#7 Leveraging PIOSEE and NITS in a Time of Massive Uncertainty

Execute. Options are worthless without swift and effective execution.

The coronavirus has created widespread uncertainty and fear throughout all global markets. Regardless of the size or sector, leaders within small and large businesses alike are crunching numbers like hell, trying their best to minimize the economic pain from this Black Swan event.

As contemplating the next steps, in my opinion business leaders should leverage two specific mental models. They are PIOSEE and NITS. These frameworks originated in the airline industry, yet they are certainly applicable to companies of all shapes and sizes. Ultimately, PIOSEE and NITS can help you and your companies better react to this crisis and emerge with minimal scrapes and bruises.

PIOSEE and NITS: A Brief Explainer

PIOSEE and NITS are acronyms for procedures that pilots follow when they are reacting to crises. Pilots are renowned for following checklists, as they have been shown to reduce errors and save lives. In effect, PIOSEE and NITS take on this checklist-like attribute, allowing pilots to act swiftly to mitigate risk.

So let’s start with PIOSEE. A breakdown of the acronym is below:

● P stands for problem. It requires you to swiftly identify the problem at hand.
● I stands for information. Here, you need to gather information about the problem that is occurring.
● O stands for options. With the gathered information about the problem, you and your team generate options to solve the problem.
● S stands for select. You need to select an option after efficiently evaluating the alternatives.
● E stands for execute. Options are worthless without swift and effective execution.
● E stands for evaluate. After execution, you and your team evaluate the process, noting places for improvement.

As you can see, PIOSEE is a brief, yet effective way for pilots to identify problems, develop solutions, work to solve the problem, and improve your problem-solving process. But what about NITS? NITS comes into play after pilots (and corporate leaders) have proceeded through PIOSEE. Essentially, it informs the team about the decision made and the steps forward. Specifically, NITS involves the following:

● N stands for nature of the emergency. It summarizes the emergency that is occurring.
● I stands for intentions. Here, you are telling your team what your plans are to address the problem.
● T stands for time available. This is self-explanatory.
● S stands for special instructions. Any specific deviations or exceptions to normal operating procedures should be noted here.

Ultimately, the combination of PIOSEE and NITS ensures that your organization is developing well-thought solutions to a problem and getting your entire team on board. One leg cannot exist without the other. The perfect strategy and solution cannot overcome a confused or disorganized team. The best and most informed team cannot solve a problem without a well-crafted strategy.

Therefore, when navigating all of the uncertainty and fear from coronavirus, try employing PIOSEE and NITS in your decision-making process. Like any other system, it will require buy-in from both management and the entire staff. You will have to experiment and iterate as you implement these frameworks throughout your organization.

Nonetheless, PIOSEE and NITS can be an extremely important tool. Don’t hesitate to use it as your organization navigates through all of these immediate economic challenges.


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Steffen Bäuerle

… spreading thoughts on SMB (#Mittelstand), culture, career, technology and life lessons. #30by50 (30 blogs in 50 weeks).