January 16, 2023 | Mark Paradies

Rickover Quote … Detail Followed to its Source

Admiral Hyman Rickover quote:

“Any one detail, followed through to its source, will usually reveal the general state of readiness of the whole organization.”


Learn More About Rickover’s High-Reliability Organization

Mark Paradies will present “How Admiral Rickover Built the First High-Reliability Organization” at the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit on April 24-26 at the Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe, near Houston, Texas.

Summit Rickover Session

Admiral Rickover built the FIRST (and perhaps only) high-reliability organization – the Nuclear Navy. Here is the story of how Rickover created it, the standards he set, and the performance he achieved (as Forbes magazine wroteAmerica’s Nuclear Navy is one of the oldest and largest nuclear organizations in the world and has the best safety record of any industry), and the ways that it has lived on long after Admiral Rickover was retired. Not all the stories are success stories. There are potential improvements that could be implemented. But if you understand the standards maintained by the Nuclear Navy, you will understand why governmentally required process safety programs fall short and continue to allow process safety accidents to occur.

For more information about the session, CLICK HERE.

Mark Paradies’ Bio

Mark Paradies is the President of System Improvements. He has 43 years of experience in high-reliability organizations, process safety, equipment operations and maintenance, incident investigation, and root cause analysis.

His career started in Admiral Rickover’s Nuclear Navy (where he earned Engineer Qualification). He also worked for DuPont in process safety, human factors, and performance improvement management before he started System Improvements in 1988. Mark worked with Linda Unger to create the TapRooT® System and with Heinz Bloch on the original development of the Equifactor® Troubleshooting Techniques. He also is a co-creator of the Stopping Human Error Course.

He has a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Nuclear Engineering (with an emphasis on human factors), both from the University of Illinois. He is a Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE certificate #85). Mark has worked on several incident investigations and root cause analysis standards-setting committees, including:

  • the IEEE Standards Committee for root cause analysis in the nuclear industry, and 
  • the AICHE/CCPS Committee that wrote the book (versions 2 and 3) on investigating process safety incidents.

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