Investigation findings music to management's ears

This morning while driving to work, I heard a segment on the news about music streaming. Apparently in 2017, we streamed more music than ever before by a significant margin and the music industry had a bumper year.

I must say I was a little surprised to hear this, since I’ve been led to believe for a number of years now that the music industry is dying because we are all going to be stealing our music.

But it would seem this is not the case after all. So what’s changed? Well… nothing really. Artists still make music, and we still buy it. We don’t buy a physical item any more like a CD or a tape, but instead we buy access to music.

They make it, we buy it, and apparently we buy more than we ever have before. We just do it a bit differently. The industry isn’t dead after all, they just had to change and are now better off for it.

And this got me thinking about how similar this is to the approach to incident investigation I see in business. Many are very happy doing what they’ve always done and feel no desire to change. Incident investigation is often seen as that last ‘tick-box’ exercise that has to be done in response to an incident before business can carry on as it did before.

Many companies don’t like to investigate incidents and aren’t interested in the outcome of investigations because:

a) they may not like being told they got something wrong, and/or
b) they may not like being told they should do something differently

And let’s face it, nobody likes hearing this sort of news.

But things are starting to change. Over the last three years I have seen a trickle of companies starting to embrace a new approach. Incident investigation is no longer being seen as the last stage of incident response.
It is starting to be seen as the first stage of business improvement. Organisation are starting to train not only their HSE teams but also their operations teams in how to carry out thorough incident investigations. This allows the most suitable people to be involved in investigations at an early stage to ensure they are able to capture all relevant evidence in order to diagnose the real causes of an incident.

Thereafter, instead of the outcome of an investigation being seen as bad news to be hidden away in a filing cabinet, it is being seen as a way to identify improvement opportunities to help drive growth.

What I can tell you for certain is that the companies who are adopting this approach are going to be the Spotify of the future, and those that fail to adapt are going to go the way of Our Price.

So make 2018 the year you look to the future and recognise that when something doesn’t go to plan, it is your best opportunity ask why, change it and become a stronger business.