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The Science Behind Safe Decision Making with Dr. Constance Dierickx

The Science Behind Safe Decision Making

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As we celebrate our milestone 100th episode, we’re excited to spotlight a crucial topic on The Science Behind Safe Decision Making with our special guest, The Decision Doctor®, Dr. Constance Dierickx. With her expert insights, Constance shares strategies for overcoming common decision-making biases and the importance of saying no to urgency when faced with consequential decisions in the workplace. This episode is packed with practical solutions grounded in fascinating research and science. Tune in to transform your approach to safe decision-making, armed with effective strategies!

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Real leaders leave a legacy. They capture the hearts and minds of their teams. Their origin story puts the safety and well-being of their people first. Great companies ubiquitously have safe yet productive operations. For those companies, safety is an investment, not a cost, for the C-suite. It’s a real topic of daily focus. This is the Safety Guru with your host, Eric Michrowski, a globally recognized ops and safety guru, public speaker, and author. Are you ready to leave a safety legacy? Your legacy success story begins now.

Hi, and welcome to the Safety Guru. Today, I’m very excited to have Dr. Constance Dierickx with me. She’s The Decision Doctor®, and she here to talk to us about how we can make safe decisions, she is also the author of Meta Leadership. Welcome to the show, Constance.

Oh, thank you so much. It is really a thrill to see you on the screen. I know your listeners can’t, but this will be fun.

Great. We have to start by exploring how you became The Decision Doctor®?

Yes. I’m often asked, well, how did you come up with that name? I really like that. How did you come up with it? Did you hire a branding expert? And the answer is really simple. No, I did not. I listened to my clients. Listening to our clients as consultants, whether you’re working in safety or leadership and high-stakes decisions, means the way I do, it’s really valuable to listen to your client. So one day, a client told me, You know what you are? And I said, This name’s Joe. And I said, Joe, I think you’re about to tell me. And, of course, at that point, you have no idea. And he said You’re The Decision Doctor®. And I do hold a PhD, so the doctor is not gratuitous. It actually is a real thing. And he said you help us make the most consequential decisions. That is where you are most valuable to us. And I thought, wow, let me get unclamped here. And so, after the meeting, I was driving back to my office, which is in my house. And I called my mentor, and I thought I would leave him a voice message, and he answered.

And I said, God, this client called me The Decision Doctor®. He said, That’s fabulous, cold market.

Good move.

So, I did. I’ve had to defend that trademark recently, actually. The person using it doesn’t appear to be an expert in decisions, nor do they hold a doctorate of any type. It just helps us understand, I think, that we often will use a tagline or a phrase that I think sounds cool, and I think it sounds cool. But we understand our most profound value to our clients by listening to what they tell us and what they’re not saying.

Very powerful.

It’s a pretty fun story, I think. I came to be interested in decisions decades ago when I was a stockbroker. This was before grad school, and I couldn’t understand why really smart people could make decisions based on the most erroneous, ridiculous, and silly criteria, and it was costing them money. Sometimes, it cost them money in accounts that were retirement accounts, where they were… You would think that with the money you’re saving for retirement, you would really… The protection of that, safety of that, let’s call it safety of money. I was mystified, so I started studying decision science on my own by haunting a local bookstore in the library. It stayed with me. I’m still a myth.

Tell me a little about the decision science and some key elements around how we can make better decisions.

The decisions have been the domain of economists for a long time. Psychologists have always worked on decisions, but from a different angle, from the perspective of perception, cognition, and things like that. Several decades ago, a couple of psychologists in Israel, Daniel Kahneman, whose name is probably known to your listeners, and Amos Tversky, who was his research partner for many years, were psychologists, and they wanted to look at decision making and the influence of the human condition on decisions.

Okay.

Well, this upset a lot of economists. Their article, which I think should be required reading, is Judgment under Uncertainty Heuristics and Biases in Decision-Making. I might not have that exactly right. It is the most cited scholarly article ever in any field. I mean, it’s referred to and cited constantly. What happened was some economists, like Richard Thaler, who’s at the University of Chicago and is a Nobel Prize winner, as was Kahneman, started taking note of this. Rather than saying, Oh, what does a psychologist know? They said, How can we use this? We have a field that we call behavioral economics, which is really psychology. Sure. Economics has a better brand. It sounds as if you have an MBA and you’re sitting in a big meeting, and you want to reference something from the field; if you say behavioral economics, it sounds better than if you say social psychology—branding matters. I became very interested in this because I could see what was happening in the real world related to this. This is the origin of how we come to all these commonly understood biases, like the overconfidence bias, the recency bias, and the outcome bias. We’re all so interesting.

