PDO to assist energy innovators
Ahead of the 2018 Operational Excellence in Energy, Chemicals & Resources Summit (October 2 to 4
October, London, UK), OGR’s media partners at IQPC interviewed Diane Chadwick-Jones to get her insights on the key management hurdles that prevent improvement in high-risk organisations and how training, effective change management and building internal collaboration can create a sustainable operational excellence culture.
DIANE, TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND.
I’m the director of leadership and culture for BP within the Safety and Operational Risk team. I joined BP after graduating from Imperial College, London and begun on the general graduate trainee scheme.
I had a number of jobs within BP operations including production planning at a refinery and within drilling programs in Brazil. I had gained a wealth of experience in operations before joining the safety department in 2005 to work on Six Sigma projects, and from this I became involved in safety culture.
WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR INTEREST IN SAFETY WITHIN OPERATIONS?
Looking at the concept of defect elimination is the source of it. Whilst I was in operations there were complicated issues that were quite difficult to resolve. Moving into the safety department gave me another way to look at the complexity and underlying conditions that may have contributed to those issues. When I moved into looking at the behavioural side, I could see that in the same way we have operational issues with many interacting underlying factors, the behaviours of the workforce are influenced by many factors within the workplace environment. To give a generic example, a person
may not follow a procedure correctly, not because they don’t want to, but because a procedure may be unclear, or because the plan is not quite right for the job. It is this that I’ve been working on for the past few years – the behavioural and cultural side of safety. It starts with leadership setting the
expectations and resources, and when it comes to procedures there can be two paths – to say “follow the rules or there will be consequences”; or to say “follow the rules and if for any reason you can’t, speak up and we’ll see how we can fix this”.
When things don’t go to plan, helping leaders to understand the problem without focusing too much on the individual is key. It’s about looking deeper as to why things go wrong. Companies have analyzed incident investigations or used the “Just Culture” process to see what proportion of the time people intentionally disregarded the rules, and typically is it very small.
Usually the system or the process has unidentified error traps in design that in real life conditions could catch users out. People come to work to do their best, so we need to ask ourselves as leaders what we can do to improve the systems or processes to help prevent mistakes.
YOU’VE WORKED WITHIN VARIOUS BP FUNCTIONS, TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE SAFETY INITIATIVES THAT YOU’VE HELPED IMPLEMENT?
Over the years I’ve worked on various safety culture assessment and improvement programs and I’ve found that it only takes an organisation so far to look at safety culture on a site-by-site basis. Companies need to have safety as a core value that is role-modelled by the senior leadership, communicating that it is possible to have an incident free workplace and to make decisions through the lens of safety.
What is seen in many studies across industries is that the places that have best implemented those kind of values, or the way that leaders talk and the way that leaders prioritize safety, are the places with the highest workforce engagement. These places are not only some of the safest but the most productive also.
YOUR SESSION AT THE 2017 OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE SUMMIT WAS ON BUILDING INTERNAL CONNECTIVITY AND COLLABORATION, CAN YOU EXPAND ON THAT AND EXPLAIN WHAT ROLE ORGANISATIONAL TRANSFORMATION PLAYS IN OE?
A key first step in building better internal collaboration on enhancing safety management is to embed a deeper understanding on the modern view of incident causation in the leadership and then throughout the organisation. There is popular belief that incidents are caused by human failure. However, when we ask why the human failure occurred we often realize that there are organisational factors behind it.
These two views have a big impact on how leaders react to incidents and how well organisations learn. The latter view is more likely to demonstrate care and lead to a speak-up culture. This type of organisational transformation means that capability development initiatives need to be employed such as engagement workshops and formal and informal training. This includes role-modelling from leaders, not assuming human error, and looking for any contributory underlying issues.
The GE Baker Hughes “What Lies Beneath” workshops are a good example – and in those sessions a key message is that when something goes wrong, instead of asking ‘who is at fault here?”, say, ‘it must have been a really difficult situation because we employ great people who are trying to do the right thing’. In terms of systems and processes, there are adjustments to be made to identify system vulnerabilities through updating common processes like incident investigation, “Just Culture”, self-verification, behavioural-based safety and assurance. What’s the best way to secure executive buy-in for implementing changes in leadership thinking? A good way to do that is to use data to show the value of a clear tone from the top about building trust and showing care.
There are many published studies across industries that support this modern understanding of incident causation. Companies that have conducted annual people surveys can use their own data to show that, generally speaking, there is often a correlation between incident levels and the health of an organisation’s speak-up culture, leadership listening and organisational trust. How do we create a sustainable operational excellence culture? A key lever is recognizing people for strong safety leadership behaviours, because this helps to embed the understanding that safety is about the presence of safety inputs, like looking for risks and learning from near misses, and working to identify and eliminate system-related weaknesses.
We know that people are the solution, not the problem - it’s just an illusion that people are the main cause of incidents. The last person to touch the equipment when something goes wrong is very often only the last component in a chain of weaknesses – so recognising people for speaking up and looking out for each other clearly sets the expectation in the organisation that we want to know about those difficult-to-see risks, and resolve them. (Diane Chadwick-Jones is Director of Leadership and Culture for BP. Diane has an extensive career in BP spanning a number of businesses and functions including Refining, Exploration, Production and Chemicals. As the BP global subject matter expert in safety culture and safety leadership, she informs the strategy and activities in this area. She is an expert practitioner in Six Sigma and continuous improvement methodology)