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Faculty disclosure

Faculty Disclosure:

As a sponsor accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians (ABQAURP) must insure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all its individually sponsored or jointly sponsored educational activities. All faculty participating in a sponsored activity are expected to disclose to the audience any significant financial interest or other relationship with the manufacturer(s) of any commercial product(s) and/or provider(s) of commercial services discussed in an educational presentation. (Significant financial interest or other relationship can include such things as grants or research support, employee, consultant, major stockholder, member of speaker’s bureau, etc.)

Tom Garcia has indicated he is President and Senior Consultant of Culture Dynamics, Inc.

Tom garcia
Tom Garcia

  • Navy Fighter Pilot -22 yrs

  • Commercial Airline Pilot -14 yrs

  • Naval Safety Center Consultant & Analyst

Faculty disclosure






High reliability organization hro
High Reliability Organization (HRO)

Organizations which perform complex tasks in demanding environments with very low rates of error.

Every study done of HRO’s has concluded that culture is the key element.


The learned and shared assumptions, beliefs, values, and behavior of an organization.

Keys to understanding culture
Keys to Understanding Culture

  • Stable – The deepest, most driving forces of your culture are the most stable. If you want to manage them, you must understand them.

  • Hidden – Based on assumptions.

Faculty disclosure

776 aircraft

destroyed in



28 aircraft

destroyed in
















Naval Aviation Mishap Trend




Angled decks



Aviation Safety Center

Naval Aviation Maintenance

Program (NAMP), 1959

RAG concept initiated

NATOPS Program, 1961

Squadron Safety program

System Safety

Designated Aircraft


Culture Workshop


Patient safety
Patient Safety?

  • HRO Lessons Learned

    Learn from HRO’s instead of the hard way and become an HRO quicker.

Patient safety and developing a culture of safety
Patient Safety and Developing a Culture of Safety

  • HRO key to success is Culture

  • HRO’s have great safety records

    Healthcare  HRO = Culture of Safety

Healthcare transition to high reliability
Healthcare Transition to High Reliability

  • Develop the cultural traits of a HRO.

    • How?

  • Maintain HRO status.

    • How?

Naval aviation 1996
Naval Aviation 1996

  • 4 Serious and costly mishaps

  • All preventable

  • Underlying problems were dysfunctional cultures

Naval aviation
Naval Aviation

  • Already has the cultural traits of a HRO.

  • In order to maintain HRO status.

    • Prevent dysfunctional cultures from developing.

    • Eliminate dysfunctional cultures that do develop.

Dysfunctional cultures
Dysfunctional Cultures

  • Kotter and Heskett, Harvard Business School professors, spent 4 years studying over 200 large U.S. companies.

    dysfunctional cultures “…are not rare; they develop easily, even in firms full of reasonable and intelligent people.”

Dysfunctional cultures1
Dysfunctional Cultures

  • NASA - Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report

    “Cultural traits and organizational practices detrimental to safety were allowed to develop.”

Dysfunctional cultures2
Dysfunctional Cultures

  • No one is immune.

  • The best safety program in the world can be undermined by a dysfunctional culture.

    Great safety programs do not guarantee a culture of safety!

Naval aviation 19961
Naval Aviation 1996

  • Implements culture assessment program

  • Two parts:

    • Climate survey

    • Culture assessment

Faculty disclosure

  • March 2002 – March 2004

  • 93% of Class A (serious)

  • Mishaps occurred in

  • squadrons not

  • participating in the Safety

  • Culture Assessment

  • Program.

  • The program is now

  • mandatory.

  • Source: Naval Safety Center

  • Approach magazine

  • Mar-Apr 2004

Naval aviation1
Naval Aviation

$1.1 billion saved over

5 years by assessing and improving culture

LtCol(Ret) Rick ‘Spike’ Boyer, former Director of Aviation Safety, U. S. Naval Safety Center

Naval aviation2
Naval Aviation

  • A HRO found that by managing culture

    • Reduced error even further

    • More lives saved

    • More money saved

    • Improved operational efficiency, not just safety

    • Eliminated unnecessary training!

Unnecessary training
Unnecessary Training

Because culture assessments find the true underlying problems, they highlight the effectiveness of current programs and the potential of new programs.

  • Some existing programs had no real benefit.

  • New programs that initially looked good, now no longer did.

Naval aviation lessons learned
Naval Aviation Lessons Learned

  • 50 years of trial and error. Some programs worked, many didn’t. But now with culture assessments they find the underlying problems and safety program trial and error is a thing of the past.

  • Great safety programs don’t guarantee a culture of safety. Culture must actively be managed.

Naval aviation lessons learned1
Naval Aviation Lessons Learned

  • Technology improvements must be accompanied by cultural improvements to maximize the benefits.

  • It is easier to manage culture to improve it than to fight it to change it.

  • Working with and improving culture pays!

Naval aviation culture assessment
Naval Aviation Culture Assessment

  • Two parts:

    • Climate survey

    • Culture assessment

Culture vs climate
Culture vs. Climate?

Climate = organizational conditions

  • Observable

  • What we see and hear

  • Can change from day to day

Purpose of a survey
Purpose of a Survey

A survey is a benchmarking tool used to indicate potential problems. What it gives you are symptoms. You still need to find the problems.

Healthcare climate survey
Healthcare Climate Survey

Safety climate surveys were conducted at 15 hospitals and from naval aviators from 226 squadrons.

