One Shot !! JACK REACHER !!!

No Event in the world occurs at RANDOM– There is a cause and link ; At first, they don’t appear so! Jack Reacher!!  

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Ever Since 2001, I stumbled up on” JACK REACHER” books at a Library, I am is his’ die hard fan. Reacher “connects events through OUT OF BOX THINKING-GAME CHANGER”, linkage, between two totally unconnected, seemingly random events that appear at first so! A trait that EHS folks need to master in their quest for EHS excellence for a safer workplace and protect people.  

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So what can be done? Short term:- 

  1. Change Scenario: Take yourself out from same routine workspace, environment, different place, different area, different environment be at work, or home can give fresh input in to thinking and spark ideas. My A-ha moments have come when in brisk walks, Shower and Large mug of coffee as well as early morning before sun rise is the best time. (Jack Reacher- When in Doubt Drink plenty of Coffee works for me, I can gulp 6-7 Cups a day) 

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    My COFFEE MUG for kicking the thinking! 
  2. Brain Storm What is your Opinion? As they say -4 Important words. Alway seek out! Asking some one a view/idea/thoughts/ favor, is not weakness, it is a strength, folks in this part of world hesitate to reach out! 

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3. Turn the issue, see from other perspective, upside down or rephrase the question or what the issue is not? You may get ideas.

4. Hybernate:- May seem ridiculous. Keep time to yourself. Turn your phone, laptop, Mobile, Block outlook meetings, Shut the cabin door (30 min-1hr) to focus focus focus on issues, ideas, innovation, incidents etc. Note the thoughts that float and connect. Ideas will flash, believe me.  ( How many know that Benzene structure was invented in Day dream by Kekkule of snake biting its own tail) 

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5 Work the parameters:- Change the mindset accept that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Work from there on, best way to work in 5 WHY (Why, Why, Why, Why, Why) and 6M(Man, Method, Machine, Material, Measurement, Mileu) 

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6 Work the worst case scenario:- what can go wrong at worst? Set Norms, accept that there is problem? Don’t deny!! Ideas will flow! 

Long Term:-

  1. Stay positive, think positive, B+. Eliminate negative thoughts, Negativity. Work always positive and see glass as Half FULL.  When negative, impeding thoughts come in, try to push them out with a positive ones. “You become what you think out’. So a positive, enriched mind, gives avenue for new ideas. 

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    2. Nothing is permanant except Change! So try to change things around so that you dont fall in to the RUT, thus creativity, new ideas, fresh thoughts, radical concepts flow as you change thigns around! Change Schedule, Change routine, Change drive routes, change norms, change food habits try new food etc etc. 

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    3! Look around for Ideas, engage with folks from other vectors! While saying birds of feather flock together is good, great ideas come when you engage with folks from other industry, function,domain! Many of my ideas in Chemical Industrial engagement came when I interacted with folks from Aerospace, Automation and Controls, Heavy Engineering etc. The concepts, ideas, the industry specific norms can give new inputs to your problem solving. (  Failure Mode may not appear to be a big deal in Chemical Industry, but everything in Aircrafts, so look for applications). I recollect my FINANCE Manager giving revelutionary idea during our Contractor Safety Management Program. ( He suggested, unless Contractors give specification of equipment in use undertaking / give copy of MSDS for new substances, no payment of invoice to be done ) 

    4) Over long term in order to sustain creativity, new ideas, problem solving have all to become culture of the organisation which encourages such aspects. There is only you can do so much when such initiatives are not given freehand!! Also listen more, speak less, the more you listen, the more ideas, thoughts flash…..

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    Again, as I keep harping, it all appears easy, but it requires practice, practice, practice with committment, involvement, engagement to master the art!! hahahh! I leave you with this funny video on practice! (Count how many times he says”Practice” haha)

Take it easy take care, God Bless 

Karthik

26/5/17 1330 Hrs.

PS: The idea for this post flashed for me at 515am when I  was brushing teeth, thinking about Manchester bombing and what folks could have done to prevent and what root cause of incidents would be seen and what Reacher would dig out?? 

A View to A KILL !!!

This is not a tribute to Roger Moore, the James Bond, the secret service agent, who died yesterday! I have posted my thoughts on my personal Blog!  

