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KMLF monthly meeting

Photo of Stuart French
Hosted By
Stuart F.


## Details

  • This is a hybrid event. If attending in person please ensure you arrive before 6pm otherwise you will need to contact the host to access the Minter Ellison offices.

The link to attend virtually will be available on the day to those who RSVP.

## Introduction:

Rapid changes in our organisational and external environments often leads to unanticipated events

  • Expect the unexpected - “Low probability, high impact events are now more commonplace – from every 100 years to 8 years”. Malcolm Sparrow

And impacts our anticipation of Risk - the ‘known unknowns’
So, how do we better anticipate and address Risk?

  • Limit organisational and behavioural biases in decision making, eg: over confidence, confirmation bias, vested interest bias, action bias
  • Address organisational barriers to sharing, integrating and using knowledge on major risks

Introducing Pre Mortem – A ‘tool for the times’
Complex projects are too often beset by known and unknown Risk factors and assumptions that lead to failure. These factors include Risks in the external environment, weak strategy and rationale, complex technical issues, gaps in expertise, and poor organisation culture, judgement and decision making.

Premortems is a method of risk assessment that tackles (a) managerial over-confidence; (b) our tendency to misjudge future events and risks; and (c) business cultures that discourage speaking out.
Premortems (as opposed to traditional post mortems) are specifically designed to understand environmental risk and corresponding weaknesses in capability and preparedness. And to help build resilience in the face of complex Risk.

Unlike other methods, Premortems begin with an assumption or scenario of disaster or of significant organisation failure and work backwards to probable seen and unseen causes and weaknesses.
The scenario of failure is meant to shake certainty and assumptions by being confronting.

The Pre Mortem analyses wide ranging causes and patterns – systemic, cultural, technical etc.

Organisational and behavioural biases in decision making
Major Failure

The Challenger Space Shuttle disaster
January 28 1986. Morton Thiokol was the manufacturer of the o-rings on the Challenger, which failed that day because they had not been tested in very cold temperature and caused the explosion. Allan McDonald the senior person from Morton Thiokol was the only one who spoke up about the problem the day before the launch but was ignored that day by NASA and overruled by his supervisors. The reason he spoke up was that the temperature the night before the launch was expected to drop below 32 degrees F (a rare occurrence in Florida, which no one thought about) and the o-rings had not been tested for outside temperatures that low. Since NASA had a policy then that you had to “prove something would fail” in order to stop a launch and McDonald could only say, “the o-rings had not been tested yet in cold temperatures,” the launch couldn’t be stopped. McDonald refused to sign-off for the launch, but his supervisors did. The launch went off and we all know what happened.

Exercise and Discussion 1
1. The project has failed. Discuss all the reasons you think it failed. What decision biases were at play.
2. Are there any themes and patterns in the causes of the failure
3. What would you do to make sure the project is successful.

Exercise and Discussion 2
Other examples of serious failure
How could these have been avoided?
How would you remove barriers to sharing, integrating and using knowledge on major Risk

Recurrent risks and issues in your projects / organisation. What ways could we de-risk through better knowledge transfer.

Final thoughts

Our Speaker: Sha Reilly
Sha has a background in teaching, strategy consulting, research, business planning, behaviour change, knowledge management and innovation.
Specialties: Lead business planning at Sustainability Victoria.
Developed the strategy and plan for knowledge management in 'green field sites' cross sectors.
Worked in major consulting assignments at Accenture on corporatisation of public utilities in Victoria and Queensland.
Managed Diversity programs in NSW and Victorian higher education and public sectors.

6:00 - 6:30 networking over drinks and nibbles
6:30 - 6:35 Objectives & Desired Outcomes
6:35 - 6:45 ‘Known unknowns’ – Risk and resilience in uncertain times
Introduction to Pre Mortem
6:45 - 6:50 The Failure – Challenger space shuttle disaster
6:50 - 7:10 Causes of the Failure
Themes and patterns
7:10 - 7:25 Other examples of serious failure
How could they have been avoided
7:25 - 7:40 Removing barriers to sharing, integrating and using knowledge on major Risk
7:40 - 7:45 Final thoughts
7:45 Close
8:00 Dinner for interested parties

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Melbourne KMLF
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