this urge, as you will rightly said, to fix every problem, you know, my role in this organisation is to solve the problem before I leave my desk. It’s just ruining people’s lives. And relationships. Yeah.

 

Ron Gantt  21:45

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I And to me, it’s, it’s, it’s not only dehumanising, it’s misguided as well. And it’s, it’s a a underestimation of people, and their ability to make sense of a situation on their own and move forward. Like, I have to find the answer so that I can prevent this thing from happening again, like a number one, that the system hasn’t already changed since you started looking right, like so the environment, the situation that you are trying to, quote, fix is not the same as when you started. So who’s to say that your fix is even the right thing? Now, for this current situation? It might have been good, if you could go back in time, but you can’t. So what are you gonna do now? But be? You know, like, Why do I have to be the one that comes in there and fixes it? Why Why am I in that privileged position? of knowing the answer? That seems a little bit unfair to both the investigator and to everyone else? Who’s also trying to make sense and move forward?

 

Nippin Anand  23:03

Yes. Yeah, no, you’re absolutely you want to say something?

 

Ron Gantt  23:11

No, no? No, it’s just I guess the question comes to me then like, you know, and maybe this is in your books, I don’t want to give away too much here. How do we move forward from this? You know, like, how do we help people see the possibilities? Because that’s, to me, I think one of the key messages from this as there’s, what other possibilities are there to help us move forward? How do we help people do that, in your estimation,

 

Nippin Anand  23:41

such such a good point, Ron, because you see, as I said to you, you see the first story, which is all about the victim, the accident victim. And now we have a contemporary view, which is which we call the second story, which is all about the context. And the context, more or less rests with people in positions of power. So what we have changed in this in this contemporary view is that we have shifted the heroes. I was having this conversation with Steve sharp, actually wonderful observation he made that, you know, all we have done is we have shifted the hero from the front, from from from the top to the frontline, is the same Greek method play. So it’s no longer people are a problem. People are a solution. Here you go. You have a great method. Right? So it’s, it’s fascinating how we have reshuffled the blame, how we have reallocated the blame, attribution, whatever you want to call it, I find the word attribution more powerful actually, that the focus has shifted from, from the frontline to higher up in the organisation. And I think in my view, that doesn’t change anything. Very little actually, if it and if anything, one could argue that you know, by putting people in position of power, you will make them a little bit uncomfortable and you put them under spotlight but But eventually it all comes back. We all know that. My point is that unless people who are directly involved in doing accident investigations start to realise, and that applies to leaders as well, they start to realise how much of what they do is so unconscious, so unaware to them, that if you want to put a number to it that 98% of the life is lived in, in the unconscious zone, that I’m totally unaware of, as I’m moving my hands, and I’m explaining things to you, I’m not even aware that this is happening at a bodily level. So unless I become aware of my meds, of my rituals of my symbols of my habits of my gestures, and I start to realise some of it, nothing really changes, actually, nothing changes. And I think that is the key to it, that unless we realise that we are all caught up in a particular way of thinking about the world, nothing moves, nothing changes. So to me, there has to be the starting point has to be as you rightly pointed out, you know, that, that scholarly journey that you undertook, that, you know, it’s you want to write something but the end of it, you write something else. And to me, that realisation has to come at the organisation at the leadership level, to say, each day is a day to learn. Each day, I have to learn something not about the outside world, about myself. So here’s the question, Ron, that I used to say, What have you learned? About two or three years ago, say? What have you learned after conducting this investigation? And that’s, that’s a nice question to think about. What I now like to say is that what have you learned about yourself after conducting this investigation? Or being on this site? Was it or doing this audit and start realising some of that your your metaphors, your language, your your, the way you react? And you said, start to journal all that and start to see some something powerful in there that Where are you really stuck in your life? Because it’s remember any question that you ask, but it’s about alcohol or drugs or whatever, it reflects your worldview. That doesn’t change and nothing changes.

