What voice is loudest?

It should have been a straightforward decision.

When the emergency brake on the cable car kept engaging for no good reason, the operator should have closed and fixed the funicular.

Instead, a technician decided to deactivate the emergency brake. The funicular had just reopened after several months of closure because of COVID. There were hundreds of tourists hoping to enjoy the ride up from Lake Maggiore. There was money to be made.

The cable snapped and, without its emergency brake, the car reeled backwards before crashing to the ground and killing 14 people.

We don’t yet know all the facts. But we know that the technician considered the pros and cons of his decision before making it. His mental chatter took into account the tourists wanting to ride, the operator needing revenue, the fact that everyone was looking to him to put the car back into service.

As he heard all these voices, did he also hear the voice of the operator saying that safety was paramount? A voice saying that a few thousands euros wasn’t worth a single loss of life, or even minor injuries, or simply the risk thereof? If he didn’t hear those voices, then why? Was it because this message was never conveyed to him? Or was it conveyed but unconvincingly? Or was the message contradicted by so many others clamoring for efficiency and profit?

What is the loudest voice in your employees’ heads?

Is it one of safety and ethics?

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