So What the HSE professional world can do with a “VIEW TO A KILL” for a better performance by emphasising safe work place through safe actions, behaviours and conditions. It would be good to reverse fit as to why EHS component fail and what can be done to course correct and then sustain EHS as a key enabler.

Why Safety (HSE) programs fail:- I have listed a Baker’s Dozen, the list can go on and on

  1. Lack leadership engagement and committment
  2. Treating people as commodity /dispensable
  3. EHS not seen as a value to believe to execute for operations excellence
  4. Focused only on legal compliance; forgetting that compliance = 30% to excellence
  5. lack of sense of urgency, decisions too little, too late as necessary evil to do
  6. lack of team, cohesion, bonding lack of relationship, trust both ways
  7. lack of risk based approach to safety, health, environment, facility to focus.
  8. Stupidly believing that Zero Accident /incident means “All is Well”
  9. Lack of clear plans, goals, targets linked to Strategy, Risks
  10. Safety is safety manager’s responsibility
  11. Systems put on paper but not enforced at area of work.
  12. Check the box as a ritual
  13. No clear linkage to business overview, safety being steered as standalone! 

So What folks need to do?

  1. Get Leadership buy in, sell safety. What is in it for leaders. To sell is human. 
  2. Focus on Risk, Risk Risk, Everything is Risk based approach, business in 2017 is all about risk. 
  3. Be visible on Shop floor, be the person that folks can trust and speak to! Perception is all that matters some time! Use this opportunity as ability to learn.

4. Encourage folks to report incidents, develop questioning attitude in people. Not easy, but that is key ingredient to improve work place performance. 

5. Never harp on too much metrics, it can push folks hide issues to reach targets! The sweeping under carpet can lead one day to a disaster! While what gets measured gets done is a good mantra, too much metric focused and linkage to rewards can lead to managers/leaders/employees under reporting/non reporting events. Depositphotos_35328331_xs_thumb6. Close actionable items as agreed on practical, doable, realistic dates, Always under promise and over deliver. Corrective action kept open for years can be a “SMOKING GUN” when things go wrong, questioning credibility. Many companies have lost their reputation.

7. Focus on Zero Fatality at Work. Zero Harm is a myth!!!

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8. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate, there is nothing like Over communication. Do visual management, News letter, Banners, Posters, Display board, Electronic Visual displays, screen savers what not for safety performance, status, key information.

9. Above all, work the operating control procedures/ work instructions as need based linked to Risk Assessment output, not copy paste. Involve workmen/shop floor folks in process. Standard way of working can bring in consistency, thus reducing potential for incidents/accidents/harm. 

Good luck.

Karthik.

24/5/17. 1600 Hrs. 

 

 

 

The Godfather- Tom Hagen! Do you have it in you???

#41

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This week marks me completing reading the Book “THE GODFATHER” about 40 years back. It was during the summer vacation as 14 year old, my thirst for English novels began. “The God Father” one of the first few I picked up to read from Dad’s office club which had 1000s of books in English fiction. (I am yet to fully see the 3 sequels of the movies in theater, Hopefully one day I do make it; may be the 50th year of its release in 2022). 

One of the key charecter who impressed me in the entire book as well as Snippets of movie (Practically seen 90% but never at a stretch) is “TOM HAGEN” the family lawyer. (played by Robert Dovall going strong at 86) Tom is the go getting guy who works the plan, agrees to disagree with  father and son Dons, Vito and Michelle Corleone and the sound board for all the plans that the family puts across. Infact, Tom could have been swept away in the auora of the Godfather! But he never does go away and always maintains his own stature, image, point of view to gudie the family in good times and not so good times! 

Can’t see a better description to match what ESH folks do to that of Tom Hagen!!! 

So what is that EHS Folks need to do to work things and go up places in the ladder as well as holding on to their own! 

  1. Work with a mentor!! It matters a lot, look for a person who is a master (Sensei) who can guide, coach, imbibe skills in to you. Be willing to learn, be open minded, flexible to pick up things! As Steve Jobs says,”Steal Shamelessly” 

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  2. Work Relationship:- Nothing brings success as much as developing working relationship and getting things done. 70% results is acheived through relationship power. Be in touch with folks, keep connected, get to know people. Reach out to them, read my post on ARK for aspects.  

