Flexibility – the capability to adapt effectively when faced with change.
We face unknowns every day, and situations can shift without notice, but when we can “bend without breaking,” we work to overcome barriers and obstacles to safe outcomes in ever-changing conditions. In terms of risk management, no matter how prepared we think we are, things can still go wrong. People in organizations that have highly reliable safety practices are always on the lookout for what can go wrong and they work proactively to mitigate risks before negative outcomes occur. The flexibility principle can be tied to CAP’s core value of EXCELLENCE where we hold ourselves to a high standard to protect our people and resources.
Learning – more than just the acquisition of knowledge, true learning takes place when knowledge becomes a change in behavior – when we know better, we do better.
Learning is an act of taking personal responsibility to seek to be better than we were yesterday. The learning principle can be tied to CAP’s core value of INTEGRITY where we not only do the right things, but we personally own the fact that none of us can know everything. When we make an error, we need to acknowledge it, discuss it with others, and work to learn from it – and then change our behavior. In doing so, we will make more progress in preventing negative safety outcomes.
Fairness - impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination.
We all make mistakes – humans are complex, and the factors that lead us to err are a complicated mix of emotion, experience, and day-to-day wear and tear. Impartial and just treatment is also not devoid of compassion. When we make mistakes, we need to avoid defaulting to blame, which will impede learning. In combining fairness and compassion, we accept that everyone is susceptible to an honest error and, when treated fairly and compassionately, they will be open to learning and change. Fairness can be tied to CAP’s core value of RESPECT where we listen openly to others and “seek to understand before being understood.”
Accountability – a willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.
Having compassion for others is not a reason to ignore accountability. When someone does not accept responsibility for being accountable, then “holding” accountable may be necessary – however, this is not the ideal in an effective safety culture. Striving to model personal accountability is the responsibility of all leaders across CAP. The accountability principle can be tied to CAP’s core value of VOLUNTEER SERVICE where “service before self” means that I am not only willing to account publicly for my contribution to safety errors, but also to be held to account by others when they observe a deviation that could cause harm.