Importance of Common Nomenclature

    September 23, 2016 9:19 AM by Dr. Scott M. Shemwell

    Volume 5 Number 18—September 22, 2016

    Unfortunately, I recently had to have a tooth extracted.  No big deal, but certainly not on my bucket list.

    One point of relevance to this discussion revolved around a bit of confusion between myself, my dentist who was on vacation when the original incident that required its removal happened, his partner, the endodontists and finally the oral surgeon.  Sound familiar?

    As a user of dental services, I was dealing with three different independent legal entities, each of which was sharing and/or developing its own data regarding this medical decision.  As a layman I was feeling soreness that appeared to be on one particular tooth; however, the data analysis by the experts (the dentists) indicated it was the adjacent tooth.

    Many know that sometimes dental discomfort can have a phantom pain effect that is felt in a different place than the source of the issue.[i]  Additionally, a patient is often not the best one to diagnose an active medical condition.

    Listening to four different dentists and their various staff who used the same medical verbiage consistently, I misunderstood them completely.  In essence their technical jargon used the same word that my lay jargon told me was a different tooth than the one they were referring too.

    While I am sure the experts would have performed the procedure on the correct tooth, it was reassuring to get this resolved before the extraction process began—my peace of mind!  All’s well that ends well.

    In our work on Operational Excellence and Asset Integrity Management, we have developed the construct of Interdisciplinary Common Vocabulary (ICV).  Most recently, this was mentioned earlier this year in the context of new methods of knowledge management.[ii]

    In any complex environment involving a number of individuals with different skills and diverse yet interrelated tasks with a substantial amount of documentation, the opportunity for error magnifies with each additional individual added.  This is the so-called network effect.

    Often expressed mathematically as n*(n-1)/2, or factorial of n.[iii]  This suggests that for each individual added to a discussion the opportunity for miscommunication grows very quickly.  Factorial grow faster than exponential variables.[iv]

    For example, when two individuals engage the likelihood of miscommunication is mathematically zero for one communication.  When we add a third person the likelihood is six for three discussions among the group.  When the group expands to four (the number in my dentist case), the likelihood of miscommunication grows to 24.[v]

    Imagine what the likelihood of miscommunications when over 1,000 individuals are working on a project!  An ICV is one tool to mitigate this issue.

    In 2002, investigations into a nuclear power plant reactor pressure vessel degradation showed that a root cause was a weak safety culture.  Subsequently, as part of initiatives to increase the Safety Culture in that sector, a series of workshops resulted in the release of the 2014 United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission manuscript, Safety Culture Common Language.[vi]

    Following a 2011 survey titled, Integrity Management: Issues & Trends Facing the 21st Century Energy Industry, we developed the Asset Integrity Management Center of Excellence as shown in the following figure.  It is important to note that ICV plays a key role in the Culture of Safety.

    Sharing a common nomenclature is not just critical for Safety but it is essential if the firm is to attain World-Class Operational Excellence.  As we have shown it is true for small groups and very important in critical infrastructure sectors where large disparate groups are common.

    Does Your Organization and Your Supply Chain share an ICV?

    About the Author

    Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector.  He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of Operations Excellence.  Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management.  He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of social relationships.

    See our Operations Management System solution to obtain Operational Excellence

    Free Economic Value Proposition Matrix version 2.0 (Realize the value of your investment)

    End Notes

     

    [i]  http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/showthread.php?5587-Phantom-Tooth-ache

     

     

    [ii]  Shemwell, Scott M. (2016, July 20). The New Knowledge Management Normal. Governing Energy. PennEnergy.

     

     

    [iii]  http://www.secretgeek.net/miscom

     

     

    [iv]  https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080619104827AAFxdk4

     

     

    [v]  http://www.secretgeek.net/miscom

     

     

    [vi]  http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1408/ML14083A200.pdf

     

     

    Memories

    September 7, 2016 9:49 AM by Dr. Scott M. Shemwell

    Volume 5 Number 17—September 6, 2016

    I was recently watching one of the political pundits on television comment that one candidate was likely to lose because the other candidate had launched a significant media attack.  Typical of assaults that has routinely worked in past elections—the so called conventional wisdom.  This despite what appears to be an increasingly tighter race between one candidate whose approach is different, at the very least and one who is following a more traditional path.