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3. Deliver Results:- Ultimately you are judged by what you delivered. Failing to deliver results with all other aspects in good shape counts to nothing! So work a plan, turn plans in to measurable objectives, targets and how success would look like. Track them through weekly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly progress and do course correction. Targets should be what people want, not what you want to deliver! 

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4) Failure is not an option:- Successful people, never give up even at worst of times. The classic example “APPOLO 13” catastrophic failure of mission, the team leader Gene Cranz worked to bring back the stranded astronauts safely. His mission” Failure is not an option”! Work with positive intent, work plans, seek opinion, be transparent, respect ideas, communicare, communicate, communicate!! When working plans and executing always work to make people better!.

5) Intelligent Risk taking:-  In work situations, many times not all data points, information shall be available. Work the best optimal outcome by intelligent risk taking. Agree, organisation culture should promote such behaviour of accepting failures, for getting better results. 

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6) Integrative thinking and Technical excellence:- EHS Folks need to think like owners with basic expertise in all areas of business like Finance, operations, People capital, Sales & marketing to promote their ideas. One trick pony would no longer carry them ahead to have integrative thinking skills! Ofcourse, these are only possible if the Subject matter expertise in their work area of EHS functional excellence is well oiled in the area of 1) Safety operations, 2) Industrial Hygiene 3) Environment 4) Occupational Medicine 5) Sustainability 6) Facilities 7) Projects management being core areas to shape up. 

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As I keep saying, it is all easy to read, but difficult to execute, this requires will to change, a desire to succeed, a good environment that works the change as well as leadership and culture. 

Take it easy, take care, god bless.
Karthik.

21/5/17. 1830 Hrs. 

Poseidon Adventure?? Sustaining safety culture, when change (People) is all around?

Some times adapting to change and keeping your own self, can be as nerve wrecking as Irvin Allen’s Master class 1972 movie!!the-poseidon-adventure-wallpapers_26483_1024x768

Change can some times lead to such DILBERT fiascos and all efforts down deep like Titanic! 

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I was asked in my whatsapp by a fellow safety professional? How to sustain Organisation safety culture when leadership change happens! Very challenging question! In my 32 years of Safety implementation, I had encountered very few such situations, where leadership change brought a big jolt to implementing programs/ things! (Of the 9 Managers to whom I reported, only 2 were due their exit from the company. Overall, I had steady interactions with my leaders to work the EHS implementation)

I wont have a magic bullet to shoot and hit bulls eye. No safety solutions ever are. I would do my best. Folks are free to add their views in comment section.

Let’s step back to basics and take it up from there on!

What is Safety Culture?

“The safety culture of an organisation is the product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behaviour that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organisation’s health and safety management. Organisations with a positive safety culture are characterised by communications founded on mutual trust, by shared perceptions of the importance of safety and by confidence in the efficacy of preventive measures.” ACSNI Human Factors Study Group: Third report – Organising for safety HSE Books 1993

So with that definition in, it is easy to see that Culture is what people do when it is from within not forced in to. It takes time to build one. As indicated below the components that go in to building culture (safety culture) are 1) Leadership 2) Company Business culture and its work environment 3) Systems 4) People and their attitude which manifests in to behaviours. So in the first place for a matured safety culture to be in place, the four basic elements are to be well blended and exist in harmony.

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So when a component in the element of safety culture is subjected to change, naturally the impact lead to some adverse consequences. Such instances are common with the departure of leader the legacy disappears soon. Organisations like Dupont, Sandoz, bp have faced issues that have put serious credibility issues over the years! Leaders need to understand first that they were not the guy who let the diaster happen! That is where organisation culture, Business ethics, work environment play a crucial part to adher to “THE VALUES” even in uncertain times! 

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So what to do to sustain culture in midst of people change? (It is assumed that the system, people, environment, behaviour are non variable to a large extent). What can EHS folks do to make sure the leadership buy in to EHS and maintain stauts quo.

