6th Annual NSW Major Projects Conference 2014

Safety Excellence Partners will be sponsoring the 6th Annual NSW Major Projects Conference on the 26th and 27th of November. We invite you to visit our stand to talk about how we can support you in finding a smart, integrated and human-centric solution to your safety challenges and help position you for tomorrow’s opportunities.

Safety Excellence Partners aspire to realise the vision of eliminating workplace injury and promoting well-being by working with clients to develop World-Class Safety Leaders and High Performance Safety Cultures. We marry the fundamentals with emerging philosophies and state of the art approaches in the OHS field to produce engaging, transformational programs which include training, coaching, consultation and facilitation.

The Conference will bring together both government and private speakers involved in various key infrastructure projects around the state to provide an insight and update about the funding, status, timelines, opportunities and priorities of these vital projects.

www.safetyexcellencepartners.com

admin@safetyexcellencepartners.com

1300 551 835

 

 

The Trust Paradox: how being a Beacon of Trust can transform your project’s culture and performance

Creative Leaders view projects not so much as a series of tasks to perform (in a static project system), but more as a series of human interactions to navigate the dynamics of a typically “emergent” project system.  With this perspective, the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery process and the final product become more a function of the quality of the human fabric of the project than the application of formal methodologies and processes.

Why is this relevant?

Its core relevance lies in the paradox that we typically commit by far the lion’s portion of our collective focus on the formal methodologies (with limited potential return on investment) and virtually leave the cultivation of the human fabric to chance or, at best, as an after-thought or pay lip service to it (overlooking potentially infinite return on investment given this area need not cost much or take that much time but can deliver outstanding outcomes).

The collaborative structure is a common and effective method of major project delivery, marrying the strengths and reputations of multiple organisations to produce a well-rounded and highly capable team. The down side, however, is that the sprint from tender to mobilisation often does not allow time for groups to integrate properly or for basic systems and processes to be defined, leading groups to isolate themselves on a day to day basis. This ‘silo’ mentality is a minefield for issues around communication, teamwork and best practise, underlined by an inherent lack of trust.

It can be difficult to approach a challenge that is neither tangible nor quantifiable, but ignoring trust issues can be rapidly detrimental to project culture and, ultimately, its overall success. In addition, the solution is incredibly simple and can be implemented by anyone.

1. Have faith in trust as a solution – lead the way into the trust vortex

Unlike traditional corporate or operational environments where trust can be allowed to develop over a longer period of time, given their limited lifespan, projects require the development of trust to be artificially accelerated – like entering a trust vortex – where we have to take the initiative and grab trust by the horns and make it happen.  Now.  This requires commitment, courage and leadership.

  • Commitment – because there will always be other, easier things to focus on (projects are “busy” places)
  • Courage – because taking the risk of trust can feel vulnerable (“am I the only loony here,” “what will they do with the information I am sharing?” “Is it OK for me to ask for help or admit to not knowing X or Y?”)
  • Leadership – “I am going to take a punt on my conviction that this stuff matters and others will follow if they can be inspired by someone daring to go first…so here goes”

The vast majority of people are worthy of trust and have knowledge or information that could help you.  Scan the project for opportunities to enhance the human fabric, raise the quality and quantity of energy available for productive effort, and take the lead by reaching out to someone and instilling your faith in them, you could be mutually empowered.  “Your success is my success – how can I help you to be effective and successful on this project?”

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even though I may not have it at the beginning.” – Gandhi

2. Start with yourself – allow not knowing everything to be OK

Be honest. If you can trust yourself, your decisions and your own beliefs, it will shine through for others to see. If you are open and approachable, you may attract someone on a similar mission.

“A man who doesn’t trust himself can never really trust anyone else.” – Cardinal De Retz

Start by not only allowing yourself and others not to know everything – but actively encourage “not knowing”.  “Hey – I don’t know XXX?  That’s great – let’s find out…”   Harness the collective intelligence of the team rather than assume and expect everyone to know everything they technically should.

How do people leave the space when they have interacted with you?  Bored, flat, confused, angry, and indifferent?  Or energised, confident, focused, clear and pumped?  The only difference is the way you interacted with them!  Be intentional in how people leave your space.  Multiply that effect by the 100 or so conversations you can have in a given day and multiply that by the several hundred people on your project means a brighter, tighter, more energised focused human fabric committed to excellence and to the success of all involved.

3.  Reach out

Extending trust to others is an initiative from which only great things can transpire. At the very least, it is a mutually beneficial exchange, and at best it can create a chain of positivity, reaffirmation and confidence that can permeate the entire project.

“Increase the level of trust in any group, company or society and only good things happen.” – Thomas Friedman

So take a chance, start a conversation, break down the divides, pay confidence forward and acknowledge yourself for single-handedly making a difference – one conversation at a time.

