When the CEO suddenly announces to the world’s media that the new plant will be up and running in four weeks instead of the eight they thought they had, Don (the Plant Manager) and Matt (the Start-Up Manager) suddenly find themselves under enormous pressure. The ways in which they decide to save time lead initially to a gas release, but this near miss is nothing compared with what follows. Based on a true story, ‘Cry Wolf’ examines not only the effects of time pressure but also what happens when decisions go unchallenged and a desire to only report good news starts to cloud people’s judgement.


Don: Yeah but look where we are today. We’ve just seen the CEO tell the world that we start producing in four weeks time. Do you think he even realises how many short cuts we’ll have to take? That we can’ walk the line thoroughly before commissioning each part of the plant? That people will have to work longer shifts?.

Matt: He can’t worry about that level of detail. It’s not his job.

Don: I know what you’re saying Matt, but if you were him wouldn’t you want to know?

Matt: He’s got heads of production, heads of safety who report to him. It’s their job to make sure we don’t get it wrong.

Don: We’d better not get it wrong.

Matt: We won’t.

Don: But something will have to give! We’ve just seen the big man tell the world we produce in four weeks. Whoever advised him just left us with a real headache. I feel like shooting off a whole load of angry emails.

Matt: What’s the point? You’ll just get a reputation for making trouble.

Don: I know. I’m just….I wish sometimes people would listen to us.

Matt: Which people?

Don: The ones who told the Chief Exec we’d be ready in four weeks!

Matt: It’s too late now. So how are we going to get this plant up and running according to their timetable?

Don: Well…let’s go see what we can do without.


Major Hazard Organisations
Oil and Gas
Defence Industries
Process Safety
Infrastructure projects

Target Audience

Managers who have attended with operations teams including new starts

Key Themes
  • Poor design decisions
  • Managing pressure
  • A ‘Good News’ culture
  • Attitudes to procedures
  • Critical Conversations