COMPLETE SERIES – Admiral Rickover: Stopping the Normalization of Deviation with the Normalization of Excellence
You may have dropped in on this series of articles somewhere in the middle. Here are links to each article with a quick summary…
Point of this article is that deviation IS NORMAL. Management must do something SPECIAL to make deviation abnormal.
A brief history of how Admiral Rickover created the first high performance organization. The Nuclear navy has a history of over 50 years of operating hundreds of reactors with ZERO process safety (nuclear safety) accidents. He stopped the normalization of deviation with the NORMALIZATION OF EXCELLENCE. Excellence was the only standard that he would tolerate.
This article describes the first of Rickover’s three keys to process safety: TECHNICAL COMPETENCE. The big difference here is this isn’t just competence for operators or supervisors. Rickover required technical competence all the way to the CEO.
The second key to process safety excellence (the normalization of excellence) – RESPONSIBILITY.
Do you think you know what responsibility means? See what Rickover expected from himself, his staff, and everyone responsible for nuclear safety.
FACING THE FACTS is probably the most important of Rickover’s keys to achieving excellence.
Read examples from the Nuclear Navy and think about what your management does when their is a difficult decision to make.
Here is the other 18 elements that Rickover said were essential (as well as the first three keys).
That’s right, the keys are the start but you must do all of these 18 well.
Here is Rickover’s own writing on what makes the Nuclear Navy special. What to this day (over 35 years after Rickover was retired) keeps the reactor safety record spotless.
That’s it. The whole series. I’m thinking about writing about some recent process safety related accidents and showing how management failed to follow Rickover’s guidance and how this lead to poor process safety performance. Would you be interested in reading about bad examples?