The Smartest Businesses Know How to Learn

Leveraging the information already resident in your people and company may be one of the most effective things you can do to decrease waste, increase productivity and even the longevity of your people’s commitment to the organisation.

Is a reluctance to change holding you back?

In most cases, people are busily getting on with what they do in the way they’re most comfortable. And that just happens to be the way they’ve always done things. A natural resistance to change (or uncertainty), coupled with the tendency not to do things until they have to be done (which is often too late), can result in errors and inefficiencies that seem to be built into the system.

Many companies struggle with instituting change, let alone a practiced philosophy of continuous improvement. Yet, as we move at a faster pace and competitive advantages become more and more focused on efficiency, making change on a regular basis and constantly improving is almost essential.

According to Hunter Dean, a Knowledge Management expert and Lean Enterprise consultant at Systemix, the role of business leaders today is as much about providing vision and the traditional aspects of leadership as steering an organisation toward effective knowledge management and leveraging learnings.

Knowledge is power

“Organisations that can truly learn from their experiences, both good and not so good, become very smart, very fast. This gives them confidence and agility which makes them very difficult competition”, Hunter explains.

Knowledge management and actively leveraging learnings are both critical factors at an organisational and project level to competing successfully in today’s market. So how do you approach this in your business?

Information is not enough

Your servers and people are no doubt full of information. But unless this information is retrieved, managed, shared and integrated in an effective manner it cannot translate to knowledge.

When it comes to determining if your information is truly knowledge, consider these few questions:

If your team learnt something of value today, how likely is it that…

  • They will still be using it still in six months?
  • That new recruits or people in other business areas will learn this too?
  • They will still be using and refining this information in 2 years or 5 years?

Knowledge is something that is resident in the company, not just the people or one or two divisions. It’s like the corporate wiki that everyone turns to and learns from.

So the key competency becomes: ‘How do we embed know-how for the long haul?’

Embedding know-how for the long haul

Systemix uses the ‘Know-how Pyramid’, an illustration of how information becomes knowledge that can reduce risk, increase productivity and overall business performance. Developed by a partner organisation, Information Leadership © 2012

Pyramid full size

Working through the pyramid, Systemix move organisations from the informal know-how space to the ‘definitive’ space where knowledge now underpins the fundamental functions of the business.

The process to achieve this involves the thorough investigation of either a project team or organisation as it is now in relation to the pyramid. This will reveal critical insights into the areas where knowledge is seeping away and how it can be harnessed more effectively. Then, through collaboration and communication, people can see the insights for themselves and design a new pyramid to work toward.

“Once we have communicated the insights we gain from this process, we focus on training and developing a roadmap to strengthen the method for learnings staying learnt,” says Hunter.

Through tightening business processes and workflows, implementing mechanisms to drive improvement, measuring the right things, making information more available through hard systems and zeroing in on key messages to communicate, an organisation or team can quickly become ‘smarter’ and more effective in a short space of time.

Cultivating Work-Life Balance on Major Projects

Following the completion of major projects, we regularly hear the words success, pride and achievement but, more often than not, they are accompanied by stress, exhaustion and sacrifice. With projects being pushed to ever tighter delivery schedules, is the human element being overlooked?

With the most skilled and committed employees often being rewarded with more work and shorter deadlines, people are frequently being pushed to breaking point. Wellness Systemix focuses on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of individuals, teams and entire organisations.  We believe that achieving balance is critical to a happy, healthy workforce with the stamina and motivation to remain at the top of their game.

The following points can help you to better understand the needs of your team and create an environment in which wellness and family is valued as highly as meeting deadlines:

1. Culture

Cultivate a culture of openness and honesty in your workplace in which people can freely express their concerns. People often feel defeated by admitting they have too much to do and need to feel supported by management.

2. Communication

Every individual’s level of work commitment will vary over time. Young employees may wish to contribute more in order to gain recognition in a company. Conversely, employees with young children may find they suddenly have more distractions and less time. Pursuing channels of communication will allow for better understanding of individual circumstances and allow your team to continuously adapt as a living organism.

3. Realistic Targets

Often when establishing deadlines, individuals and teams will underestimate the time they need under the pressure of the overarching schedule and the desire to please. Remember that being realistic will ultimately attain better results than wishful thinking.

4. Boundaries

With technology increasingly bringing the office back into people’s homes, it is more important than ever to recognize and reaffirm the boundaries between work hours and personal time.

For more information about wellness, culture and how Systemix can help you to implement these policies, please contact us:

e: admin@systemix.com.au

p: 1300 551 835

www.systemix.com.au

MTM Safety Forum Success

We had a fantastic day with the MTM Operations Division Safety Forum last week, facilitating an Appreciative Inquiry process for 100 of the leaders in the business.  We were proud to be part of this event and were inspired by the team’s appetite to make a profound and lasting difference. 

Great leadership, great commitment and great momentum!  

Thanks for having us on board Mike, Anthony and the SLT.