The Difference Is Accountability
NOTE: This post is from one of our frequent contributors to this blog, "Birdseye59604.
In non-aviation jurisdiction there is a law addressing the issue of honest mistakes being made in working environment. This law states that if the mistake is done by reason of an honest mistake the error cannot be punished with punitive actions. This type of law sets up any organization for failure and with no accountability to job performance. It may be assumed that the non-punitive clause under SMS is the same thing, but that is as far from the fact as it could be. SMS does not function in an environment where failure is accepted, or excused, but has to be embraced in a just culture with job-performance accountability at all levels.
|Accountability is to manage time and place.|
What is an honest mistake in job-performance anyway? Is there such a thing as a non-honest mistake? What makes a mistake, or a failure honest or dishonest? Describing an event as an honest mistake is an attempt to justify an outcome without accountability and by placing blame on the outcome itself. Applying the honest mistake concept is a common sense approach to avoid discovery of fact and root cause.
In this old picture the quality was not an honest mistake, but root cause discovery which lead to becoming the Master.
A non-punitive policy is the antidote to the honest mistake approach. In a non-punitive environment there is accountability at all levels and the root cause is discovered by at least considering individual human factors, the environment, supervision and organizational elements. When understanding the root case an enterprise has been given a documented opportunity to change processes for a different outcome. The mistake is no longer an honest mistake, but accountability and accepting an operational process failure.