A Formal System-of-Success Gives You Your Best Chance for Great Success and Your Best Protection Against Disaster and Failure

With thousands of ways to fail, and only one best way to do each job, you really do need to use and follow a system-of-success when risk demands it

The Situational Risk Dictates When You Need To Build A System To Ensure You Always Do Those Things That Guarantee Your Greatest Chance Of Success Every Time


You’re human and humans make mistakes—lots of them everyday. The image below warns that 10 errors per 100 opportunities to 30 errors per 100 opportunities is typical for trained people not using a prescribed system-of-success. Mistakes happen to all of us. The more complicated the job and the more stressful the situation the higher is your error rate. If you think you do top class work, you’re being very generous to yourself. It’s impossible to be human and to always be that good, unless you follow a prescribed process for sure success. Only robots can reach and sustain perfection in their work because they always follow a program guaranteed to do work perfectly (which explains why robots will be used to replace humans every where possible). You too will make few mistakes if you follow a scripted program intentionally constructed to get 100% successful results.

A System-of-Success is how you maximize the chance to do your excellent work every time


Everything that you do, every decision you make, and every action you take can go badly wrong in ways you imagined, and in ways you never imagined. When the consequences of your failure are unacceptable, then build a System-of-Success to follow so that the random situational events and unintended variability that lead to disaster are prevented. It’s the best way known to proactively eliminate those unwanted, and the unknown, risks.

You will protect yourself against failure, and guarantee your utmost chance of success, by exactly following a clearly defined and highly detailed System-of-Success. In a system-of-success you do the set task in the prescribed way, and only that way, because it’s proven to guarantee the utmost successful outcomes. Experimentation and trialing of new ideas are welcome, but they are done in controlled experiments and tests. Only when a new approach is proven to bring greater success does it supersede the existing practice.

A System-of-Success is the Best Way to Do Right Every Time

The research tells us that once we follow a formalized methodology we will substantially reduce our error rate. The more defined the process, and the more specific its procedures, the greater is the success rate. That relationship has been tested and proven time after time. Why do you think that for some 60 years USA nuclear powered ships have never had reactor melt-downs? Because every person building them, everyone supplying the parts and materials, and the men and women running the reactors follow exact procedures that stop failures and ensure excellence. It’s why flying in aircraft is now the safest way to travel when measured by failure events per distance covered—aircraft maintenance is done to exacting, comprehensive procedures that also require proof the work is done correctly.

The Challenger space shuttle disaster would never have happened had the written procedures for launches been followed. The hole in the wing of the Columbia shuttle would have been found had the re-entry procedures included inspection of the heat protection panels after ‘foam strikes’ during take-off. When there are no fully comprehensive, defined criteria procedures, or when the specified procedures are not followed, it is always but a matter of time before disaster strikes.

Building an Accuracy Controlled Enterprise 3T System-of-Success

A system-of-success is a systematic way to guarantee maximum success in jobs with bad consequential risk. A system-of-success is built to system reliability engineering principles because they maximize the chance of success. You build a system-of-success to tell you what is the right way to do each task. And to tell you how to do each activity in a task to get the best possible results. It starts by developing a detailed flow chart of all the process steps to complete a job. Next, you explain each process step in a clearly described procedure. You set measurable, defined criteria performance standards needed to do each task perfectly and to tell you when a task is done badly.

Lifetime Reliability Solutions uses the Accuracy Controlled Enterprise 3T methodology to design and build a system-of-success. You can follow this link to read about Human Error Prevention with Accuracy Controlled Enterprise 3T Procedures.

Because you’re heavily biased in favor of yourself you can’t write sound ACE 3T procedures for yourself. You’ll miss recording all the details since you already know them and think some are so obvious that they don’t need to be explained. It’s the reason that aircraft procedures are written by the designer and not the pilot or the maintenance technician. The first question an aircraft mechanic asks on any job is, “Where’s the approved procedure?” They have been inculcated to only trust and follow the one specified way to do successful work.

It’s easy to understand why following a system-of-success is best. It contains the best way known to always be 100% successful. Its documents are written by subject matter experts. They’re developed in controlled conditions by people with clear heads and the time to think without the worry and stress of other work. They contain all the right information about each task’s required outcomes and how to do them perfectly. The contents of draft procedures are reviewed by other experts and improved. They are trialed in laboratory tests and refined. They become quality controlled documents always kept up to date with the most current knowledge and methods to be used. It’s hard to fail if you follow the approved system-of-success.

Technology now lets you be 100% successful forevermore. Heads-up display glasses and mobile computer devices can proactively guide you through a procedure. They let you know what’s coming up. They let you check yourself against the prescribed method. They connect you with subject matter experts who you can ask for information. They track the history of a job task-by-task so you can spot causes of problems. They let you do experiments and trials and then compare the new outcomes against the old practices to see which one gets the best results.

We all make mistakes. In fact we need to make mistakes to learn—that’s how the design of the human brain works. But you can’t have mistakes when it brings on disaster.

All the very best to you,

Mike Sondalini
Lifetime Reliability Solutions