    1. Influence upward, look for what leaders expect from you. Deliver that faithfully. As our Super boss Larry Bossidy (Honeywell)  explains in this practical article.
      1. Get involved with your new leader. Establish targets linked to strategy.
      2. Update him on Business portfolio, EHS Major risks so he gets a hang of things. Remember you succeed only when he succeeds.
      3. Generate ideas, Influence upward. Give constant feedback on things that go well above all anticipating ahead things may not go that well.
      4. Colloborate, participate, be his eyes and ears in workplace. EHS changes reach top leadership above the leader very fast!(Believe me!)
      5. Stay Current, EHS topics, Norms, Legislature etc. Think through your feet. Be ready to provide solutions to issues. Reach out to any problem with two solutions, let him pick one.
    2. Be ready to provide solutions based on business environment, solutions that can work in good times, would be ridiculed in bad times. So adpat. 

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  1. From personality side, leaders are classified in to 4 types, Based on task and people focussed, find out what kind of type is your leader is and adapt accordingly. The behavioural pattern are as below to get a clue. 

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As saying goes, nothing is permanant except change and so good EHS managers always expect change and are in sync with it. Very smart managers are able to have educated guess of change that is distant but not visible and adapt!!

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Take it easy, take care, God Bless!

Karthik,

19/5/17 1845 hrs.

Greed is Good!!

So Said Gordon Gekko, 30 years back in the 1987, block buster “WALL STREET” 

30 years on, Has Anything changed?? Yes, it has gotten worse, 2017, even Greed is super good in Emerging economies, III world etc! (Disclosure:- I have benefitted immensely from Wall Street on NYSE Stock Options, so love the Wall Street!) 

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So what Wall Street has to got to do with EHS!? The Answer is, Read this lead article in EHS Today  ” Are Injuries Still the ‘Cost of Doing Business’ at Some Companies?

Sandy Smith, touches up on based on research data, that companies in order to meet wall street expectations and favoring shareholders, look to turn the other way on spending on EHS aspects, Skill enhancement of workforce through Training etc when pushed. While, this is not unknown or not a shocker, what is now coming out in the open is the deep research study that has gone in to it! This is the situation in USA which is a nation that is compliance driven, liability conscious, Guilty until proved innocent environment. Also to note is agencies method seen by companies as agents of “COMPLIANCE TERRORISM” Goes to show, when pushed against to show profits, companies can get blinded by short term benefits and lose out on long term gains.

So one can imagine, what would be the case in a III world environment where laws are archaic, poorly enforced, rampant corruption with enforcing agencies are hand in glove in a coteire,with their demand of a share in the pound of flesh (I call them the Shylock). Companies spending in EHS beyond the need, enhancing employee skill would be seen as a waste, as well as competitive disadvantage? 

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Is it??? 

I Don’t think so? Here is why! 

  1. Compliance is only 30% of operational excellence even in the best of work environment. Compliance can be only reactive, as organisations need to adapt and change which can be a painstaking process.  Many times relying on compliance without systems, process, procedures, programs, ownership can lead to the following situation.

WHOSE JOB IS IT ANYWAY???

This is a story about 4 people
Every body, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody
There was an important job to be done;
Everybody was sure Somebody would do it
Anybody could have done it, but nobody did it.
Somebody got angry about it,
because it was everybody’s job
Everybody thought anybody could do it,
but nobody realized that Everybody would not do it
It ended that Everybody blamed Somebody
when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

2. In today competitive scenario, it has been proven, that organisational excellence with EHS linkage in concept, design, execution, implementation and followup can add value to business with as high as 2 to 3 times on ROI.  PDF 2017 WSIAAEAAQAAAAAAAAfVAAAAJDhjMDkxYTY4LTUwYTgtNDU3YS1iZjQwLWE1NGI4OWI1MTcxMg

3. In 2017, Accident prevention/loss prevention is key to sustain business. With a very weak compliance laws, one can’t do much. (Despite poor enforcement, and companies doing their bit to bribe out authorities) The shit can’t go on forever, more so in the Social media watch dog age, you cant be lucky all the time.

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5. With the next generation of workforce coming in to the workplace, (The millennial—> The disruptors) fully armed with the interconnected world. They would look work place from a far different perspective. Get ready, for them compliance is least of the priority, else organisations are sure loser! ( I have a 23,25 yr old children, who look and view their work place far far different from I did in my 20s!) 