 

Ron Gantt  27:27

I like that. It’s a powerful, it’s a powerful question, right? Like, and you know, what, what pops in my head is the analogy of like a buoy. You know, where you have the buoy above the water. Right? And, you know, that it moves back and forth with the waves, but it’s never really going to move anywhere meaningfully, unless the anchor below it is shifted. And I think, but I think, to me, that speaks to, you know, we have to be able to, to unlock those, you know, those hidden sort of dependencies constraints, those hidden influences in in ourselves, if we’re ever going to make any kind of change, right, like just asking people to try harder care more, you know, saying, hey, leaders, like you said earlier, like, shifting the blame to frontline leaders is so misguided or to, you know, executive leaders so misguided, like, like somehow that they are going to evil school, when they become a leader. It’s just it’s not helpful, you know, you know, understanding what things around them are creating, you know, dilemmas, bottlenecks, pressures, you know, issues like you said, those in how in how that accident can help them reflect on that and make a change. That, to me is more powerful. Like, again, like what we’re talking about, spreads the goal of accident investigation in a really interesting and powerful way. It’s no longer just I want to prevent recurrence. It’s I want to enable learning. And I know I don’t know what the right word is, you know, learning and sort of sense making and forward momentum on an individual level. For people in the organisation, you know,

 

Nippin Anand  29:53

just that I want to learn about myself. How biassed I am exactly. You

 

Ron Gantt  30:02

Well, and so that we can, you know, and not in this in the sense of like, because I think bias sometimes people can think, oh, you know, that’s negative, I’m so biassed, and I’m an idiot, and I don’t, I don’t, or that, you know, people who are biassed are idiots. I don’t I know, that’s not what you mean. But, you know, to me, it’s, it’s, yeah, I have, I have a perspective. And that perspective is shaped by where I came from, and my experiences and my social situation and the environment I’m in even in some in many cases. But that’s not the only perspective. There are other possible perspectives. And I get to decide, in some sense, which, if this perspective isn’t serving me isn’t helping me in this moment. Maybe I can shift my perspective, you know, or get another perspective from another person who can help help me fill in the gaps and see something else that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

 

Nippin Anand  31:06

Yes, you know, Carl Jung puts it very, very succinctly and very beautifully, actually. He says that, if you do not make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. It’s so wonderful.

 

Ron Gantt  31:24

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I love that. Well, I think there’s even this flies in the face of the sort of traditional way that people think about human experience as like, I am in control. I am. I have the ability to master my circumstances. And then the problem is, there’s some truth in that, like, I have agency I have things I can do. But I also have, like you said, this huge portion, that’s like, driving me that’s this inertia, that comes from areas that are I could access, I could understand if I took time to reflect on them, but I don’t often we, we typically just act we typically just do and expect that. What happens as a result of who I am. And, and the unfortunate reality is that number one, that means that a lot of people are suffering, thinking that they are stupid, or bad, or, you know, made to feel like, you know, like the Kathlyn, for example, because they were, you know, just like, the lucky you’re lucky, like young sent the fake part of it, you know, things didn’t turn out the way they liked. And then on the other side, like, I think you also have people who believe that they are better than maybe they are, you know, they that they’re more in control. And when things work out, they feel like it’s because of who I am. And not because of the contingent nature of the world around me. And so they end up causing a lot more harm. Not because they want to, you know, they’re not trying, but it’s because they’re not reflecting they’re not recognising how contingent everything is. It’s, and that’s unfortunate, I think.

 

Nippin Anand  33:32

Yeah, I mean, we look at the, the Hollywood myth, the superhero myth, which is, if you watch the movie, Sally, it’s exactly that is giving that attribution to one person actually dedicate a chapter to that run, which is called the the hero and the antihero myth, which is very much in our safety management systems. Every near must report when somebody finds something. And we say, Oh, excellent, well done. That’s the typical reaction. And then when somebody does something wrong, you should have followed the rule. It’s the same hero and the antihero myth is just blowing the protagonist of the of the report out of proportion. And the question is, what have I learned? Okay, you know, somebody’s excellent because they stop the leak or detected a problem but so what so what what have I learned nothing. We just hail the hero and we go back to work again. And yeah, so it’s interesting that we never pay attention to those those underlying myths. And this is why calling it a myth is so important, Ron, because if you call it science, people are seduced that okay, you know, found that event and you’ve learned from the event and you can close it and you can move on. So that’s the quest for certainty, but the moment you call it a myth because it’s symmetrical nature of reality, you know, there is more to it. And that feeling that you have left that in analysis or report with the feeling that there is more to it keeps you humble and curious that the truth that you found is still incomplete is such a good place to be in as a learning organisation that we come back to in six months time, it might have a different meaning, we go to another department and ask them, it’s a different meaning. We go to the senior management and we ask them the question, it has a different meaning. So or a client, it has a different meaning. So why not live with the idea that whatever my truth is, is still mythical in nature. And I find that very powerful when it comes to the evolving nature of learning.