    Regardless of the outcome of this particular political contest, it appears that many are missing what may be a Tsunami of social change.  In both parties, a significant percentage of the US electorate voted for non-traditional candidates in the Presidential primaries.

    Since 2008 the United States voter has elected those promising change.  During this period, it appears that many commentators and political strategists have focused on conventional approaches.  While employing new technologies and methods of getting the message to voters, i.e., social media, the stratagems are largely unchanged.

    Does this suggest that human behavior is not all that different than millenniums ago?  Perhaps, but another fundamental reason may be underlying societal currents.

    For example, traditional voter blocks may be at risk to incumbencies.[i]  One can see this concern/opportunity played out by the behaviors of the two major candidates, their staffs and media reporting.

    Often, these individuals and groups deny what appears to be changing models, i.e., reporting that what so and so is doing has never worked.  This may lead to a false sense of situational awareness.[ii]

    As of this writing, one candidate has tweeted over 33,000 times and has over 11.1 million followers.  The other has tweeted more than 7,665 times and has approximately 8.46 million followers.[iii]

    The candidate with the lowest use of Twitter has invested the most in television ads—the traditional media.  However according to one researcher, media content consumption continues to change, as reflected in the following graphic.[iv]

    Marketers typically fashion advertising campaigns focusing on those who are the most desirable, the so called 18-34 demographic whose “buying habits” have not solidified.[v]  However, if the message to demographic groups does not resonate the opportunity to influence these buyers diminishes.

    Our purpose is not to delve into the political arena.  However, every four years, society is offered a perspective of how all levels of the political class “sells” itself to the citizenry. With seemingly unlimited financial resources, this retail marketing program dwarfs anything private industry ever musters.

    There will be many lessons learned from the 2016 “silly season.”  One may be that even with unlimited funds and/or unfettered use of all forms of content consumption, experts, pundits, the media and candidates will misunderstand their market.

    Through this blog and other content, we have addressed latent social forces that manifest themselves long after they were at work.  Establishment is often the purveyor of the status quo and individuals in these bureaucracies (public and private) have a vested interest in a continuum.

    Disruptive change habitually catches these individuals by surprise and they are often economic laggards in their response.[vi]  Taking their cue from their insular colleagues, these individuals resist the new even when confronted with evidence of its value.

    The so called fast follower is an acceptable business model.[vii] In some cases, it is not. For example, firms may consider themselves fast follower but in reality may be economic laggards.[viii]

    In today’s business environment, the term “we have always done it that way” should fall on deaf ears. The same individuals voting this fall work for organizations, buy from organizations, regulate organizations, and/or interact socially/politically with organizations.

    Media talking heads remembering how elections were won in the past may not understand the current societal forces in play. Human nature is a constant and driven by individual near-term reward mechanisms—latent forces are often ephemeral.

    Lessons learned from this silly season are important to businesses and not just which candidate wins. New buying patterns of the electorate are moving from latent to measureable. Take heed!

    Does your organization really understand how to reach your market?

    About the Author

    has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector.  He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of Operations Excellence.  Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management.  He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; CDr. Scott M. Shemwellross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of social relationships.

    See our Operations Management System solution to obtain Operational Excellence

    Free Economic Value Proposition Matrix version 2.0 (Realize the value of your investment)

    End Notes

    [i]  http://www.npr.org/2016/02/28/467961962/sick-of-political-parties-unaffiliated-voters-are-changing-politics

    [ii]  Shemwell, Scott M. (2016, August 4). Awareness 101. Governing Energy. PennEnergy.

    [iii]  Per candidate Twitter pages.

    [iv]  http://www.thewrap.com/why-the-tv-industry-fears-a-spread-of-millennials-viewing-habits-guest-blog/

    [v]  http://business.time.com/2012/03/16/the-declining-economic-might-of-the-18-to-34-demographic/

    [vi]  http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/laggards.html

    [v