We’re all looking for shortcuts, right? Of course. What are the top three things I need to do so that the safety problems in my organization go down to almost zero? Right. You hear this a lot in your work.

Of course.

People want the template, they want the roadmap, and the blueprint, and the yari-yari. I like to say, Sometimes, you have to put away your microscope and get out your telescope and your compass. And that’s really the work I do is at that level. It’s at a completely different level than tactics, but sometimes, the tactics have to come into the conversation. So, decision science is a huge field, and it runs the gamut from thinking about it in terms of cognition, perception, and how emotion affects our decisions. And that’s the world I live in. It also comes down to what a decision-making matrix or process, methodology, or checklist is. And I am not disparaging of the tactical approach or the roadmaps. Those are useful. But you need the other element in order for you to decide which roadmap, which checklist, what’s on your checklist, how long it has been on your checklist, and whether anything in the environment has changed since you made the checklist. This is one of the traps for people in safety, not having, and everyone is happy with their methodology. It’s working. We haven’t had any big incidents. Nobody’s died in eight years on the manufacturing line or whatever.

And that’s really important. Sure. But what’s also important is to stand back, lean back, lean out, stop leaning in all the time, and say, what in the environment is different? And should we take a fresh look? The challenging thing is it’s really hard if you’ve been using a particular methodology for a long time. Sometimes, it’s like you’ve got to cry it out of people’s cold, dead hands. There’s a lot of our professional identity that’s tied up in how we do things as well as what we do. And that’s where leadership comes in.

It’s a really interesting point to bring up because, in safety, we say that safety is not the absence of incidents. Because having no incidents doesn’t mean you’re safe 100% of the time. It just means maybe you’ve been lucky. I think your point is really take a step back, if I’m paraphrasing, take a step back, really look in terms of what’s changing or the decisions that maybe are happening behind the scenes that are indirectly impacting frontline team members that we aren’t even realizing. Finance decide not to put a hiring freeze as an example. How could that impact 3-5 years down the road in terms of the quality of the recruitment, the skill sets, etc.? You may think you’re safe, but there may be other things that are acting in the system.

Yes, absolutely right. I’ll add one thing to that. Sure. What about the things that are happening that don’t get reported?

Absolutely. That’s a big part.

That is, on a scale of 1-10, it’s a one. But back to your point about you’ve got to play these things out over time. What if you’re not lucky and somebody who’s really good isn’t there to see the thing happening when it’s at a one, and it continues and it goes on, and the impact of it gets larger?

Absolutely.

Unfortunately, sometimes leaders, CEOs, I work with CEOs and boards. If a CEO is tracking a safety metric that only he says, what are the incidents? But they don’t ever inquire about the culture in the safety organization. Are people who work there free to say, I don’t know, something’s not right over there? Or let’s think about the Bhopal incident in India, where they had this big chemical release, and thousands of people died. There was an engineer who said, Wait a second, something’s wrong over here. This drain, this stuff that we’re flushing, and I may not be repeating this completely accurately, so everybody goes check that there was something that the engineer noticed, and he reported it. I believe it was a man. I’m not saying he is without thought. Sure. The person reported it and was dismissed.

Wow.

If you work in safety and you look back over, let’s say, you’ve been in that field 20 years, and you look back over that, I bet every person listening to this can recall some incident where something like that happened, and to your point, if luck is involved, maybe it really wasn’t anything. Maybe it wasn’t consequential. But this happens in medicine, in surgery, where when surgeons have a reputation for being a little tyrannical, and some of them deserve it, by the way. I’ve worked in academic medical centers quite a bit, and some of them deserve it. But if they make the operating theater so unsafe psychologically, and your listeners can read Amy Edmondson’s wonderful work on this, and people don’t speak up when something small happens, sometimes people die. Yeah.

You see this over and over in terms of those insights where something didn’t surface. It came up in the investigations around the 737 Max. There are some allegations with the max nine, but it’s the same thing. In most incidents, somebody knew something was off at some point, but it’s just how it percolates to the right level for decision-making.

