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“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill was supposed to have said. It was good advice but perhaps not too helpful. What leaders under pressure really need are strategies and techniques to be able to the handle errors and mistakes that inevitably beset all organizations at some time.
The concept behind a unique program at ESMT is that active ‘error management’ should be an integral part of corporate practice, but that most companies are not even aware that error management exists or they misunderstand it as a system for error avoidance.
"In management we tend to focus on success stories. But I was more interested to learn why strong organizations were involved in disasters or bankruptcies, especially when their managers had a solid professional background. By looking at a number of cases, the issue of error communication came up repeatedly." says Professor Jan Hagen, author of ‘Confronting Mistakes’ and leader of the ESMT program.
Beyond reducing pressure and handling mistakes effectively, the other aspect to error management is that innovation – key to 21st century business success – involves error. The process of innovating new business models and processes is one inextricably linked to making errors. Several studies have shown that companies can learn as much of business value from negative outcomes than positive ones; so companies that exclusively focus on error prevention policies rather than active error management also risk stymieing innovation.
Drawing on the experience of the high-risk aviation industry, which focuses on preparing its staff to solve life threatening situations, ESMT’s Leadership under Pressure (LUP) program offers ways to proactively manage pressure, errors, and crises in complex organizations. It shows how a diagnostic concept is the first step toward a modern working environment in which critical situations serve as learning opportunities. Key topics include:
Avoiding the blame game
Maintaining control in dynamic and fluid situations
Assessing different crisis stages
Driving decision-making processes in dynamic and high-workload situations
Leading teams during crises
Understanding the prerequisites for error management
Overcoming potential obstacles
Exercises in real flight simulators of Lufthansa Flight Training
A short video from ESMT: Error Management - the missing factor in today's organizations
In a recent letter to the deans of its business school members, Lise Hammergren, UNICON Board Chair, offers her observations on the current state of university-based executive education and a view of the future
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