 

Ron Gantt  35:49

Yeah, that’s, that makes sense. You know, and I think the way I’m sort of making sense of that is this idea that accident investigation is a is a truth, telling truth finding, sort of exercise, or project is, I think, extraordinarily harmful. Like, you know, that, again, you’re you’re talking about root cause and all that. However, you know, one of the challenges we have, though is that, in order to move forward, you know, this is partly an individual experience, it also has to be a group experience, because, you know, as an organisation, we are all collectively trying to achieve some sort of goal or a set of goals. So there has to be some way to synchronise, you know, our collective or individual sensemaking into some sort of collective sensemaking. How do you, how do you make sense of that, you know, like, how do you how do we turn this individual reflection into sort of a synchronised ish, harmonised maybe is a better word, collective? Sort of, so we can move forward together? You know, you know, what do you how do you think of that?

 

Nippin Anand  37:19

Yeah, such a great question, as one would expect from you. The idea is that, the moment I become comfortable with the idea that you’ll see things differently from me, I know, it sounds very counterintuitive. But you see, both of us see outside a window, and we see reality differently shaped by our experiences, but also shaped by motivations. And if you have a bonus attached to it, you will see differently than I do. So the idea that we both look out the window and see things differently, actually brings people together. Because suddenly, you start to become curious about what is it that you’re seeing that I’m not seeing? Let’s find out. And I think when you we do visual mapping on a whiteboard, and one of the things we find interesting is that the moment people start to realise that my reality is different from yours, my method is different from yours. People actually start to ask questions. And, you know, it’s so fascinating, because as you dig deeper inside, there are very few differences. Very few, very, very few actually. And coming to some sort of consensus by exploring our differences is a lot a lot more powerful than starting off with rejecting another person’s point of view. It’s a different glue with a different synergy.

 

Ron Gantt  38:53

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I like that. You know, and so it speaks to a part of an accident investigation, that is collective. Right. So there’s, there’s almost like these, these different transition points I could envision, where you would have a, you know, a space for Okay, here’s what we’re finding, how does that connect with you individually, and people sort of have this reflective, you know, experience on an individual level, but then there’s a collective sharing. And then, you know, at some point, okay, what do you think, would it you know, that’s interesting, what is your thing? Okay, and then we move forward from there. Because very different than I don’t see that in root cause analysis. No, because

 

Nippin Anand  39:45

it’s see the thing is that what we are fighting today is that my throat is better than yours. And we are trying to synthesise it somehow. And what that usually results in is in dominance and power So it’s when my truth combines with your truth, one has to be discarded. And that’s the way we’d usually do it. But if you look at it another way that my truth and your truth will only make a truth, not the truth, which will be a wider perspective on the truth, but never the complete truth. Because that complete truth is always inaccessible, never accessible to anyone, the Absolute Truth is never accessible to anyone. Otherwise, we will stop learning that same day. So why not become comfortable with the idea that Ron, you have one story, I have one story together, we have a bigger story. And I think that’s what makes us learn more from each other. And I think this move away from learning from objects, from equipment from systems, how to get better at processes, is less effective than learning more about you as a person I want to learn about you run, I want to learn about how your journey during a PhD or background has influenced you the way you are telling this narrative. Let’s just explore that, as opposed to mind. At the moment, we become curious about that, I think that creates a glue in the organisation because at the end of the day, an organisation is more about people than anything else, if people get this feeling that they can work together. Nothing is more powerful than that.

 

Ron Gantt  41:24

Yeah, well, I think, yeah, because that that sort of collective ability to create common ground amongst individuals creates a sense of synchronisation, it allows for, you know, for us to to act based upon, okay, I’m going to do this because I know, if it’s gonna do that, I mean, even just in this conversation, the way we are interacting, there’s a lot that’s going unsaid about timing, you know, and back and forth, and things like that. And that’s because of a collective sort of common ground that, that humans just typically have in conversation, you know, and then it part of it is our societies, Western world and things like that, but it’s also just as us is, you know, colleagues and whatnot. But like, I see, you know, the more we can facilitate that, the more transparent we can make, like, as you describe them, these myths, you know, are these, the, these constraints, these, these beliefs, these, you know, different perspectives, like, I mean, at a very practical level, like, you know, having people be able to see what the consequences of their beliefs and choices are, is going to help them on average, make better decisions, right. So like, if I know that when I do this, it’s going to land with like, back to your mariner with the alcohol. And when I put this forward, he’s going to ask the question about the alcohol probably influences the kinds of questions you’re going to ask in your accident litigation, so that you can help satisfy his belief system, as well. Right. So you are bringing him along in that journey as a result, because of that shared, sort of collective sense making? And I think that’s really powerful.