Yeah. And does the person that surfaces it, are they subsequently ignored? Punishment does not have to be obvious. One of the worst punishments a leader can dole out is disregard or ignoring. Francis Frey, who’s a professor at Harvard business school, talks about how important it is to notice to whom and under what conditions you show your… I’m going to use the word inattention, but that’s not what she says. I just can’t pull up the word that she said. Do you show you, I think maybe, disregard?

Disregard, I think it is. Yeah.

You’re sitting in a meeting, and I’ve seen this: you’re sitting in a meeting with senior people. And when Sally talks, more than half the people in the room pick up their cell phones and stare at the screen, and then they start texting. And guess That’s what you’re maybe texting about. Sally.

Sally. Exactly. Seeing it before.

Yeah, exactly. It creates an atmosphere. It’s not that Sally consciously knows. She might. She might speculate. However, the disregard and the inattention do not create an environment for the best outcomes.

You touched on some of the cognitive biases. Really important to be aware of them. What are some of the approaches that you teach where you show people how to overcome some of these biases? Because it’s one thing to be aware of it. There are a lot of decision-making traps. 

Yeah. That’s exactly why I wrote Meta Leadership. I would say starting about maybe ten years ago, I would be in an organization working with executives. I used to work more with executive teams than I do now. I found that work pretty gnarly. I would be teaching them something, like a five-minute little mini thing, and somebody would be on their computer or on their phone, and then they would come up to me at a break, and they’d hold the screen in front of me, and they’d show me some diagram with 8,472 cognitive biases and all the human traps. And I was like, how can we use that? I would say to them, how can we use that? And they’d be like, oh, I just thought you should know. I was like, Yeah, right. Because I had no idea, and I began to realize that what we do when we’re overwhelmed with that amount of input is the same thing we do with other input. We categorize and simplify, which is exactly what Kahneman and Tversky are saying. And in that oversimplification and distillation, things are distorted. So, we start trying to avoid distortion, and then we create something way more comforting but perhaps just as distorted.

So, I thought about this literally for five years. I thought about this. I said, what can I offer leaders that’s more of a lens and less of a checklist? Sure. Less of a checklist. So, I went back to the classic lens from psychology that is the undergirding of all the major research: research-based, underline, highlight, exclamation point, and the research on behavior change. There are a lot of management paradigms out there. I don’t know which of them and which of them are not. I just know most of them are way too complicated, and they’re based on somebody’s idea and their three years of consulting experience. So, I don’t pay attention to those. However, the research done on behavior change really encapsulates three things. If your listeners just remember these three things and their minds wander in these three categories, they’ll come up with ways to see things they didn’t see before. Some of them will not be consequential, and they’ll go. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. That doesn’t matter. And some of them will be. The fun of this is that it allows you to be an experimenter in your own territory.

So, the first one is cognition. Thinking. So, cognition is based on what we perceive, what we know, what we’ve learned over our life, and the context that we’re in. And a way to think about it to think metacognition. So meta is a prefix that means above or beyond. So, we think of meta-analysis. You’re listeners that read scholarly work or make use of scholarly work. Sometimes, you come across a really good meta-analysis where they look at eight different studies at a time and try to discern the lessons that overlap from all this research. What is this body of research telling us that’s different than individual studies? So, I love that analysis. Metacognition means thinking about your thinking. Sure. And so let me give you a really dumb It’s not cool. This is embarrassing. So yesterday, I went to IKEA, and I bought two… They’re ladders. They’re used inside your house, and you use them to store blankets quills and towels. You can use it for whatever you want. Anyway, so IKEA, your listeners are probably all familiar with IKEA.

Sure.

Here are these ladders, and they come in a box that’s about 4 inches wide, 2 inches deep, and 6 feet long. And that should have been an indicator right there. I unbox one, I slide I slide out all the parts, I slide out the hardware, and there are no instructions. Now, IKEA instructions, for some people, they’re useless, and for others, they don’t need them. I’m a person who wishes they had something in their coin. Anyway, so I laid out all the parts, and I laid them logically, according to my estimation. Anyway, my assessment was that I was doing great. Anyway, struggle, struggle, struggle, splinter. I finally got the thing together. I take it into the guest bedroom, where I’ve got all these things. I don’t want to just stuff in a cabinet, and I unbox the second one, and chaos ensues. I mean, it was chaos. Chaos. There were many foul words uttered. My husband sat, I think, terrified to even speak. I It didn’t work. I was like, this doesn’t work. Anyway, I had to sit back, close to tears, and say, what do I know that I can do right now? And what I knew I could do was think about how I was thinking about it.