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I can add-on and on, but the bottom line is Companies in which ever part of the world, need to work beyond compliance and focus on operational excellence that adds value to business. So shrinking on EHS spending, not doing enough on skill building wont take entities very far. So, I am optimistic that competitive pressure, stake holders outreach, Employee feedback, Social Media as watch dog, would make organisations take up the path which would bring rich dividends.

Take care, God Bless.

Karthik.

17/5/17. 1645 Hrs.

 

The Fish Rots from the Head Down!

It’s all about Leadership! Stupid!!!

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Phil La Duke as usual is at his brilliant best on his post on Safety professional Behaviour and laments nothing has changed over last 10 years. I have also posted my comments in the forum in comments section of his blog post. The forum has some exchanges with disagreement from EHS professionals, who have their own views! 

As a fellow EHS professional, I tend to agree with Phil and his discussion in the post makes a lot of sense to me considering the situation that I find here in this part of the world. Goes to show, developed world or developing world or III world, the approach to keeping people safe has the same level of importance in priority “which is Urgent but Not Important” as in Eisenhower Decision Matrix, from Management standpoint. The Fellow EHS professionals too have not covered themselves in glory. Matrix-300x300

So why? Things have come to such a pass!! I agree that 1) EHS implementation in absence of stronger regulatory norms as well as absence of enforcing agency, for folks to work alone is a tough sell. At the same time in 2) organisations which are on the path of bigger growth, strong and committed Leadership with participation from engaged work force EHS conformance needle has moved a bit. In some organisations where 3) EHS is seen as a value enabler linking it as a “Status to be Green for maturity path” in same terms as productivity, Quality, Inventory, Delivery and Cost, it has been able to reach a level of higher maturity with EHS being in Cruise Mode of Flight journey. My estimate is that 60% organisations in Indian work environment are in #1, 30% in #2 and 10% #3 would be my ballpark number based on my visits over the past Five years.

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  1. Very Poor Housekeeping.
  2. Lacking Clear policy, Direction from top management for QEHS. It is more a necessary evil.
  3. Legal compliance at very basic. No in-depth engagement to compliance. At top overview all looks in order but as you start to deep dive issues crop up.
  4. Concept of safety management system, poorly understood, so consultants who support sites make it worse!! I have seen  even in Indian arm of Global Companies of repute,with EHS professionals in charge, Adding Probability and severity to derive Risk. (Where as R=P*S). Few such sites are even ISO -9001-2015 certified as well as for OHSAS 18001, thus exposing auditing agencies too!!! 
  5. 80% sites have no clear set objectives and targets that are to be derived from policy, business strategy, Risk Assessment etc to charter a course to know where they want to go?  hqdefault (1)
  6. Procedures have no linkage to risk assessment! They stand alone without any connectivity making people wonder why they do what they do without any justification or comprehension!   download
  7. Not a single site has workmen from shop floor participated in developing procedure or Risk assessment. The very person the procedures are set to protect.
  8. I have hung  my head in shame in presence of fellow overseas EHS auditors (More than one occasion) that HAZOP study for a plant of 20 Chemical reactors  and processes and accessories was completed in a few pages. (The consultant is related to statutory authorities) Also is the case where HAZOP study recommendations were blatantly ignored. (Oleum in a reactor cooled with water circulation !!) or a top-notch API company in disdain referring to HAZOP recommendations action plan closure as “FUND NOT ALLOCATED”
  9. Lack of recognition of inherent hazards like Static Electricity, Rotatory parts, Confined space, Use of outdated Safety belts (!!), No Seat belt in forklifts (These are all sites with full-fledged Safety professionals
  10. Most of the times, EHS person is seen as living nuisance to put up with and he is sent away on travel so that activities which could be impeded by him are done when he is away! 

I can list on and on, but I think folks would get the essence of state of EHS ! So with this kind of work environment, is it even fair for organisations to contemplate changing Employee/workmen behaviour and do BBS and thus keep people safe. Or as in many cases, Incident investigation in to Injury/Illness points to fault/error of the person making me wonder how the change would happen and What EHS folks are up to?