 

Nippin Anand  43:21

I think so to me, is yes, there is no escape from beliefs, no matter what, how hard we try, because at the end of the day, we all believe in something, isn’t it? Some people believe in science. Some people believe in money, that’s their God. And some people believe in another kind of God, the Christ or the hero or the Shiva or Yeah, we all believe in something, or someone. And this making that conscious to our own selves, is, I think, a very powerful way to learn something new. That we didn’t know, before we started the process of investigating or auditing or interviewing somebody for that matter.

 

Ron Gantt  44:08

Yeah, that’s interesting. That’s lovely. Yeah. I think so that just to me, again, this, this speaks to a very different approach that a lot of people are not trained, they’re not brought up to, to do this, right. And so, then the question becomes, how do we support them to be able to do this, both in terms of you know, the obvious is training but but also giving them space? Right, because this this requires time, space, you know, interactions that are not well supported right now and the organisation.

 

Nippin Anand  44:48

So, the final chapter of the book, run actually talks about a methodology and a method to learn to To say, what a learning oriented accident investigation should look like in practice. And the underlying the underlying framework or the underlying belief is that humans are fallible people will always make mistakes. So, the mistakes, it only looks like mistakes from the outside. But the important thing is that today we have methods and methodologies that either go against the idea of managing error or discard that there is such a thing like error, but we we are not there yet to accept human fallibility as a condition or fallibility as a condition that whole of existence is fallible is I don’t like the word imperfect, because the moment you say imperfect means that there is something perfect in the frame of your mind. But when we say fallible, what we really mean is that that because we have a body and this the body mind separation, or this this whole person, we are bound to fall, we will we through temptations, through Weiss’s through habits through the unconscious, you know, that dictates most of our lives. And at one point, we will fall. And once an accident happens, which means somebody was fallible, how do you engage with this person. And until we get this, right, until we get this right, that you have to embrace, and you have to embrace vulnerability as a starting point as a default. There is nothing you can learn from an accident, because there’s there is one thing that is common that unites all of us as human beings is that we are fallible, if we start from there. And then there is a framework, there are methods, there are tools to do that. But the important thing is, how do we create that? Where do we start from the starting point is that, you know, Brene, Brown calls it so beautifully the gift of imperfection. And this is vulnerability. And we I think yes, that’s that’s the underlying methodology and a method to, to embrace, to speak with people in a way that they will engage with you, they will connect with you. And once they connect with you, and they tell you stuff, I think then you can do something about it, the moment the way even the way in which we approach people and the way we ask questions that terrifies them, absolutely terrifies them. So how can we ask questions that the people will actually so I say this way, ask and listen so that the other person will listen and ask. And I think there’s huge synergy in the know, it’s fascinating that this man, the captain of the Costa, Concordia, speaks for 12 hours without being asked too many questions, maybe three or four at the moment at the most. And the questions were telling me about yourself, tell me about your day, tell me about walk me through the steps in this accidents. And that’s it. The thing is that you made a connection, and you’re not trying to control him, you accept that he’s a fallible person, and he will make mistakes. And that creates a level of engagement that we don’t normally see in accident investigations.

 