Differences in Safety Climate Between Hospital Personnel and Naval Aviators, Human Factors,  Volume 45, 2, Summer 2003 Stanford University &VA Palo Alto

Survey results
Survey Results

Differences in Safety Climate Between Hospital Personnel and Naval Aviators, Human Factors,  Volume 45, 2, Summer 2003

Survey results1
Survey Results

Differences in Safety Climate Between Hospital Personnel and Naval Aviators, Human Factors,  Volume 45, 2, Summer 2003

Survey results2
Survey Results

Where do the most significant problematic responses point?

Staffing 

Policy 


Theseus equation for error
Theseus Equation™ for Error

Survey results3
Survey Results

  • Will new safety programs and training improve?:

    • Staffing

    • Policy

    • Management

  • Are there actual staffing, policy and management problems or only misperceptions of them? And what sort of additional symptoms are these issues causing?

    Diagnosis of these symptoms is needed.

Culture assessment
Culture Assessment?

  • Develop the cultural traits of a HRO.

    • Yes

  • Maintain HRO status.

    • Yes

Culture assessment and its role in developing high reliability
Culture Assessment and its Role in Developing High Reliability

  • The Key Element in HRO is Culture.

  • Why?

    • “Complex tasks in a demanding environment.”

    • In the case of aircraft carrier ops, the observed conditions and environment initially confused researchers as to why the error rate was not higher.

    • Aircraft carrier staffing example.

Culture assessment and developing high reliability
Culture Assessment and Developing High Reliability Reliability

  • Researchers discovered that it was the culture of the organization that overcame the “organizational climate” limitations and barriers.

    “We have been struck by the degree to which a set of highly unusual formal and informal rules and relationships are taken for granted, implicitly and almost unconsciously incorporated into the organizational structure of the operational Navy.”

    The Self-Designing High-Reliability Organization: Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations at Sea Gene I. Rochlin, Todd R. La Porte, and Karlene H. Roberts

Culture assessment and developing high reliability1
Culture Assessment and Developing High Reliability Reliability

  • So, a process of accurately assessing, managing and improving culture will greatly improve any organization’s transition to high reliability.

    Because – Culture is so important to that transition.

Culture assessment developing and maintaining a high reliability culture
Culture Assessment - Developing and Maintaining a High Reliability Culture

Think of culture as a patient.

How do we improve and maintain the health of our patient?

Culture as our patient
Culture as Our Patient Reliability Culture

  • First step is to Diagnose. We define the current state of health.

  • Second step is to treat as necessary.

    You can’t improve or treat an unknown therefore a thorough and accurate diagnosis leads to accurate treatment.

Keys elements that exist and must be developed in a hro
Keys Elements That Exist and Must be Developed in a HRO Reliability Culture

  • Vision/Mission

  • Decision Making Process

  • Learning Organization

  • Redundancy

Culture assessment hro keys
Culture Assessment & HRO Keys Reliability Culture

  • Vision/Mission

    Are they understood, shared and realistic?

  • Decision Making Process

    What Barriers exist? Standardization?

  • Learning Organization

    Is error reporting working?

  • Redundancy

    Is it being utilized properly?

Culture of safety
Culture of Safety Reliability Culture

  • What are the keys?

  • Can CA help?

Culture of safety key characteristics
Culture of Safety Key Characteristics Reliability Culture

  • Standardization

  • Leadership Commitment

  • Open Communication

  • Absence of Fear

  • Best Practices

Culture assessment culture of safety
Culture Assessment & Culture of Safety Reliability Culture

  • Standardization

    Define and solicit for improvement

  • Leadership Commitment

    Must be real and in touch with org

  • Open Communication

    CA is an open communication process

Culture assessment culture of safety1
Culture Assessment & Culture of Safety Reliability Culture

  • Absence of Fear

    CA defines the level of confidence and is an excellent forum for anonymous real time feedback.

  • Best Practices

    Lessons learned andFeedback

Keys to assessing culture
Keys to Assessing Culture Reliability Culture

  • Culture is a group phenomenon. You won’t get it from surveys, observation, or individuals. It is hidden.

  • Self diagnosis is flawed.

How do we assess diagnose
How Do We Assess/Diagnose? Reliability Culture

  • Logical Peer Group

    • Brings assumptions to the conscious level

    • Exposes and defines the current culture of safety .

    • Exposes the underlying problems to observed symptoms.

How do we then manage and improve culture
How Do We Then Manage and Improve Culture? Reliability Culture

  • Beauty of CA is that it greatly simplifies this process.

    • CA fixes ½ your problems

      As much as 50% of problems are related to miscommunication and misperceptions.

    • Clearly define your cultural strengths.

      It is easier to build upon cultural strengths than to fight the constraints of your weaknesses.

How do we then manage and improve culture1
How Do We Then Manage and Improve Culture? Reliability Culture

  • Clearly defined weaknesses

    When you understand the true underlying causes of your weakness, solutions are much easier.

    Example – your car is running poorly.

Culture of safety1
Culture of Safety Reliability Culture

  • Too many historical examples of great safety programs that did not create a culture of safety. Relying on safety programs alone to shift culture is trial and error.

  • Treat culture like a patient – work directly with that culture to thoroughly define the current state and then manage it to improve it. You will get better results.

Culture of safety2
Culture of Safety Reliability Culture

Diagnose, then Treat!