 

So what can Safety professionals do to work some kind of restore system and they can have some say and be a person who can work the change initiatives. Again, this may look easy on paper but it is tough to execute. As I keep saying, implementing a cultural turn around  or Technical excellence is not like Making Noodles and eating it so that Hunger is gone and instant gratification. It is like shedding Excess body fat through a disciplined regime and that wont happen overnight! It wont be easy either as people resist change (Even would EHS professionals want to change?? Why fix when ain’t broken).

  1. Create a sense of Urgency. Make key people / influencers/decision makers see why change that is desired, needs to happen and buy in is required? What is in it for them.
  2. Get Leadership committment! Without that essential binding agent no use trying to work change? Work in terms of risks, compliance, status, indicators to show why change must take place? Linkage to business enabler can some times do the trick to leadership. Leaders need to send a unambiguous message that people need to accept initiatives! or ………… Great change initiatives always comes with a bit of coercion. 
  3. Work Organisation baseline to see in terms People, Process, Program, Procedure and work where gaps that are identified, need to be plugged in before change can be brought about. Get the resources committment and bring the change.
  4. Seek Expert opinion, dont try to reinvent wheel. Don’t be Penny wise- Pound Foolish. Take advantage of a good, matured, meaningful management system duly validated and is not a Certificate on the wall. Good management system can do wonders!! 
  5. Any shift from status quo has to be mix of Strategy and Tactics in a right blend! So don’t make it too tactical and thus miss out on the medium term/long-term vision for what the end would look like.
  6. Always piggy back on established operational excellence program or strive to create one in its absence. EHS change as stand alone is tough sell, Line Management wouldn’t be able appreciate as Stand alone component. 
  7. Establish Metrics to measure progress. What gets measured, gets done. Assign person with responsibility to work the change who is a key decision maker. Also do not forget to include target date of closure. Without closure dates, plans are meaningless.
  8. Engage all levels of folks in change initiative program, All said and done, Safety initiatives are for Workmen / Supervisors, the first man to take the Bullet, should things go astray, so it goes without saying to include “TO WORKMEN, By WORKMEN to make such initiatives more meaningful and speed up things.
  9. Stay on top on the communication on initiatives, some times these initiatives can be seen as a threat, more so in these current uncertain times, when economy, competition would make people think otherwise. Involve few end-user in the process, so that message spread that it is not head count reduction or flavor of the month. Work on visual management as appropriate, so that what gets visualised gets retained deeper in mind. 
  10. Stay on top, Followup-follow up, followup. Never feel shy to push things. Put your skill and influence in to use.  In my experience, the EHS guys are the most unpopular guy in the most happening sites! (Not the most unlikable guy; note the difference) 

My idea of this post is not to criticise EHS folks or nit pick issues with them! I am posting this to give a course correction on how to do it. Remember it is always easy to learn from others! Learning from your own shortcomings may be costly or you may not be around to get second chance!!
Good Luck and GOD BLESS
Karthik

15/5/17 1845 Hrs. 

 

Meeting without eating is nothing but cheating!!!

MEETING, first thing that come to mind is late Jaspal Bhatti! What a true reflection of things!! 

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I should count my lucky stars that in the 27 years in my corporate life, I never got in to the rut of meeting which are meaningless, non productive and rambles on clueless, directionless. Yes, one assignment, the devil caught up with me too (few years back!!), in which I got stuck for 6 months,was hell where meetings rambled on and on without an agenda, without purpose and 2 hr meeting could drag for 4 hrs with no one giving a damn!  I cant recollect a single meeting ending on time during that time.This is shameful as in corporate environment, where business leaders (Now a days EHS is too sucked in this stupid act) are required to provide leadership, guidance, direction and instruction to team to stay on top of the situation/issues. Instead they waste their time in such stupid meetings!! As my 1990s, #Sandoz Colleague, Tapas Chakraborty( Wonder where is he now??) used to say” Meeting without eating is nothing but cheating” Thankfully, as a Change Agent, I am able to direct meetings to a large extent and would be able to judge a company’s work culture out of meetings!! 