And I was thinking about it correctly in every way except one critical way. You had to have the sides of the ladder in a particular relation to one another. And I had to reverse them because I was lucky the first time, and I laid them out.

And it worked out.

And it worked, but I did get a splinter. And so, my thinking about my thinking allowed me to realize that there was a piece that I hadn’t yet manipulated. And as soon as I did, the thing was together in five minutes. This is a silly example, but I think it’s illustrative of what I’m talking about. The value is… The hard part of metacognition is using it when you’re not thwarted. Like I was thwarted, I had no choice. I could either take it back and tell them that their product was flawed, which they would have smiled and given me my money back, knowing that I had done something wrong. Because I see stuff does, I’ve never seen it not go together. It’s just hard. Let’s take this to you. You’re doing scenario planning around safety, which is something safety people do, right? It’s super important because it allows you to prepare for what you’ve envisioned. The question is, what are you not envisioning? That’s a hard question. What are we not incorporating in our scenario planning that could really… What if somebody flies two planes into the World Trade Center?

It was not something we thought was possible.

No. And let’s think about the early clues, right? Guys that wanted to know how to take off. They went to pilot school. Sure. They went to school, and all they wanted to know was how to take off.

Yes. Not to land.

Which is an odd question. Because most pilots want to learn how to land.

Right. Because they don’t want to die. But these guys were planning to die. But in our human mind, we can’t expect ourselves to envision everything like that. But that was all the more reason why, in a safety organization, you have to have your fingers on the pulse, you have to listen, and you have to connect the dots. That event in New York happened in part because the small things that seemed fishy didn’t get noticed, and there was no network to communicate into; to say this might not be important. I don’t know, but here’s this thing. And the safety organization needs to use this meta-level of thinking in order to keep us safe, the safety people safe, and everyone safe.

This episode of The Safety Guru podcast is brought to you by Propulo Consulting, the leading safety and safety culture advisory firm. Whether you are looking to assess your safety culture, develop strategies to level up your safety performance, introduce human performance capabilities, re-energize your BBS program, enhance supervisory safety capabilities, or introduce unique safety leadership training and talent solutions, Propulo has you covered. Visit us at propulo.com.

That’s the first thing. The second thing is, and this is the part that leaders like to argue with me about, that one guy yelled at me, red-faced, sweating, screaming, leaning, literally stood up, leaned over his desk, and tried to get in my face.

He said – Emotion has nothing to do with what we do here.

But has everything to do with humans.

Well, what was driving him in that moment? Emotions. It wasn’t logical. No.

He was mad at me. Not if he’s red in his face and yelling and sweating.

Right. I said to him, which I have to admit, I regret this. This was not my finest moment, but I said, Do you mean like now?

How did that go? 

See, I’m a trained clinical psychologist. I can use stuff like that, and I shouldn’t have. Very nice. But it turns out that later, when I talked to his boss about this incident, he goes, Oh, yeah, he’s a hothead. It turns out that his emotional outbursts were problematic in the company, and he did end up getting fired, not immediately and not because of me, but because of the history. But emotion can be a lot more subtle than that. Emotion can be what keeps mores and habits in an organization in place. It’s the emotional price we pay for violating them. If I do something that the organization doesn’t have this unwritten agreement about, if I violate that, it’s like hitting an invisible electric fence. And some of the mores and habits in organizations are very healthy, very. They’re very constructive. But we have to murder the ones that aren’t. It’s the sacred cows that people are like. We have to challenge our sacred cows. I’m like, no, you have to kill them. Take them out back. Sometimes, you need graphic images and language. So that’s emotion. And there’s been, when I say recent, I’m in research, probably talking about the last ten years, research shows the activity in our central nervous system. The brain and the system, and how emotion affects our thinking and thinking affects our emotion. So, it’s bi-directional. Then I see a bear, I get afraid, and I run, or I see a bear, I run, and then I get afraid. Who cares? It’s not linear. Then the third thing is what we’ve been talking about already, which is habits of behavior. Leaders have to understand. They don’t have to, but really great leaders understand the power of habits. I’ll give you an example. A leader that I work with, a CEO, has this thing that got started years ago before he was CEO. Again, because it is a male who uses a pronoun, he didn’t start this, but he feels stuck with it. It’s an elaborate picnic that happens multiple, I think it’s quarterly. It costs the company a lot of money. They are looking at all kinds of costs right now. Sure. He talked to me about… By the way, this really irritates him. He’s really mad about it. He said, I just have to pull a plug on this. And I said, Wait a second. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, but let’s think about it from the perspective of the person who works in a cubicle here who as his living under the do more with less.

