No one likes spending money on maintenance. Take your car in for a service and you’re not only left with no transport, you have to pay for the privilege to boot. In fact, there’s only one thing worse than planned maintenance. An unplanned breakdown.
I recently had the chance to talk at one of the premier asset management conferences in Australia. It felt like being in a guild—in my case, of engineers and asset managers. People like us are charged with ensuring that billions of dollars of assets—whether aircraft, manufacturing plants or mines and refineries—can deliver safe, reliable, cost-effective outcomes. (more…)
What are you accountable for? And what kind of authority do you have to properly acquit that accountability? Whom do you report to? How do you get inducted into the role? Who decides which tasks are to be done, of what type and by when?
Everyone craves clarity in their role. We want to know who makes decisions about hiring and firing from the team and who will do the appraisals. Who has the authority to negotiate pay, whether up or down? The classic job description often covers many aspects of your role. But what happens when you get assigned to a project outside of your functional home? (more…)
Collaboration has progressed from a buzzword to an article of faith in today’s organisations. Books talk about how to do it better and tools claim to make it ever easier to share ideas and plan projects. But what task are you collaborating on?
Something so simple, and yet something so often neglected—how to properly define a task. If you want to markedly improve productivity without anything other than the content of your own mind, it will pay to pay attention to the proper definition of a task.(more…)
I had occasion recently to reflect on the fact that it is now more than twenty years since I first read Peter Senge’s seminal book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of The Learning Organisation. All those years ago, I was at the National Productivity Institute in Pretoria looking for a breakthrough in work management.
The refrigeration contracting company I led was staring at a completely oversubscribed order book and we had to find a more productive way to do our work. The story began with them giving me in one hand a copy of Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, and in the other, a copy of The Fifth Discipline. (more…)
It pays to stand on the shoulders of giants, those who have come before and exposed eternal truths. You get to see further, you have a reference point to test your own understanding and insight and it gives you the confidence to continue, even when you are not sure of the ground you’re standing on. Their work is the compass you pull from your pocket when you’re not sure which direction to take.
Dr W Edwards Deming was a giant amongst the giants. He studied electrical engineering at undergraduate level, and mathematics and physics as a postgraduate. He worked as a statistician in the US Department of Agriculture and was a leader in the post-war reindustrialisation of Japan. Lean, Six Sigma and TOC all owe Dr Deming an enormous debt.(more…)
One of my all-time favourite authors, Joseph Campbell, when asked for a definition of mythology, gave the devastatingly simple response: ‘Other people’s religion’. He did go on to talk to the three basic functions of myth: to achieve psychological reconciliation with consciousness, life and death; to bind an individual into society’s norms; and to learn how to lead a good life.(more…)