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

 

 

How will you play above the line today?

 

www.systemix.com.au

p: 1300 551 835

e: admin@systemix.com.au

Green and Yellow Belt Lean Six Sigma Training

Our friends at Lean Sigma Institute are running another excellent Green and Yellow Belt Lean Six Sigma training program at our offices in South Melbourne, 6/7 October. We are developing and are close to launching the first accredited Lean Construction Program in Australia shortly. Watch this space. cheap software shop

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.

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. 

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

The Cascading Effect of Poor Project Governance

Projects can fail as a result of poor decisions or management at any stage from the initial tendering through to procurement and delivery. Almost always, the delivery team gets the blame, but a closer look reveals there may be other issues.

According to recent research by Caravel Group and Melbourne Business School, major project success rates in Australia are around 40-50% and this poor result can be attributed primarily to failures in governance.

These are the findings of a ‘self-assessment’ survey of approximately 100 public and private sector board, CEO and senior management-level project participants across a range of industries.

Governance at it’s worst?

We’ve seen the catastrophic results of poor governance play out with the Queensland Health Payroll disaster. In his recent report into the matter, Former Supreme Court judge Richard Chesterman QC plainly states “The replacement of the Queensland Health payroll system takes a place in the front rank of failures in public administration in this country. It may be the worst.”

In his report, Chesterson identifies numerous failures on behalf of both the State’s management and the supplier, IBM. But regardless of the blame and finger-pointing that takes place in the aftermath of a failure like this, it’s difficult not to draw the conclusion that better Project Governance could have led to a much different outcome.

Lessons to learn

The payroll fiasco will most likely be remembered for the pricetag – an estimated $1.2 billion in taxpayer dollars to remedy a $98m project – but according to Ken Lowe, Managing Director at Systemix, a Melbourne firm specialising in the management of complex projects, those close to the industry can learn much more from the findings.

Ken has been brought in to recover more projects teetering on the edge of failure than he can remember and in picking back over what’s gone on, he has to agree that in too many cases, governance was almost always found lacking.

“Often it takes some time before a (governance) team can acknowledge something is seriously wrong, even though failures usually don’t just happen. There is always a string of poor decisions that ultimately culminate in issues that simply cannot be ignored any longer.” says Ken.

Time Pressures and Project GovernanceThe real reasons for failure

It would appear that in many cases, human issues can get in the way of making good decisions or failing to recognise bad ones quickly enough in a governance team.  The reports highlighted in this article, as well as Ken’s experience reveal that good governance can be hijacked by conflicting motives, team dysfunction, accountability issues, poor leadership and even a lack of understanding of the true meaning of governance.

Graeme Cocks, Melbourne Business School Professor says “Too many governance teams are stacked with ‘stakeholders’ to secure buy-in rather than people with proven ability to govern projects. These people are often heavily conflicted and have no accountability for their project governance role.”

There are numerous instances in the Health Payroll Enquiry that also highlight how human issues impacted on outcomes. In fact, the summary of the enquiry is littered with human failings, stating that much of the trouble came down to ‘unwarranted urgency and a lack of diligence on the part of State officials.’ And in relation to a particular aspect of the IT, it is believed that fear of failing motivated poor decisions; ‘Decisions were made to press on regardless of other considerations which ought to have had a bearing on the direction of the Project.’  Lines of responsibility were blurred, and obvious conflicts of interest ignored.

“There are two key elements to good governance. The quality of the decisions made, and the quality of the team making those decisions: The two work hand in hand.” Says Ken Lowe.

The purpose of governance is to ensure a project meets the desired outcomes. The governance team is the advocate of the owners. It is tasked with the role of providing clarity around accountability and responsibility, and ensuring clear lines of communication exist at all levels.  Once this framework is in place the governance team provides oversight and monitoring around fulfillment of the strategic intent as defined in the agreed business case.

A governance team should operate within an agreed governance plan.  Its members should have a mix of skills and experience to ensure that there is an understanding of all aspects of the specific project and (importantly) of governance principals.  The most common departure from these principals is around conflicts of interest, usually arising from stakeholder representatives.

Systemix works with large organisations, public and private, on high-yield project performance solutions. The Systemix heritage was built largely on our expertise in commercial modelling and commercial alignment processes.  With a deep understanding of the systemic interplay between the commercial and psychological contract, Systemix has successfully established the commercial basis for many projects, programs and services agreements.