Disastrous events are seemingly inevitable. From major embarrassment to loss of life: the Oscars announcing the wrong winner, Volkswagen cheating on emissions tests, Wells Fargo creating fake customer accounts, a news organization gets the story wrong, an airline crashing an airplane, a hospital inadvertently killing a patient. Yet, dealing with disasters like these is a subject missing in virtually every MBA program. Particularly when it comes to managing the employees involved. Until now.
A revolution in workplace accountability has been underway within high consequence industries. The Joint Commission (healthcare’s accreditor), the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), the American Nurses Association (ANA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), medical schools and many others are endorsing and incorporating Just Culture and shared accountability into their operations. The “Just Culture” creates a safety culture where employees are judged based on the quality of their choices rather than solely on the severity of the outcome of their actions. David Marx is widely known as the father of the Just Culture movement.
Dave’s Subs: A Novel Story on Workplace Accountability was released in November 2015. The fictional sub shop faces a lawsuit over an employee mistakenly giving a gluten-filled bread roll to a woman with celiac disease (a genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine) – who happens to be an attorney. In the midst of a media storm and legal onslaught that threatens the shop’s very existence, the owner chooses not to fire his employee. A noble decision but one that leaves the shop manager, Milo, to operationalize the decision. It’s an instructional tale for every CEO, director or manager who’s had to learn how to hold employees accountable – and for every employee who wants to be treated fairly.