Goal Setting and Zero

When we set goals, they are never neutral or objective and they all come with competing goals, by-products and trade-offs. This is illustrated in the SPoR Goal setting semiotic (See Figure 1. Goal Setting)

Figure 1. Goal Setting

The same occurs with any design, there are competing affordances built into designs and systems and many do not consider these when they set goals or design systems. This is because the by-products of goals operate in the human and collective unconscious. That is, many don’t know what is happening unconsciously until the outcome of the by-product comes to the surface. We see this in the Deep Water Horizon disaster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_explosion ). On the day BP was handing out medals for years without injury, 11 workers were killed and 1.3 million litres of crude oil spilled into the Mexico Gulf each day.

Sometimes, avoidance goals are much stronger than the promoted goals. This is because unseen and unconscious dynamics are at work which people don’t consider in goals setting and strategy making. In the BP disaster Zero had created unconscious levels of hiding and resistance, all under the FIGJAM factor (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=FIGJAM). Nothing works better than safety arrogance to guide hubris, selective deafness, under-reporting and delusion, than Zero.

There are also layers in goals in low (physical), medium (psychological) and high (cultural) space that are rarely considered. This is illustrated at Figure 2. Goal Layers.

None of this is ever discussed in safety not the ideology of Zero.

Figure 2. Goal Layers

Most goals set by zero organisations are lower-order goals, this is because Zero convinces them that only physical counting matters. Under the delusions that injury rates are a measure of safety, all that matters is counting. Meanwhile, the many competing psychological and cultural avoidance goals, run under the radar. You can read how this operated in the Deep Water Horizon disaster here: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-OILCOMMISSION/pdf/GPO-OILCOMMISSION.pdf

Unless these two dynamics illustrated in the two semiotics at Figures 1 and 2 are considered most will set naïve goals, binary goals and ignore all that operates under the surface until one day, ka-boom, the reality comes to the surface.

This is how the ideology and Archetype of Zero works. Zero creates a set of avoidance goals and over time, these are much more powerful than injury rates counting. And when one’s definition of culture is ‘what we do around here’ then, all the ingredients combine to create ‘safety ignorance’ and pleasant comfort.

Nothing is more dangerous to safety than blind ignorance and head-in-the sand safety.

If you want to learn how all this works you can start a study in SPoR (https://spor.com.au/september-canberra-workshop/ ) or download the latest book on Zero (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/zero-the-great-safety-delusion/). The face -to-face workshops in Canberra in September (with Dr Long and Dr Ashhurst) are the only fac- to-face workshops offered in 2023. The next face to face workshops will be in 2024.

When we are asked by organisations to undertake the MiProfile diagnostic (https://www.humandymensions.com/services-and-programs/miprofile/ ), we are quickly able to tell organisations what is running under the radar and ready to blow. If you would like a MiProfile assessment, contact here: admin@humandymensions.com


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