May 12, 2010

Learning 4 Performance:
Thought Leadership in T&D


Issue Focus:  A Lesson in Risk Mitigation

Approximate reading time: 1 minute

In This issue:

  1. A Lesson from the Deepwater Horizon Tragedy
  2. Upcoming Public Workshops
  3. List: Current Blog Posts
  4. Product Discount: DiSC Online Proflie

Tragedy in the Gulf

If the following is true, and I quote the AP…

“ON THE GULF OF MEXICO (Associated Press) - The deadly blowout of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was triggered by a bubble of methane gas that escaped from the well and shot up the drill column, expanding quickly as it burst through several seals and barriers before exploding, according to interviews with rig workers conducted during BP's internal investigation.”

…then let’s follow this logic trail. Is there a known presence of large qualities of Methane in “The Bermuda Triangle”? the Gulf of Mexico? many other parts of the oceans? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Change of topic: If you are implementing a plan (like drilling for oil in a mile of water in the Gulf, for example) and you don’t ask, “What could go wrong?”, chances are you won’t know what could go wrong in advance. If you don’t know what could go wrong in advance, you can’t take steps in advance to keep it from happening… it may just happen.

Now put it all together. What happens when methane under 2000+/- PSI pressure (the pressure of water at 5000 feet) gets into a pipe and is free to expand? What’ll it do? Expand! And expand it did.

Yes, there are a lot of variables, and the investigation continues in the search for true cause, with all of the players (BP, Transocean, and Haliburton) pointing fingers at one another. And at some level, some person or group failed to ask the question “what could go wrong” and act in a timely fashion upon the answers found.

While we may not be faced with an explosive situation, we all face risks of varying degrees in the work that we do, whether that be a safety risk or "merely" a risk to successful project implementation. Anytime that the situation is complex, involves multiple parties, is unique and crucial to your operation, the more you need to ask the question “what could go wrong?” and plan for the eventualities.

For example, at one time, I was General Manager for a printing company. We were growing, so we needed to move into a bigger facility. While planning our move, we discovered that the biggest door in the new facility would not accommodate my largest press when stripped down to the frame. Part of the renovation package, therefore, became enlarging that door. The plan called for us to stop production at noon on Friday, move everything, then resume production at 07:00 on Monday morning. Had we not enlarged that door, it would never have happened. As it turned out, we actually started production an hour ahead of schedule.

Your Tip for This Week: Our Reality Based tool Plan Implementation Analysis (PIA) encourages people to ask this series of questions:

  • What could go wrong?
  • What could make it go wrong?
  • How can I keep it from going wrong?
  • What will happen if it goes wrong anyhow?
  • How can I deal with it if it does go wrong?

If you ask these questions every time you develop a project plan, your projects will go more smoothly and you will be more effective. Guaranteed. Learn more about PIA here, or sign up for a public Trouble Shooting Logic workshop - PIA is one of the essential thinking tools covered in that course.

Stay Safe,

George Loyer


Rob's Corner

Welcome to this week’s issue of Learning4Performance. Yes, that’s correct: we have made the commitment to publish weekly, beginning today.

Every week, we will focus on one key business issue or current event, providing actionable advice for how today’s leaders can and should respond. We will also provide links to tools that you can use to foster best practice in your organization. And we will announce upcoming events and product promotions.

Thanks for being with us as we launch the NEW Learning4Performance! We promise to earn your continued readership.

All the Best,

Rob BensonRob

Upcoming Public Workshops

  • Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) -  Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - May 27-28, 2010, Utica, MS
  • Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - May 31-June 1, 2010, Utica, MS
  • Trouble Shooting Logic
    • August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
    • September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
    • October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Managing Commitment, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
  • Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA

Current Blog Posts


At Your Mgt Matters


Discounted Electronic DiSC Reports!

From May 12 - 18, 2010, purchase online DiSC reports at and receive 10% off of your final order. Coupon good for DiSC Classic 2.0, DiSC® Classic 2 Plus, DiSC® Online Group Culture Report, and the DiSC Classic 2.0 in Spanish (Online), Enter "DISCount 10" at checkout.

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