Khamenei is warned about consequences of his way of leadership and not paying attention to experts’ warnings in critical conditions.
[In this footage by Iranian president’s office, Khamenei is warned about consequences of his way of leadership and not paying attention to experts’ warnings in critical conditions. Dr. Amir Nazemi, head of Future Study Group of Center for Strategic Studies, uses an air crash analogy to make his point about significance of paying attention to others’ admonitions in critical conditions.]
–Crash. Crash is always painful. It is painful for all of us. With any crash, we lose a part of ourselves. Today’s airplanes are built very safely, and for an airplane to clash, there must be at least 7 consecutive human errors.
Air crash happens everywhere. But in some airlines of some countries, there are more air crashes. In 1990s, Korean airline had 17 times more crashes than the world average. The issue was so serious that America banned its employees from flying with this airline, Canadian government didn’t allow its airplanes to land, and Delta and Air France airlines revoked their contracts with it.
The question was: why? Was the cause of crashes technical problems? No, their airplanes weren’t different from others’. Was it due to human resources like training pilots or their fatigue? Again, no. This became the subject of many studies. Studies conducted by Boeing and researches of two linguists – Fisher and Orsano – revealed a big secret to us.
The problem was in the linguistic structure. The problem was in the choice of words for communication. The studies showed that airplanes were crashing for a very simple reason: in critical conditions, no one talked to others with clarity. Linguistic structure in some cultures – due to shame, respect, fear, seniority, or even what we call politeness – is in such a way that in the expert team, for example, co-pilot or flight engineer, cannot not clearly mention the captain’s mistake.
We can divide the sentences from clear imperative sentences to stylized sentences. Studies showed that when co-pilot wants to talk about someone’s mistake, he can use imperative sentences, and for example, say, “Captain, turn right for 30 degrees.” Or he can say in a very stylized manner, “In my humble opinion, perhaps it is better if you change the direction.” The sentence that the co-pilot chooses in that critical condition decides our destiny. The stylized sentence is actually saying, “Captain, don’t recognize me; don’t take me seriously.”
Studying their black boxes showed that in some cultures like that of Korea, the co-pilot or the flight engineer had used very stylized sentences when seeing some mistakes. But in other cultures where there had been clarity and sentences were clear and even imperative, there had been fewer air crashes. Psychological studies on the black boxes showed that even in one case, when the co-pilot knew that the pilot was making a mistake, he wasn’t prepared to take charge of the flight.
And they all lost their lives because of that. Two lessons: 1) Culture, along with technology, determines success or failure. Better airplane is definitely effective, but in critical conditions, co-pilot or even the experts – to prevent silence and big failure – have no other choice but shouting at captain, telling him he is making a mistake.
2) The captain must know that guiding the airplane is a teamwork, and the only way to collective safety is to give freedom to experts or co-pilots and flight engineers to tell him about his mistake clearly. And he must allow the correction to happen. In one of these flights, when a co-pilot had warned the pilot about his mistake, the captain had backhanded him in the face. That flight crashed, and this is what learned from the black box. Captain is in charge of the flight, but he is also in charge of listening to warnings. I am talking about crashing. Any crash. Any crash in which it is not clearly said, “Captain, you are making a mistake.”