Incident Reviews – Learning from Experience

Not everyone learns from their own mistakes, but the best do – as I’ve discovered through facilitating incident reviews.

Organisations which review any incidents and near misses are able to learn from their own experiences. However, the very best organisations are also keen to learn from other people’s experiences, not just their own.

Strategic business consulting - incident reviews

The sad story of 10-year-old Sam Boulding, who died of asthma a number of years ago when his parents were unable to call an ambulance on their faulty telephone, offers your organisation an opportunity to learn from other people’s experiences and reflect on how incident reviews might help you avoid a similar situation.

Phone service provider, Telstra had not technically breached its customer service standards by not repairing the broken phone line. But community expectations of the information and service which should have been provided to Sam’s home were higher, with then Communications Minister Richard Alston describing as “pretty slack” Telstra’s system of dealing with priority needs customers.

Following the widespread criticism of its telephone fault repair processes and its handling of priority connections, Telstra faced rigorous new licensing conditions and reviewing operating policies, systems and processes to ensure such an incident does not happen again.

Lessons and Incident Reviews

Do any of your customers have special or critical conditions which might cause them to rely in some way on your products or services? Would you even know? If you do know, is the information available to all the people in your organisation who might need it? Have you had any ‘near misses’ that warrant formal incident reviews to avoid similar situations arising in the future? Are you ruthless in facilitating incident reviews internally, before external pressure forces an incident review on you?

Do you have the right operating policies, systems and processes in place to fulfil all reasonable expectations? (And given that community expectations of what is reasonable can change quickly, maybe even some which might seem a bit unreasonable?)

Reviewing issues such as these should be a central part of your regular business strategic planning process.

 

Quote of Note

“Yesterday’s miracle is today’s intolerable condition.”

Lewis D Eigen

 

Incident reviews help your organisation learn without having to endure the worst experiences some organisations face. Contact us for details about how we can help by professionally facilitating your incident reviews on site and in confidence.

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