October 31, 2013

Descending Views

Think of a plane flying at 35,000 feet as being analogous to a business that is flying high and fast. Planes have planned ascents and descents - like busy and slow seasons for a business.

Planes that have an unplanned descent of even a hundred feet are much like businesses that experience an unexpected slowdown during what's supposed to be the high season.

The "five million parts flying in close formation" that define a plane, "speak" to pilots through an instrument panel, as does the outside environment - wind speed & direction, storms, and so on. Despite this data, planes still experience turbulence because you can't monitor everything - and even if you could, you are battling the forces of nature and the laws of physics.

The above definition could easily be adapted to describe a business. Business pilots, however, have terribly inferior instrument panels for data inside and outside their fuselage. Businesses are also at the mercy of nature and physics, so they are disproportionately less prepared for turbulence than are planes.

Many of a plane's "five million parts" send signals to an electronic bus, which forwards them to computers that turn data into information to be conveyed on the instrument panel. What's interesting about the data collected by the electronic bus is that each signal is an independent "voice" and it isn't until it reaches a collection point that it is analyzed and turned into actionable information allowing a pilot to make an informed decision. Every pilot decision is influenced by his or her engagement with the plane's parts, which provide independent signals turned into actionable information. (It was worth repeating.)

How does this relate to business? Until recently, there were virtually no systemic ways to capture independent (honest) signals from employees that could be analyzed and turned into actionable information for decision making. Powernoodle is like an electronic bus (backbone) for an organization to capture and process independent signals, turning them into actionable information for decision making.

You definitely want to avoid descending views, but you need to embrace and learn to use dissenting views. Check out Powernoodle: Safe flying for everyone.

Contributed by Frank Erschen, Co-Founder at Powernoodle

Tags: Risk Management