Lockerbie in the Desert and the Missing Root Cause

Christmas is coming soon, and my wish is that we end the hysteria in how we deduce the causes for certain unforeseen events. The tragedy linked to the downing of a Russian aircraft last week in the Sinai is a perfect example.

Apart from the lack of empathy to be found from certain media, one could find a clear form of anchoring being used. Anchoring is when one tries to link 2 or more events, although the relationship is casual. We immediately associate a connection, although the events have no relationship to each other. Because the focus lately has been in shooting aircraft out of the sky, the media automatically assumed this was the cause. ISIS had claimed responsibility for the downing, but the media kept stating there was no proof. Then the pundits started to pontificate about how possible ISIS could even reach an aircraft at such a height.

That somebody could have put a bomb into the aircraft was not an option that was openly discussed.

What’s the solution? How about taking a step back and review all alternatives. Then we can start looking at the probability of each scenario. Had this procedure been used, the option tied to internal explosives would have been raised much earlier, airlines would nave not started to avoid Egyptian airspace, and we would have moved quicker to avoiding such situations in the future.

Let’s go into a time machine and assume the tragedy of last week would have taken place in January, 1989. Our world view would have changed as we would have just had the Lockerbie bombing a month prior, and we would have most likely assumed it was another case of explosives in the cargo. Our deduction could be correct, but it would not be based on logic. Such corollaries are pure luck, and the analysis always leaves waning.


If this piece raised your interest in learning more, you might be interested in my courses on Business Analysis


About the author: Michael Boyle
Michael Boyle
There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than to see people and organizations reach their full potential.
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