I like to ask leaders:
- are you an agile-leadership presence in a fragile system?
- are you a fragile-leadership presence in a fragile system?
All systems are fragile! That’s why aircraft still crash. That’s why oil rigs still have oil spills. That isn’t the question. The question is, are you an agile or fragile leadership presence in that fragile system.
In his 2008 book, “The Human Contribution: Unsafe Acts, Accidents and Heroic Recoveries”, James Reason says, “The purpose of this book is to explore the human contribution to both the reliability and resilience of complex well-defended systems. The predominant mode of treating this topic is to consider the human as a hazard, a system component whose unsafe acts are implicated in the majority of catastrophic breakdowns. But there is another perspective, one that has been relatively little studied in its own right, and that is the human as hero, a system element whose adaptations and compensations have brought troubled systems back from the brink of disaster on a significant number of occasions.”
So the question for you is, are you being human as hazard or human as hero? A fragile-leadership presence or an agile-leadership presence in a fragile system?