Bigger is always better!

On July 26, 2017, in Deviation Analysis, Problem Solving, by George Loyer

One of our clients did a major rebuild of one of its production units.  This included a rebuild of one of the liquid chemical handling systems.  This system had functioned flawlessly for over 20 years.  Some felt that rebuilding it was over-kill.  But the project manager said, “Why have a 20 year old chemical system associated with a functionally new production unit?”  So it was rebuilt along with everything else.

After about 6 months a 3 Horsepower (HP) motor attached to a circulation pump in that liquid chemical system went down due to overheating.  So, another 3 HP motor just like it was installed.  That one ran for just under 5 months before going down due to overheating.  Now, it appeared to them that a 3 HP motor just wasn’t big enough, so they replaced it with a 5 HP motor.

The system was back up and running.  Well, running for about 7 months.  Then, that 5 HP motor, just like the two 3 HP motors before it, went down due to overheating.  Replacing those motors is an annoyance.  It takes about an hour.  That chemical system has to run or there’s downtime.  Nobody likes that hour of downtime or having to replace that pesky motor.  So, some Wizards of Engineering Excellence said, “Let’s install an 8 HP motor and fix this once and for all!”  So they did.

You probably already guessed it.  It ran for about 2 months when the pump to which that 8 HP motor was attached literally exploded.  Here’s what you may not have guessed.  Replacing the motor takes about an hour.  Replacing the pump takes about three days.  To replace the pump you have to remove lots of pipes, remove the old pump, put in the new pump and then rebuild all the piping.  That slick move by those Wizards of Engineering Excellence cost three days of down time and tens of thousands of dollars replacing that pump.

Before we go any further, what do you think would have happened when the first 3 HP motor failed if someone asked, “Why would this motor fail when, before the rebuild, that liquid chemical handing system ran for over 20 years with the same 3 HP motor?”  You’d hope someone would ask, “Why did that 3 HP motor fail?”

Tip of the day:  If a system and pump are designed for a 3 HP motor, don’t replace it with an 8 HP one.  Bigger isn’t always better!

I included this true story as part of my introduction to this series on Deviation Analysis because it makes a great point.  If something fails, your knee-jerk reaction should be, “Why did it fail?” as opposed to, “Let’s swap it out!”

 

John’s Corner – Insert – 12 July 2017

On July 12, 2017, in Uncategorized, by George Loyer

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Last time we looked at the Talking step of MindSet change, leaving us with the Doing step.

Previously we pointed out that what a Rozer is and that slipping it into Snide is not the point.  We also said, “If the people don’t even know what a Rozer is and / or have never heard of slipping anything into Snide, the Talking step is essential.”  So, if you short the Thinking and Talking steps of MindSet change, chances are you’ll ruin a lot of Rozers!

With that said, the Thinking and Talking steps of MindSet change need to be underway before effective Doing can happen.  Although started in the Thinking and Talking phases the Doing phase directly addresses:

  • Formalizing goals relative to the training.
  • Defining roles and responsibilities relative to the changes in behavior and committing to them.
  • Implementing the training.
  • Fine tuning the measurement system.
  • Identifying problems relative to the changed behaviors and solving them.
  • Finding opportunities to maximize the positive impact of the changed behaviors and capturing them.
  • Developing ways to make the changed behaviors the “normal” way of operating.

Just as in Thinking and Talking, the Doing phase of MindSet change is driven by the nature and complexity of the desired behavior changes.

Observations

People are more likely to support something if they are involved in it.  The Thinking, Talking, Doing process of MindSet change is a process of involvement.  Paying attention to MindSet and involvement helps minimize people’s resistance to doing things differently.

Final Thoughts About MindSet

For people to support a change in their behavior they do not need to like it.  They need to understand it and accept it.  Commitment to a new set of behaviors comes from understanding and accepting them.

For our client that changed its approach to manufacturing from Piece Work to Production Cells, some parts of this change were disliked by virtually everyone.  But, virtually everyone could and did support the over-all change because they understood and accepted it.  Had this client not paid attention to MindSet change, they could never had pulled off this change!

Test of the day revisited:  Why is training people who already know how, why and when to do the job worse than doing nothing?  Because it makes you look like a fool.  Only a fool would train a person who already knows how, why and when to do the job!

 

 

 

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John’s Corner – Insert – 21 June 2017

On June 21, 2017, in Uncategorized, by George Loyer

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Last time we looked at the Thinking step of MindSet change, leaving us with the Talking and Doing steps.

What’s a Rozer and what the devil is slipping it into Snide?  That is not the point.  If something is even a little bit complex, telling a person to do it and expecting immediate success is hallucinatory.  This brings us to the Talking step of MindSet change.

If the change is complex (which is the case for a lot of training) people also must talk about it.  The key things to talk about include, but are not limited to:

  • What is this training all about?
  • Why do we need to do it?
  • What will our job look like after the training has taken place?
  • What are our goals relative to this training?  How are we going to achieve them?
  • What are the new roles or changed roles of everyone involved in the training?  What are our new accountabilities?  What new skills will we acquire?
  • Because of the training, what do we need to measure?   How will we measure it?  What is the best way to give (and get) feedback?
  • What do we need to communicate?  How are we going to communicate it?

