Mike Mullane Is A Top Astronaut & Highly rated Safety Speaker
Mike has had a celebrated NASA & Air Force Career. He flew 134 combat missions during his career with the Air Force & three missions with NASA. After retiring Mike published an autobiography, Riding Rockets: The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut, that details his life before and during the space program. Nowadays Mike draws from his work experiences and is known as a top motivational safety speaker in his field. Mike is now offering his motivational safety presentation in a virtual format.
In his virtual safety program, “Countdown To Safety”, Astronaut Mike Mullane delivers an incredible message on the individual’s role in keeping themselves and their team’s safe in risky conditions. Mike presents this subject with a recount of his very own near-death experience in a fighter jet, when he neglected to speak up about an unsafe situation. He assumed another crew member, with more flying time experience, “knew best” about the safety of their operations, never surrender your responsibility for safety to someone else. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, it’s crucial to never be a “safety passenger”.
Another critical message within Mullane’s “Countdown To Safety” program is his discussion on “Normalization of Deviance”. He uses the space shuttle Challenger calamity to define this, its safety consequences, and how you can safeguard yourself and team from this phenomenon. The team had gotten away with so many times, the deviance had been normalized into the team’s decision-making process. Challenger was a “predictable surprise”.
Mike knows many people perform jobs in hazardous environments everyday and in that regard you’re not unlike astronauts and we both are doing our job and hazardous environments. In these situations you want a team that is world class in safety behind us and to be world-class in safety every team member must be on guard against this dangerous phenomena. The normalization of deviance is repeatedly accepting deviances from safety best practices until such behavior becomes the norm for the end of individual and or the collective team. At an individual level you could be under some type of pressure on the job your in a hazardous environment. That pressure temps you and you succumb to that temptation to take a safety shortcut to accommodate that pressure and you get away with it. You took a risk and you get away with it what does that do? You immediately get this false feedback that you’re able to manage the risk that it is an absolute as you’ve been trained to know but rather it’s something you can manage. What’s liable to happen the next time you find yourself in the same circumstances that motivated you into taking the safety shortcut in the first place. Well you’re going to have that experience to fall back on I took the shortcut before I manage that risk you’ll do it again and you do it again. Eventually that behaviour becomes normal work in the grips of normalization of deviance. You believe you can manage a risk that you had previously trained and know to be absolute. What happens with normalization of deviance is it leads to predictable surprises and you can just write in your worst nightmare right here because that is what you will find at the end of the road of normalizing deviance.
The space shuttle Challenger was lost in 1986, killed Seven astronauts including four of my astronaut classmates. That is a tragic and graphic example of normalization of deviance at work because it was a four-year normalization of deviance process that brought down the space shuttle Challenger. Telling the story of Challenger is important so we can learn some lessons from it to better protect ourselves from this very dangerous phenomena. Most people refer to it as is terrible accident, Challenger was no accident.
Challenger was a predictable surprise due to a normalization of deviance and it was a predictable surprise. In this business it doesn’t get any better than to get the piece back and see what was the case with the solid rocket booster. Challenger in every since of these words was a predictable surprise. This brings us to the question why did this happen when there were four years of warnings that it was going to happen and yet flights continued uninterrupted to the destruction of Challenger and the loss of Seven Astronauts. If you are looking to hire a safety motivational speaker for your Corporate Safety Meeting, Mike is available virtually and eventually for your live event when things return to normal.
Editor’s Closing Note:
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