I scraped the side of my car last winter. I mean in the bad way with scratches and dents, not the good way by chipping ice from the side window. I said it was an accident. I thought of it as an accident.
It was the word “accident” that I should have scraped – not my Prius. Because “accident” is one of hundreds of words frozen in time.
The meaning of the word “accident” failed to accurately describe what occurred. I was not careful, I was going too fast for the situation, and I should have avoided the damage to my car. The word “accident” was misleading. I had a measure of control that could have avoided, prevented or minimized the damage. The car itself could have been built with better features that would have lessened or eliminated the damage. No matter the dictionary meaning, the word “accident” is used by most of us to mean that a bad thing happened that was not intentional. Neither the cause, blame or circumstance of the situation are communicated by the word “accident”. My message is not that the word “accident” is THE problem. Although there is a nationwide effort to minimize the use of the word “accident” and instead refer to the incident as a crash or collision or injury due to some behavior. The problem is that we do not have a better way to accurately and usefully communicate systemic failure that educates all parties and reduces future occurrences toward Zero.
There are various kinds of systemic human causal factors leading to accidents and mistakes.
Failure to Create Failsafe Resilient Systems
Failure to Communicate Failsafe Resilient Systems
Failure to Pattern & Program Failsafe Resilient Systems Into Others
Failure to Fully Understand Systems & Complexity
Failure to Select & Apply All Necessary Resources
Failure to Prepare
Failure to Anticipate/Be Aware
Failure to Concentrate
Failure to Understand Systemics
Failure to Act
Failure of Senses
Failure of Reaction
Failure of Motivation
Failure of Emotion
Failure of Resilience
Failure of Programming
Failure of Identification/Pattern Recognition
Failure of Processing
Failure of Transfer to Conscious & Corporal
Failure to Sense
Failure to React
Failure to Perform/Act
But what word do we have in our language that is more accurate and comprehensive to describe these situations? I can’t think of one.
When hospital personnel make horrible errors, we call them mistakes.
Checklists save lives.
When economies have horrible problems, we call them depressions, or at best, recessions.
Rigorous systemic monitoring could have prevented the most recent global depression.
When something goes terribly wrong in our body, we call it a disease.
Reducing the introduction of foreign materials into the body systems would reduce dysfunction.
When well performing employees are terminated, we call it a layoff.
Creating Nurturing Systems of enterprise valuing the employee equally with shareholders and customers would reduce human trauma.
When people die in a war, we call them casualties.
Preventing war by early aggressive interventions would result in no death by war.
Every one of the following are examples of the failure of those most responsible and empowered to apply Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems.
We use words such as accidents and mistakes as shorthand for these complexities- they deliver a quick understanding. It takes much more effort to describe the cause and effect, the systemic framework and the science and logic associated with each of these negative incidents.
At Y Worlds, we believe there needs to be a better shorthand and longhand way to understand and communicate systemic failures. Those empowered individuals who neglect to fully and comprehensively advance Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems should understand that they are personally and professionally accountable for that failure. The Proof Process for adherence to NETS should not wait for the tragedies to come, The Proof Process means objective, well trained third parties should provide constant oversight. Absolute power corrupts and kills – absolutely. Even my “minor” car “accident” should be a major systemic wakeup call that my inattention and casual consciousness could under other circumstances become the cause of great harm. My conscious vitality and conscience are the third parties helping me to monitor and improve my attention and commitment to drive safely.
Lets stop relying on simple words such as accidents and mistakes. Lets focus responsibility and accountability on organizational leaders and ourselves to ensure that harm does not occur from accidents, mistakes, poor judgements, failures and errors. The use of words like accident or mistake allow us to abdicate responsibility for our own behavior, individually and institutionally. These words mean the leaders of an organization, and the consciousness controlling our own behavior, did not systemically do their job.
These same reflections apply to good things as well as bad. In the English language we have one word for love and one word for systems. These are two incredibly complex constructs with a spectrum of variations . One word for each?! Think about it. The problem with words is profound. We invented words through an incremental evolution. Our words are a symbolic language. We can certainly continue the invention of language with an assist from computer visualization, allowing us to reach unprecedented channels of communications.
Our language defines what we think and how we think.
It is hard, maybe impossible, to imagine a cornucopia of new words. They would change the way we think.
Positioning for Future Performance Model
It may be even more difficult to imagine a new language consisting of systemic graphics, linked to but not dependent on words. Semiotics has the power to convey meanings heretofore unrealized.
In complexity is the realization of our consciousness.
Let’s consciously and effortfully begin to talk about important things without the blinders of words. Listen to any dialogue about complex topics. We must find a better way to communicate. Our future depends upon it.
At Y Worlds, we believe it is the universal right of all people to understand the systems of the world, beginning with their own body. We are in the process of introducing universal models that communicate complexity’s essential meanings.
Join the process.