I mean, what organization does that not apply to these days? And so, what I’m talking to him or what I spoke with him about, this has been a while ago, was what can he do to replace that with something else? And so, he came up with something that he could do. I won’t tell you what it was because it’s too specific. And I can’t identify my clients. That’s part of the deal.

Yes.

Just to summarize, think about your thinking and tuning into your emotions, especially if you’re a denier. Suppose you’re a denier like the guy that at me. It’s okay. We’ve all been trained. We’ve all gone to the training classes. We’re not going to deny our emotions and not admit them. It’s okay, but you can at least do it to yourself. And then look at your habits of behavior. We know that when someone wants to change a habit, an easy way to do it is to create a queue for themselves that’s tied to something they’re already doing. It’s like putting a hook in your environment. You can’t. Now, you and I are on video. Your listeners are only listening. But if I look away from my screen, just to the right of my computer, on the floor, there’s a set of dumbbells. Now, why are those there? Because when my Apple Watch tells me to stand up, I can stand up, pick up dumbbells, and do some bicep curves.

That’s smart.

Yeah, march in place. And I can I can do that. And the research on exercise shows that even brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief, brief exercise that’s intense is good for us. So, I’m a writer and a consultant, and I sit a lot. Sure. That’s the way I’m trying to mitigate that. Leaders can think about what the collective habits of people are, how they can alter them, and how they can make fun of them sometimes. How can they actually alter behavior and turn it into something fun?

Really interesting. I know when we first connected, one of the things you talked about was around pausing and stopping in terms of decision-making. When to act, when not to act. Tell me more about it.

That’s a big one. Well, I think that the cue that I like to offer is if you feel anxiety. Now, no professional engineer likes to admit that they have anxiety. Let’s pretend. Let’s call it discomfort. You feel tension. Let’s call it tension. You feel tension, you feel pressure, whether it’s your own pressure or your environment, your colleagues, or your boss, that they want an answer. They want a decision from you. If nothing’s on fire, no toxic fumes are billowing, and nothing dangerous is happening, do not allow yourself to get caught up in someone else’s urgency. I’ve heard this, but I can’t say that I know it to be true because I didn’t hear it from her lips. But Carol Thomey is the CEO of UPS, and she was the CFO and an EVP at the Home for many years. She’s a leader I admire greatly. I refer to her. I pay attention to what she does. I’ve met her twice but in one of those big events with 200 people. But I’ve heard that she has a saying, which is, If you need an answer now, the answer is no.

Interesting.

I think that’s a great one. I hope it’s true that she said it. I want to believe she said it. She might have said something like it. But I should just try to get in touch with her and ask her if it’s true. That’s a responsible thing to do, wouldn’t it? But I think for your listeners, that when you have a consequential decision, you have to say no to urgency unless it’s an emergency, in which case it’s no longer consequential, it’s an emergency. The mistake we make is that we’ll habitually make a decision where we think the risk is low, and it turns out the risk isn’t.

As low as you think, correct?

Yeah. That’s another thing where you need to use metacognition. I like to tell people that if you’re choosing what ice cream flavor to order and you’re in front of me in line in the ice cream store, you better not deliberate because you will hear my foot tapping or something. I was like, I don’t know. Do I want this or that? And I’m like, get them both. What’s the harm? I mean, unless you have a dietary issue.

Sure.

