Milo, the manager who d been absent when the mistake occurred, is tasked with figuring out how to make sure nothing like that ever happens again. And so he begins a journey into learning about workplace accountability. We follow along, happy it s his problem and not ours. Milo is a new manager, and he s an extra-thoughtful person. His research leads him first into Daniel Kahneman s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, which talks about System 1 and System 2 brains. We all have both. The System 1 brain processes things automatically, whereas the System 2 brain thinks about them. The sub artisan who made the mistake was probably operating from her System 1 brain and didn t notice that the bread had been stacked incorrectly. Had she been using her System 2 brain, she would have checked to make sure three hatch-marks that indicated gluten-free were on the top of the roll, and she would have used the store s process which called for verification by another artisan.
Milo has to figure out a way to create foolproof systems, to better train his staff, and to decide whether or not to fire the one who made the mistake. Sound familiar? These are struggles all managers must face. The business owner, Dave, decides that no employees will be fired for making a mistake, so at least Milo doesn t have to make that decision. But there are many, many others he must tackle as the book documents the next year at the sub shop.
The book is a novel. There isn t a Dave s Subs or a Milo. But the management process is common to every industry and every manager. That was why it was so much fun to read.
I think my favorite part of the book came at the end, when Milo had to put together performance evaluations for his employees. The organization didn t have any forms, so Milo had to create his own. By this time I d gotten to know the employees, both the good ones and the not so good. I was rooting for him to do the right thing. And he did, at least to my way of thinking. You can read it and decide for yourself.
This was a great instructional primer on how to manage workers. It doesn t really matter what they re doing, because someone has to pull the entire production together. Milo has his share of successes and failures. If you are a new manager, or you know one, this would be a great book to read.
The author includes a final chapter that summarizes the lessons Milo learned, and how they relate to all managers. For example: It s the body of work that gives us the best picture of our employees. We articulate a mission. We talk to our teams about the values we need to protect. We give them instructions and educate them on the rules. Then we watch. Outcomes are measured. Events pop up along the way. As best we can, we integrate these outcomes and events into a bigger picture we call the body of work.
Really, how often is a management book also a novel? And how often do we become attached to the characters? This book is one of the more creative and fun books I ve read in a long time. --Diane Byington, Ph.D.
About the Author
Marx currently leads Outcome Engenuity in the development and implementation of values supportive practices and just culture within high consequence organizations.
Just Culture is the hallmark of risk management for which Outcome Engenuity is known. A Just Culture encourages open reporting that can lead to improved systems and behaviors within complex socio-technical environments. Marx believes that to create better outcomes, regulatory authorities, regulated organizations, and staff must work within a fair and just system and hold each other accountable for choices they make within that system. Marx's Just Culture Algorithm advises to console true human errors, coach against risky behaviors, and ultimately discipline reckless behavior. A strong Just Culture puts a premium on critical decision making skills and asks the organization to continually evaluate the risks inherent in the systems it creates, and asks staff members to do the same with the choices they make.
Marx's expertise in aviation/aerospace is supported by his experience at Boeing, where he was an aircraft design engineer. He organized a human factors and safety group at Boeing and was awarded the International Federation of Airworthiness Whittle Safety Award for his development of a human error investigation process used by airlines around the world. The Federal Aviation Administration's Human Factors Research Program and the NASA Space Shuttle Program used Marx as a primary advisor, and he was NASA's principal consultant in the development of the agency's major mishap investigation process. Marx was also an outside team leader in benchmarking space shuttle processing quality. In the healthcare sector, Marx authored Patient Safety and the Just Culture : A Primer for Healthcare Executives for the US National Institutes of Health. He also advises the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in its efforts to improve patient safety.