How you implement the Thinking and Talking of MindSet change is driven by the nature and complexity of the training.  If, for example, your people are trained often and are comfortable with changing their behavior from time to time, then the Thinking and Talking can be as simple as saying, “The Engineering Department has found a more efficient way to slip the Rozer in Snide.  Let’s take a look at how that’s done.”  Then implement the training interactively.

On the other hand, if the people don’t even know what a Rozer is and / or have never heard of slipping anything into Snide, the Talking step is essential.  One of our clients, for example, changed its approach to manufacturing from Piece Work, that is each hourly worker individually produced a sub-component with functionally no interaction with other Piece Workers, to Production Cells.  In the Production Cells a newly formed team was responsible for producing the finished product as a team.  In this case, the Thinking and Talking were structured events that spanned a period of six months.

Next time we’ll wrap up our look MindSet change.

 

 

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Here’s a pop quiz:  If someone could make you sit in the corner, and said to you, “I want you to sit in the corner for five minutes and, whatever you do, DO NOT think about elephants,” what do you guess you’d thing you’d about first?  That’s right, elephants.

Last time we introduced the process of MindSet change.  The three steps of MindSet change are: Thinking, Talking, Doing.  The example above points out, in a humorous, almost sarcastic way the importance of Thinking.

So, today we’ll start to look at the steps of MindSet change in order, starting with Thinking.

One of the main reasons training fails is the learner’s MindSet cannot accept it.  Unless and until people start to Think about the training and its impact on them, their MindSet often can’t accept the “need” for the training.  Whenever training is implemented, especially if the people are not frequently trained and / or are not overtly told what the purpose of the training is all about, they may assume the training is sponsored by some failure on their part.  When this happens, the training will be ineffective, not might be ineffective, will be!

So, if people are told up-front what the training is all about, why it is important and how it fits into the overall scheme of things, they almost have to Think about it.  (Remember the elephant above?)

If they do not Think about the training, there is a very high probability they will not change their MindSet and, therefore, they will not change their behavior.  This lack of MindSet change is why people often resist changing their behavior.

Next time we’ll look at the Talking step of MindSet change.

 

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John’s Corner – Insert – 7 June 2017

On June 7, 2017, in Uncategorized, by George Loyer

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John’s Corner – Insert – 24 May 2017

On May 31, 2017, in Uncategorized, by George Loyer

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A Truth about Human Behavior:  MindSet drives behavior.  If you want someone to change their behavior, you need to make sure they change their MindSet first.

Now, why do we train people?  Is it one, for fun?  Is it two, because we don’t have anything better to do with them?  Or is it three, because we want them to do something new or to do things they are currently doing differently, that is, to change their behavior?  I’ll bet you answered three.

New topic:  Why does so much training fail?  We see a clear need for people to do things differently, we develop (or purchase) superior training that gives them every little step-by-step behavior they need to change and do a great job of delivering the training.  Yet, when the training is over, they don’t do things differently, they don’t change their behavior.  Did you ever think it’s because you either didn’t know you had to or forgot to help them change their MindSet either before or as part of the training?  I’ll bet not.

Here’s the good news!  The process of MindSet change is a very straight forward, three step process.  The three steps are: Thinking, Talking, Doing.  And, that’s all there is to is.  No magic.  Nothing obscure.  Nothing hard to master.  But, if helping people change their MindSet is left out, chances are your training won’t be as effective as you’d like, or it will outright fail!

So, next time we’ll start to look at the steps of MindSet change in order.

 

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If training fixes everything, how does it explain that lazy Head Receiving Clerk that absolutely, positively knows how, why and when to do the job but doesn’t.  How do you know that Head Receiving Clerk absolutely, positively knows how to do the job?  Because that Head Receiving Clerk has trained all new workers in that job for the last 10 years and each and every one of them has done the job on time, right from the first time and they do it right every time to this day!

Here’s a cold, hard fact.  Training is the remedy for just one thing.  The person expected to do the job does not know how to do the job, or in some cases why or when to do the job.  Training “fixes” a lack of knowledge.  And that’s it, period!

So, will training “fix” that Head Receiving Clerk?  If you said yes, then there is no hope for YOU! In the situation above it is very clear the issue with that Head Receiving Clerk is not a lack skill or of knowledge.  It has something to do with the Performance System within which that Head Receiving Clerk works.

In other cases, it is not that clear cut.  So, how do you determine if you have a training issue or a Performance System issue? Ask the four questions below:

  • What is not getting done that should be?
  • What is getting done that should not be?
  • What do you want to see more of?
  • What do you want to see less of?

These questions identify the areas where an assessment is needed.

Determine if the person/people in question have the skill and knowledge to do the job.  If not, it is a training issue.

If the person/people do have the required skill and knowledge it is a Performance System issue, not a training issue.

If you do not get an answer to at least one of the above questions you do not have a Performance System issue.  But, does that mean there is no issue?  No, it just means that it is not a Performance System issue.

In some cases, it may mean that you do not “like” the person in question.  If this is the case then it is your Performance System that needs attention.

Tip of the day:  Only train people who have a lack of skill or knowledge.

Test of the day:  Why is training people who already know how, why and when to do the job worse than doing nothing?  Because it makes you look like a fool.  Only a fool would train a person who already knows how, why and when to do the job!

 

 

 

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