Ron Gantt  48:23

Yeah. With the knowledge, and that’s it. Yeah. To me, would, would you pops in your head as I often will? Well, this happened a lot more when I was a consultant than these days, but, you know, when I, you know, when I would go and I’d say, Hey, okay, let’s, let’s go talk to these workers, like you have a problem, maybe we should go ask them, the people who are living with the problem and try to understand their perspective. You’d often end up didn’t get a response, okay. But you know, might be hard to get them to talk. And I’ve never had that experience. Where, you know, and I don’t think it’s just me, like, you know, I don’t think it’s just like Ron’s really good at asking questions. I think it’s a function of like you said, you know, when I go in there, I go in there genuinely curious, I start with very basic, you know, tell me, tell me what you do, like would walk me through this work process, but if we do, are you doing today, you know, like, and coming from a place of understanding that these people are dealing with real world challenges every day. I mean, all work is is messy, right, all work is difficult. All work implies problems that have to be solved every day. And, and so that, that overcoming of that is is like, to me, the ability to overcome that is, it’s beautiful, in some sense, honestly, is the word I would use, which is probably not a word a lot of people would use, but like, it’s, it’s so human, it’s so fundamental to who we are like, you know. And so being able to uncover that and have people share that with me, is a really cool, unique experience. And so I find when you come with that mindset of like, I know that you are struggling every day, probably in ways that you don’t even understand. Tell me about it. You know, people typically open up very quickly. And they’re very, very honest. And it’s, it’s humbling. But it’s really, like you said, like, there are ways you can do this, it’s doable. It just has to start with, I think, a sense of, you know, these people have a an experience that they are dealing with, that I have no knowledge of, right, if you come in, like, I’m just going to check a box, or I’m going to confirm an existing belief, and you’re gonna, I think hit a wall. Unfortunately.

 

Nippin Anand  51:24

So true, yes. And that we are all fallible, we will all fall one day. You know, Gary Klein left me with a very beautiful thing to think about. I did a podcast with him some time ago, he said that Nippin Do you know about mountaineering? And these are very skilled people. People who climb mountains, mountaineering, you know. And he said that these people are very skilled and open. But then what do you do when somebody who climbs mountains, and he’s an expert in climbing mountain gets old one day? No way? Where do you take all that expertise with you? And I think that applies to every human being, that as much as you know, in your, in your mind, you are technically very, very good at what you do. You’re, you know, it’s an embodied mind, the mind is in the body, and the body does not cooperate with the brain or with the mind, then what are you going to do with that expertise? So you’re going to hear you are fallible, because all of existence is fallible? Nothing is perfect. How are you going to work that high skill work, if your body doesn’t cooperate with my point, very interest that even at a very existential level, at a very basic level, we are imperfect. So understanding that brings a lot of humility, and acceptance about another person, that if you see things differently, that’s because of your uniqueness. satisfiability. So uniqueness, actually. So appreciating that I think, brings a lot of humility and bring a lot of learning a lot of synergy between people. And at the end of the day, that’s that’s good learning. Right.

 

Ron Gantt  53:17

And I think, you know, fundamentally, you’ve been saying throughout and what you just said is like, it starts with you. Right? It has to, it has to begin in you with, you know, a lot of times I think these conversations about people and their imperfections and things. People, in my experience, tend to interpret that as they nod their heads. Yes, absolutely. And they’re thinking about all the imperfections and all the other people they know. You know, but like, no, start with yourself, what are yours? Where are you? What are your beliefs? Where, where are your? What, what about you is colouring your perspective, in one way versus another? And, you know, and I think once you do that, then it frees you a little bit, you know, which is interesting and in somewhat surprising, I think, but it is a freeing thing to do. In my experience.

 

Nippin Anand  54:16

It’s liberating is your right, absolutely. It’s very liberating. It sets you free is couldn’t be a better word. Yes. Great. What a beautiful way to end this discussion. Is there anything you want to say in closing?

 

Ron Gantt  54:33

Now, I appreciate you and having this conversation with you. So thank you very much.

 

Nippin Anand  54:40

Same, same. Likewise, it’s wonderful to talk to you. And it’s nice to see how we were asking questions from each other throughout. In fact, you asked more questions than me, which is very, very nice, you know, happens very rarely, by the way, so. So that was refreshing. Thank you.

 

Ron Gantt  55:02

Thank you. Hi. Thank you for answering them.

 

Nippin  55:06

Yes. Oh, if we leave each other thinking little bit, I think that’s a good thing. I’ll just stop the conversation. Yes, absolutely. If you enjoyed listening to this podcast, many more podcasts are available on our website novellus dot solutions forward stroke knowledge space. The podcast embracing differences is available on Spotify, pod bean, Apple podcasts and anchor. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel team develops. That way. Every time we publish a new podcast, you will get to know you want to find out more about our work, visit us at novellus.solutions or simply write to us at support@novellus.solutions. Thank you for wanting to learn more than you knew yesterday. And until we meet again, Goodbye and have fun