Yes, Indian entities have to a long way in honoring time committment, and we joke even from Sandoz days 1990s  “IST= INDIAN STRECHABLE TIME”. 30-40% of my meetings over the last 5 years have been delayed by good 30 min and to one instance to over FOUR hours without a semblance of an apology from the “Saettu” (Tamil colloquial for Gujju/Marwadi owners)  ( It was another matter we ignored them forever as closing the meeting was more out of courtesy which imbibed in you than get business!! ) Indian Multinationals too no different, in one instance, a EHS Manager, me having traveled 50 Kms, for 10am appointment, cooly asked me if I can be  present at 3pm (Fully knowing my flight back to Bangalore from Baroda, is at 2pm!! such people!!, I tell you!)  I can count god’s blessings, as I have heard many frustrating episodes of Indian ministers making my CEO, Chairman wait for hours!!! I have broadly established a corelation over five years that companies that keep up time committment in honoring meeting appointments, have kept up their payment committment! Thus giving me a clear prelude to how things would shape up!!! 

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So How EHS folks can do their bit to have a sensible meetings and dont have to be a victim and feel, What can be cured has to be endured!! What is an indication of a good meeting? They are,

  • Effective– A decision was arrived at! effectiveness trumps efficiency
  • Efficient – So stuff that was planned ahead gets done!
  • Positive and fun – So people enjoy themselves and look forward to the next meeting. (Not for eating donuts or Samosa)
  • Participative – So everyone participates equally, instead of just zoning out or faking agreement.
  • Open – So people say what they really think with Candor without Shout out! 
  • Creative – So the thinking goes beyond the usual and into new territory.

Here is how this can be acheived:-

  1. Communicate well in advance.Haste makes waste. Give a good lead time. 
  2. Decide the # participants, >10 usually non productive. 
  3. Send Meeting request over Outlook etc, ensure acceptance for 70% of attendees.
  4. Make sure the meeting room is available, No point in gate crash or hope to find a room available. Use Outlook or meeting room software. 
  5. Work an agenda a typical agenda would have Time from/to, Topic, Person’s Name called Directly Responsible Individual (DRI)! Review of last meeting a key item as well as progress acheived.
  6. Start the meeting on time! Don’t wait for every one to arrive, however important be the person, (Unless informed before he would be running late).
  7. Reward early bird and punish late arrivals. (Punishment could be scribe for next meeting or a Good humored T-Shirt indicating “Late Latiff” (My Boss had distributed such in 1990s) or collect Fund from late comers to be used for common cause.
  8. Close the meeting room door, 2min post the start time.
  9. Put Cell phone in the middle of table, no one allowed to use it, should be in silent mode.
  10. Use “SPACER” —->Safety, Purpose, Agenda, Conduct, Expectation, Results
  11. When scheduled end time on agenda item is reached, if no decision is arrived, put on parking lot, move to the next item on agenda.
  12. The chairperson should ensure no one person hijack a meeting agenda, ensure collective participation. Meetings are to work things that EMAIL can’t decide!!
  13. Take notes of meeting, need not be detailed, some key aspects as memory jogger to transfer in to meaningful summary of discussions.
  14. Meeting should have Drop Dead Time, Come what may, It can not extend beyond the time mentioned in agenda.
  15. Learn to respect other’s time. Treat others way you wanted to be treated.
  16. No Side conversations, do not interrupt, listen.

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I was lucky to participate in standing meeting which helps people to focus on items and finish on time. I have heard of colleagues who have worked on tableless meetings. The advantages are:-stand-up-meetings-will-make-your-team-a-lot-more-productive

  • People are more free to move around, instead of being locked into one sitting position, which keeps people charged energised.
  • Communication flows better, because one can see the entire person.
  • An increased participation, because people can’t simply slump down and hide
  • You can get people closer together. If you seat 10 people around a table, the distance from one end to the other is going to be huge.
  • Seating people in a circle signals that everyone is equal. It’s democratic, unlike normal table where the boss sits at the head of the table.

Meetings can be made lively by the above actions (not just excited over Donuts etc). (That too would disappear if the bloody recessions hits, who better than me to see the mayhem in 2008-2010 global recession!) 

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On the other hand, it is always good  to know the 12 Meeting killers and weed them out!!! Courtesy: Ott Joggi.

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Good Luck and God Bless

Karthik

Mother’s day, 2017 ; 1450 Hrs.