But the problem is our assessments of the level of risk of things can be off because we’re human, and we over-rely on simplification and habit. And that’s why I wrote mental leadership to encourage people to pull up, to pull back, to lean out, and to say, here’s a methodology I can use when I think it’s important to use it. It’s not a methodology that I think everybody should use all the time. For Pete’s sake, we have stuff to do. I don’t deliberate in front of my Nespresso machine. Press the button. I habitually make a half-caf, and then the second cup is full, and then after that, it’s more decaf; the less I get, the more I already am.

But I think it’s a good reminder because we always talk about pausing work and stopping work in safety. Whenever something doesn’t feel right in an environment, you have to pause, reflect, and say, okay, what’s wrong? Almost everybody I’ve talked to who’s been in a serious incident and survived often recognizes I had this tingling feeling something was off.

Yes.

But I confirmed to myself that it was okay. Okay. How do I get that sensation? Just like when you feel that you’re getting rage in the scenario of the risk officer screaming at you. Usually, you can see the signs of your blood pressure going up. That should be a trigger to say then, okay, what do I do to calm myself down so I don’t have this trigger?

Precisely.

I think that’s a good reminder because it’s embedded in safety.

You said it beautifully, and I’ll tag onto that, that we call all emotions feelings for a reason, but we don’t think about this. Emotion, madness, sadness, happiness, and ecstasy are the cognitive concepts and constructs that we have language to describe. But what are we describing? We’re describing the sensations. Everybody can probably recall being on a date with somebody they are enchanted by. Just enchanted. What happens to us physiologically? We get warmer, and our pupils dilate. All kinds of things happen physiologically, and we like that. That’s pleasant. But I did have a clue when we feel worried about, oh, like you said, the people you’ve worked with and spoken with said. Something didn’t seem right. And so, I will often say, I’ll ask people I’m working with, once I have this relationship with them, you can’t start like this because it’s too woo-woo. But I’ll say to a CEO, what was the clue physiologically? And they’ll say I was gritting my teeth, or I felt like I wasn’t making a grip with my hands, but I wanted to. And I tell them not to leave the physiological cue as an irrelevant experience.

Use it as a clue. The cues are clues. And you just said it really, really well a minute ago. And I think your listeners can… I hope they can all relate to that. And we use it for positive, too. Sure. Falling in love is not a cognitive process. Now, you may be falling in love, and at the same time, you have your checklist. I did.

Do you have a checklist?

On my first few dates with my now husband of many years, I was like, okay, he’s smart. He’s funny. He has good long-term friendships. To try not to make a decision based solely on the fact that he has piercing eyes. That was also true. But I tried to insert a little bit of stuff that didn’t feel quite so out of control. We can do both. We can have the fun and the elation of a project that goes well, or you can celebrate great safety outcomes. By the way, The Boeing Max Plan, the transportation people in the US have decided that it’s okay for those planes to fly again.

The MAX 9, yeah.

As long as they inspect them. Do you understand that? What’s your point of view on that?

What I would say first is we’ll know more down the road because it always takes time to go through it. What I’m reading now is there were some significant manufacturing defects that were regularly happening, and that they appeared to have been ignored. Again, news gathering may or may not prove to be accurate, but there were repeatable issues that were identified, including on that specific aircraft. So it had to do with parts not being installed properly or missing. And so, if that’s really the case, then once you inspect and you validate the parts are there, which should have happened in quality control at the production line, then you should be okay. Yeah. The Max 8 was a different issue. It was more problematic to me because that had to do with sensors. In aviation, you never have two sensors that are off, and one supersedes the other. If you look at that sensor that exists on an Airbus, there’s a third sensor, which basically does the decision-making to say, if one is off, let’s trust two of them. So, that was an odd decision that was made at the front end.

See? There you go. Yes. Just to your point, that’s a decision.

I thought about it as you talked; I’m glad I asked you that question. Would you fly on one of those planes?

I’ll see a few hours of flying before jumping on a MAX IX. That would be my answer.

I might be putting you in an awkward position.

But the MAX-8, I have. It was probably after the first crash that I stopped flying on the MAX, and I would reroute around it Because it didn’t feel right. And after all the due diligence that’s happened, I’ve fallen on the max eight multiple times, and I’m comfortable. Okay. Max nine, I’ll wait a little bit.  

Okay, see.

Because this is one decision that went wrong, my worry is, how many other things do we not yet know that went into the decision-making? Because of some of the latest reports on the max nine, some people found some parts that shouldn’t have been on the part when they opened the sections and things like that. Again, that’s anecdotal at this stage, but it smells of that’s the one thing we know now and what other decisions happened.

