N2 People Skills

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accidents happen because of idiots and stupidity coupled with no common sense?

 I have also been blogging on Dockwalk as the audience there seems to be a quite interactive.  I think it is  good to try to get some different perspectives on things, and as my previous blog (Operating with amateur crew?) attracted some attention, I wanted to post my reply to it here as well. There is a link HERE if you are interested in viewing some sure to be interesting comments on this as well.

So here it is:
On a previous blog  "Operating with amateur crew?"

Capt Kaj said:
"Accidents happen because of idiots and stupidity coupled with no common sense. You can´t teach these traits in a classroom sadly, the human nature factor kicks in again.."

OK so for arguments sake, lets look at 'Common Sense'  in a Thesaurus.  It is described with words as Judgment and perception. Now if you start to look at different ways of looking at things, (perception), and also the different lenses we use when making decisions (judgment) you may start to see that while it may not be possible to teach traits, it most certainly is possible to train and develop skills and knowledge to understand traits.

We all have our preferences, or traits, and these traits are both discoverable and learnable, they also have everything to do with Perception and Judgement .

Looking at problem solving as an example we will see some big differences in preferences:

 PROBLEM - A Charter Guest wants a PWC in the water now.The Mate is normally there to coordinate launch, but is ashore. (There is some poetic license being used I know, just go with it if you can)

Two different lenses: DECKHANDS (A) and (B)

(A) and (B)

(A) Has a preference of wanting to be thoroughly grounded in the facts analyzed in a logical framework. This person looks at day to day operations as their bedrock, is thorough, exacting,systematic,and careful with detail.

(B) Has a preference of wanting to consider values and the impact on people by identifying a future vision. This person looks to please people, is interpersonally focused, understanding, tolerant and a facilitator of good communications.

Depending on the problem, each of these people, not knowing their own preference style in depth, can look like they have no common sense to others, while the other may look like they are on top of things, and full of common sense.

How do they differ in dealing with this problem?

(A)- Knows that to get the PWC launched it takes three people to do this, and one of these people is always the Mate = (A) informs guest  that because Mate is ashore they will be awhile before the PWC is ready. = Result, unhappy guest.

(B)- Knows that the while the mate is normally there to do this launch, the Chief is aboard and will help out to launch the PWC if asked. = (B) Goes explains issue to Chief and PWC is launched with three crew, Chief instead of Mate. = Result, happy guest.

Why the difference, is it because (A) has no common sense  and bordering on stupid, while (B) is on top and has used his brain ?


Here is the same scenario, maybe different circumstances:

(A) Knows that there is a problem that when the mate is ready to be picked up, they will be short handed to watch the guest in the PWC, and so makes his decision. Guest is still not happy, but he is safe.

(B) Knows this too, but feels that it will be OK to pop ashore and let a Stew keep an eye out while he picks the mate up, (B) is concerned about Guest happiness over safety. Guest is Happy but not safe. Stew was too busy with her stuff and did not keep an eye out for guest.

Now who is looks like they have no common sense and bordering on stupid?

Again really neither. Both are just looking at the same problem through very different lenses with no real thought that there is another way (at least not as easy as their way) at looking at things.

Until (A) and (B) understand their own and other preferences, this scenario will continue to happen. When they understand their own preferences they can start to modify their behavior and understand the other side of the dichotomy, then they can use their strengths and understand their weaknesses. We all have them, and we can only be as strong as our weakest link. Understanding your own preferences is the first step to knowing your weakest link, then you can work on how to strengthen it.

There are 4 sets of dichotomies that can make up 16 different types, each have different strengths and weaknesses, each deals with stress differently and each deals with communication, leadership, assertiveness, Self awareness, situation awareness, adaptability, analysis-event and mission, flexibility and decision making differently. When you start to understand these differences in perception and judgment you can start to deal with life and work in much more efficient ways.

What is needed as the industry grows, is perhaps not only more experienced crew, but more importantly a better understanding and better development in the Human Factor, how it affects and effects communication, leadership, assertiveness, self awareness, situation awareness, adaptability, analysis-event and mission, flexibility and decision making (basically Crew resource management).

Thoughts ?