An Introduction to the (VIS) Visual Board Process

On major projects, dealing with issues is very often a reactionary process, with meetings being called as frequently as problems arise. The danger of this approach is that the flurry of activity can create a false sense of resolution in which decisions have been made and actions agreed, but without the necessary follow up or accountability to ensure that they are actually realised. The inherent risk is that while leadership teams are busy solving the immediate issues, the root causes are not being addressed.

The VIS Board Process is a tool which has emerged out of Lean philosophy, designed to map out a project in its entirety and offer a level of transparency such that issues, causes and solutions are immediately visible to all.

 

What are the benefits of Visual Management?

  • Accurate, up to date status and metrics at a glance
  • Ability to detect abnormal operating conditions quickly
  • Highlighting gaps, risk areas and potential cracks needing attention
  • Completion of tasks quickly using a standardised approach
  • Promoting on-the-spot resolution and decision making
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement
  • Promoting accountability and open dialogue
  • Visibility across all levels of management

 

How does Visual Management work?

It comprises a system of tiered meetings that are based around specifically formatted whiteboard displays called VIS boards. These meetings range from daily updates within a specific area to a weekly review of all areas with the CEO. From the lowest level to the highest, all boards show:

  • What: critical issues, key metrics and KPIs
  • Where: performance against targets, current status
  • Who: person responsible for resolving the issue
  • When: strategic timing of requirements
  • How: action plan and methodology

By referring to these metrics and using actuals rather than estimates, analysis and reporting can be drawn from a single source of truth. Visual aids help employees grasp complex requirements and complete tasks more quickly using a standardised approach by providing instructions, directions and reminders to action owners.

 

What difference does Visual Management make to performance?

By using the VIS Board Process and incorporating it into other process improvements in areas such as planning, design turnaround times and review processes, output can increase 100+% and improvements will seldom be less than 20-30%.  It is important to use meaningful, specific metrics when gauging success as these will significantly affect the level of accountability and results within project teams.

In addition, one of the most significant benefits of the system, especially when applied within the stringent time-frames and milestones inherent to all major projects, is the immediate yet meaningful resolution of key issues. Meetings are solutions-focused and driven by up-to-date information, so it is easy for a team to see exactly what the problem is and therefore easier for them to find a solution. This is particularly beneficial to lower level staff that may be relying on a quick decision in order to move forward with their work.

 

What difference does Visual Management make to the workplace?

It is a powerful tool for developing project culture as it increases productivity and offers ownership and involvement to everyone who contributes to the success and failure of the project. As the process evolves and participants become comfortable with the expectations and structures in place, they also become reliable sources of information and beacons for others to gain knowledge from.

In addition, the VIS Board Process provides management and leadership with a frank appraisal of the challenges faced by their workforce, promoting an open and honest operating environment which relieves pressure and contributes to the wellness of the team.

 

Is Visual Management for you?

The VIS Board Process is adaptable to any workplace and offers enormous value to any business or project that is intrepid enough to openly tackle its own weaknesses and embrace innovation and change.

 

Sources: Jana Michaels and Hunter Dean, Systemix Consultants

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. Archicad 22 price

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.

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. 

Safety Excellence Partners: Mindful Safety Leadership

In October 2013, Safety Systemix joined forces with three other industry leaders – Generative HSE, Amberwise and OHS Leadership – to establish Safety Excellence Partners (SEP). We are deeply committed to evolving safety management globally, across all industries, organisations and projects to realise the vision of eliminating worker injury; by working with our clients to develop World-Class Safety Leaders and High Performance Safety Cultures.

Closing the gap between good or business as usual and world class safety performance has become a critical business imperative for many industries. Every company, every industry and every country have varying degrees of sophistication in their approach to safety management. Despite the existence of well-established safety management systems, there is more often than not an inconsistent level of safe working behaviours and practices throughout organisations and projects.

Recognising the need to address the human side of safety and to create a work place comprised of a critical mass of individuals who rapidly promote and improve safety performance is the first step. Organisations wanting to advance this type of engagement are commissioning and embedding recognised Safety Culture and Leadership programs to empower their leaders, management, staff and contractors at all levels to participate, contribute and take ownership for the safety of themselves and of others.

SEP’s programs are based on emerging philosophies, principles and state of the art approaches in the OHS field. The need is for Safety Culture and Leadership to powerfully address the human factors in order to win and lead the hearts and minds of staff, workers and contractor personnel at all levels in their organisations. Our clients use the SEP’s approaches of cultural transformation, inspirational leadership, coaching and consulting in concert with existing safety practices, to accelerate the development of leaders, managers and entire employee bases in order to facilitate the next leap in their safety performance.

To enable this next leap, SEP introduces a creative approach to health and safety culture, leadership and management; with a focus on creatively addressing the disparity in beliefs, attitudes and commitment that exists within projects and organisations and creating a genuine and shared mindset for health and safety excellence.  The mindset is about making safety more personal and compelling for everyone. Achieving health and safety excellence requires engaging a wider audience of people to participate in the safety conversation. This challenge is made achievable by launching and embedding a program in which staff and contractors already have a self-interest in and commitment to. Buy cheap Autodesk Inventor Professional 2020 with Discount at SoftSalesUs.Com.

For more information, please visit: www.safetyexcellencepartners.com