Well, I always like to think about the systemic forces that allow a mistake to be repeated and perpetuated because, to your point, the same systemic forces that allowed that also allow other things.

Correct. That’s my worry in all of this. But next time I book a flight, I’m going to have to call you and check the aircraft. Check the plane. I don’t know if Delta has that. No. If you fly Delta, they don’t have it in the fleet at the moment, so you’re safe.

Okay. Because I live in Atlanta. And it’s so funny because I’ll get on a plane, and sometimes the pilot will come out and speak to passengers. I was like, Thank you for your loyalty. And I just want to roll my eyes and go, I live in Atlanta. It’s a choice. I mean, really.

Constance, It has been fantastic having you on the show. Really appreciate your time. Great insights. I’ll definitely be picking up your book, Meta Leadership. If somebody wants to contact you, what’s the best way to do it?

They can go to my website, which is my name, which will be in your show notes. I won’t even try to spell it here. I’m easy to find. You can send me an email, or you can call me. My mobile number is on the website, and I publish every two weeks, bi-weekly. You never know what that means, right? I publish a newsletter on LinkedIn every couple of weeks on issues of leadership and decision-making and organizational culture and things like that. But thank you for having me. It’s been really fun, and you have added so much to my thinking that will be fruitful for my clients. I thank you on their behalf.

But thank you for sharing your ideas around decision-making because it’s such a critical theme when it comes to safety. We just talked about the Max 9 and the decision-making there.

Yeah, it is very relevant.

Thank you so much. Take care.

Thank you. Okay, you too!

Thank you for listening to The Safety Guru on C-suite Radio. Leave a legacy. Distinguish yourself from the past. Grow your success. Capture the hearts and minds of your teams. Elevate your safety. Like every successful athlete, top leaders continuously invest in their safety leadership with an expert coach to boost safety performance. Begin your journey at execsafetycoach.com. Come back in two weeks for the next episode with your host, Eric Michrowski. This podcast is powered by Propulo Consulting.  

The Safety Guru with Eric Michrowski

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ABOUT THE GUEST

Dr. Constance Dierickx is a sought-after advisor to boards and senior executives in high-stakes situations, including strategic pivots, CEO transitions, board conflicts, and crises. Her merger and acquisition clients succeed 400% more often than the average. One public company client saw a 100% increase in share price two years post-deal. A company in the financial industry worked with Constance to quickly resolve a conflict between the board and CEO that threatened to derail the strategy and tarnish their reputation.  

Constance has consulted with dozens of boards and over 500 executives on five continents. Her clients include Fortune 50 companies, high-tech start-ups, large hospital systems, boutique consulting firms, and private equity portfolio companies. Clients call her “The Decision Doctor®.” She has helped clients increase share price (1400% for a retail brand), revenue (27%), and margin. CEO transition clients retain over 90% of unsuccessful internal candidates who contribute for at least three years after the transition.   

Recognized as an expert on governance and executive leadership, Constance has been interviewed by National Public Radio for Marketplace Morning, The Wall Street Journal, and Chief Executive and writes for Harvard Business Review and Forbes as well as Directorship, Boards and Directors, and Corporate Board Member.

Constance has taught at Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, and for the National Association of Corporate Directors and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow.

In 2021, The Society for the Advancement of Consulting named her Consultant of the Year in recognition of her achievements and contributions to the profession. Prior to starting her own firm, she led the Board Services practice for a global boutique firm. She is the author of High Stakes Leadership (2017), The Merger Mindset (2018), the forthcoming Meta-Leadership – See What Others Don’t and Make Great Decisions (2023), and The Vibrant Board (2023.)

She is Vice-Chair of the board of Mary Baldwin University, former chair of the board for The Partnership Against Domestic Violence, and past president of OnBoard. She is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, The Association for the Advancement of Consulting, and Marshall Goldsmith’s MG100 Coaches.

Constance received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Asheville, with faculty bestowed “high honors.”  Her M.A. and Ph.D. are from Georgia State University, where she studied psychology and decision science. Constance enjoys cooking and exploring the history of cuisines around the world, traveling, and she has an inexplicable fascination with boxing. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, Michael. 

For more information: https://constancedierickx.com/

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