Monday, October 25, 2010

The Future Of Training As I See It- Employee leadership

The current state of safety training for many organizations looks like:
  • Compliance programs have had little to no change in years. They are stale and uninteresting
  • Smaller staff  has lead to videos or web based training. This continual cost pressure has all but eliminated the more effective stand up training that employees benefited from in the past
  • The above results in a “check in the box” mentality to safety training that affects morale, as a general disinterest in safety topics becomes endemic.
Global forward thinking companies are involving their hourly work force in Continuous Improvement teamwork. The better organizations are focused on transforming their cultures in production, quality, customer service and safety to hourly involvement and ownership of their workspace: activities, deliverables and accountabilities.
The hourly employee delivers the product, its quality, its timing and their own safety and that of others. The focus is becoming “the hourly employee as CEO of their 10x12.” After all, as my papa once told me, “We pay for the body and the mind comes for free.”

The workforce culture in the next five years will continue this migration toward a culture of hourly ownership of all that they need to do to deliver excellence in quality, production, customer service and safety. 

Hourly personnel will start each shift with a 5-10 minute mini training on what applies to their work that day: PPE, forklifts, JSAs, etc. Once they make this shift from listener to do-er, they will become the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that practice and live excellence of all that it takes to become the low cost, high quality, on time producer of the organization’s products. All this while living the zero incident safety culture they train and own on a relentless, never-ending basis.

How does this fit with your organization’s future training plans?

The Doc

Image 1: (C) TOpNews.IN

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chelan County PUD Embraces Safety as a Value with Lasting Effects

The Chelan County PUD has a history of embracing safety as a districtwide value. Safety Director Ron Franklin purchased CoreMedia’s video within a month of its release, and subsequent viewings reinforced not only the value the PUD placed on safety, but a desire to emphasize it in the PUD’s value statements.

Chelan County PUD had previously listed safety as a subcategory of “operational excellence.” Realizing its importance as a foundational business practice, members of the PUDs strategic planning team and the Safety Director wished to highlight safety in its own value statement.  

"Safety is a part of everything we do as a utility, not just a component of operational excellence.  We were in the process of drafting a strategic plan for our utility and in the process reviewed our value statements and felt safety was important enough to single it out.  

We watched ‘Safety as a Value’ and it reinforced the importance of calling it out on its own. Viewing CoreMedia’s film was a useful tool in support of this crucial element,” Ron stated.

Their newly added Safety Value Statement is as follows:

We have a strong commitment to public and employee safety as an integral part of our daily work.  We promote a positive and proactive safety culture with active employee participation.  We strive to prevent every accident and try to learn from those that do happen so they are not repeated.  We have the courage to hold one another accountable for working safely.

Chelan County PUDs efforts to redefine its value statement are an excellent step in the move toward safety being completely integrated into the way they operate. 

 Congratulations, Chelan County PUD. We salute your passion for safety and commitment to a zero incident safety culture!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Sundowner- Your personal culture

Tourist groups in Africa share a universal tradition called “The Sundowner.” After the day’s activities the whole camp gathers around for a time of discussion with beverages and snacks of choice. The day's events, scenery, excitement, and challenges are thoroughly reviewed by all. Personal and group items are noted and shared. Depending on the group (and the beverages) it is not uncommon for the Sundowner to spill over to a “Moonriser.” People across all the diverse cultures take time to relax, get to know each other, and form a bond that is unique to the safari camp culture.

As we discussed all these important to the moment circumstances one evening, a thought came to me about how a similar approach would help my personal family life. But, can I really spare the time to better bond with my family? Rather the question is: Can I really afford to not spare the time to do so? Should not our families be more important than our jobs?

Tonight I plan to engage in a sundowner, and maybe even a moonriser, with my wife. We are both key to our own personal culture that must continue to transcend work. Why shouldn’t we all engage in sundowners/moonrisers with members of our family on a regular basis?

 Let’s strengthen the all important family bond, both at work and at home.

The Doc

Image 1:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lemmings- Avoiding leadership catastrophes

Most animal species have a dominant sex. Either the male or the female takes charge for leadership of the family or group unit. While in Africa I saw the exception to this general rule. That exception is the Wildebeest (sometimes called the Gnu since the noise they make sounds like someone saying the word gnu). They have any number of characteristics that are peculiar to their species. Each year the vast herds of Gnus engage in a gigantic on going migration. Some 2 million of these animals traipse from one end of the Serengeti to the other and back again traveling thousands of miles while doing so. During the migration about 200,000 to 300,000 of their number loose their lives to all sorts of dangers: Crocodiles, Hyenas, Lions, rivers, lakes, Vultures and the like. As a result the Wildebeest is a major ingredient in the food chain of their parts of Africa.

I guess there are a number of reasons for this carnage. However, the one that really stuck out to me was the random leadership of the massive Wildebeest herds. Thousand of the animals mill around in an area until, for some unknown reason, one of them starts the next disaster by diving into a lake, or river, or down a cliff, or the like. Then the thousands in the herd follow blindly to their deaths as the Crocodiles, Lions, Vultures, etc. wait for the inevitable mealtime.

We need to choose our leadership (safety and otherwise) based on observable demonstrated character, competence and integrity. The team then works together with leadership to minimize risks and maximize outcomes (safety and otherwise). Seniority, popularity, dominating personality, sex, status and the like are not viable characteristics for leadership (safety and otherwise). Our lives and careers depend on leadership being done as close to perfection as possible. When it comes to safety (and otherwise) we must not make poor choices that have us stepping over the cliffs of risks like Wildebeests (the Lemmings of Africa).

Is it OK to have safety leaders who come from the hourly ranks? The salaried ranks? Who have no safety certification? My answer to these questions is: “Yes, if the observable character of these leaders is what it needs to be.” Don’t get trapped into making an expedient safety leadership decision that in turn can lead to a Wildebeest culture for your organization.

The Doc

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