Inspiration – from cancellation!

I do like to reflect ideas and inspirations from my working life (and sometimes from my family life) into my work Blog. But how can I find inspiration when the first act of the working week is met with:

‘Train cancelled’

due to;

‘shortage of train crew availability’.

I managed to get up and out of bed but it appears that someone else either did not want to or couldn’t. It was a big shame for the train load of people that then had to squash into the next train. Like the person who breaks down on the motorway and holds up thousands of people while they are towed off. Clearly it’s tough for the individuals concerned but the impact is out of all proportion to their difficulty or illness.

What can ‘brittle’ transport systems teach us about decision-making?

What happens at work if a lot of people are waiting on a decision? A re-location, or a pay deal or an investment decision? What pressure does that create on the decision-maker? How does that pressure aid or impeded their ability to decide? Sometimes the pressure means they go with the ‘popular’ option or go without the full analysis being done. Sometimes the pressure goes the other way and they might retreat and say ‘no’ if they feel boxed in.

So how do we avoid the;

‘cancellation of decision due to lack of small bit of information’


How about we:

  • Look ahead….
  • Plan the effort and activity required to support the decision
  • Work out who can deputise and when (keep those trains running…)
  • Design an explicit evaluation framework – so we know what information or aspects are we waiting for?
  • Rehearse the ‘Three Treatments’ of risk;
    • Remove the risk
    • Mitigate the risk
    • Accept the risk


So the next time your week starts with an unwelcome delay (possibly tomorrow!) – you could do worse that use that time to reflect on how to lift the performance bar in your own organisational processes around decision-making.

Happy strike dodging.

Link to the picture:


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