IHS FAIRPLAY

Danish Maritime Days 2016

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18 | October 2016 | Fairplay.IHS.com ↘ Success in business is part of corporate memory.Thewayitwashandledornothandled,and thelessonsthatwerelearnedornotlearnedareall integraltoaculturethatmakesabusinesswhatitis. Many companies seem to have embraced that memory so thoroughly that it has come to act as a straitjacket, preventing fresh ideas and creativity. In these cases, management appears to exist to preserve memory. However, while it has the benefit of encouraging loyalty, an overemphasis on memory leads to an inability to take courageous decisions. While Japanese tech giant Sony failed to move on from the success its Walkman had become, Californian tech start-up Apple focused on a small product range that constantly evolved. Accidentsandincidentsarealsopartofthat corporatememory.Safetyisaculture,notasetof rules,andthatcultureisonlyvalidwhenthereisclear encouragementtopassitontonewermembersofthe businessteam.Oneissuethathasbecomeaconcernfor corporatememory,thebroadercorporateculture,and Memory's role in a safety culture maritimesafetyacrosstheboard,istheshiftin thinkingbetweenthegenerationsaboutworkitself. WhereasBabyBoomerswereencouragedtobuilda careeroveralifetime,Millennialsareentirely comfortablemovingbetweenjobseverytwoorthree years.Thereishardlytimetobecomeimmersedinthe essentialsofcorporatememorybeforethesirenvoice ofchangeassertsitself. Thathasimplicationsfortheflowofknowledgeand experiencefromolderemployeestoyoungercol- leagues.Companiesinthemaritimebusinessareno lessengagedintryingtomaintainprogress,onboard shiporinthemanagementoffice,whenone-fifthof thestaffarecountingdownthedaystoretirementand one-fiftharethinkingofamoveelsewhere.Ifthe cultureofsafetyispartofcorporatememory,that cultureisbeingweakenedyearafteryear. In a mid-2000 issue of HarvardBusinessReview, it was suggested that only by remembering the past as we effect change upon constant change can we avoid making the same old mistakes. And with whom does that corporate memory reside? Not in dusty histories or chief executives' speeches somewhere on a hard drive, but in long-stay employees. Companies need chief memory officers "with the clout to make themselves heard", it was argued, whose role would be to informally review past projects – whether successful or unsuccessful – before innovations are launched or relaunched. 'Captains and senior officers are the de facto chief memory officers on board any ship' FAIRPLAY Industry insight

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