August is almost upon us and soon our summer will be drawing to a close. Companies are ramping up for the fall and many companies that are part of our amazing Oil and Gas family are also looking at preparing for what they expect will be a return to normalcy within then next few months to a year. Now is the time to look at optimizing your operations!
Whether you are a service company, a big (or small) upstream, midstream or downstream company, logistics, safety or supply company you know that the lessons learned from this last year are ones you need to incorporate into you daily operations. What are those lessons? That you cannot expect market values to pad your profit margins any more. That you cannot simply throw cash and personnel at your operations. That you need to be smarter and tougher. That hopefully you have been left with the staff that you feel are your value staff and you need to engage them and harness the "tribal" knowledge that they have to offer and know how to create a company they will NOT want to leave. The lessons are all of these and more which is to say that you no longer can afford to be caught with your "pants down" and you need to optimize your processes, your margins, your staff and your culture.
A Story Of Optimization
Company XYZ (the names have been changed to prevent them from getting big headed - lol!) is a small utilities player in a market where margins are notoriously thin. They wanted to bring an approach to bear that would help them stay competitive and also add something to the bottom line. A great group of people and close knit they were not sure what if anything could be done to help them with this. By providing training and coaching in Performance Leadership they were able to begin to develop their own unique continuous improvement culture. This allowed all the players from front line to management to take ownership of processes, opportunities (formally known as problems or challenges) and metrics to truly optimize day to day and all operations. They began to realize savings to the bottom line in the midst of the training sessions and now have developed opportunities lists that continue to uncover savings! Performance Leadership also helped them to create a culture that not only optimized current processes but allowed for input from staff with regard to the creation of new revenue streams!
It is still a very competitive market and they are still a small player but this company now has a better handle on things and a much more confident picture of how to handle the future regardless of what it brings.
A Certificate in Performance Leadership is a proven approach to optimizing company operations and employee engagement. Companies have moved from 52% efficiency to 93% efficiency in a very short span of time. They have moved from being 10% under profit to 15% more profitable! Companies have been able to optimize behavior based safety initiatives using this approach and saved by reducing lost man hours and insurance costs as a result. This is a proven method and it can be accessed in a number of ways; through a Certificate in Performance Leadership and support all the way through to a more standard coaching and mentoring model. Regardless of your size and timeframe we can create a solution for you that is both affordable and effective.
Performance Leadership - Think About It!
The subject of return on investment is always a bit touchy with training groups. There are so many intangibles that could impact ROI such as adoption, management buy in, and so on. With Performance Leadership it is not a question of whether there is ROI but how much?
One Company's Story
With an oil and gas company there was a need around building a culture based on metrics. They did not know how to go about doing this and so I had the chance to work with their team. We established a base line of performance that worked out to around 52% daily. I taught the leadership and crews how to measure their activities as they related to the overall performance of the team and how they could incrementally drive performance up. By the end of the engagement daily performance was averaging 93%!
But How Do You Measure ROI?
One of the outcomes of the Performance Leadership program is crews learn the value of a minute. That is to say that they calculated what a minute of downtime cost the company. For this group it was $642 for each minute of downtime. It was a simple measure that was easy for crews to understand. They knew that a one percent improvement in efficiency was equivalent to a decrease in downtime of 14.4 minutes. Multiply that number by what a minute of downtime cost and each percent saved the company $9245! Moving from 52% to 93% daily efficiency amounted to a daily savings of almost $380,000! Now of course there are a number of factors that could move that number up or down but the fact was when the crews began to see the numbers and found a "placeholder" to use as a measure they were eager to strive for daily improvements. Clients took note of the change in character and work of the crews and new contracts were added too!
How to Face Tight Times
Another oil and gas company who had applied Performance Leadership to their crews and leadership had also done quite well. Savings were being made, crews were engaged and there was a general sense of having a unified and common understanding of how things were going from front line to the executive offices. When the downturn hit the executive presented a much lower ops budget to the crews and a challenge to come up with cost savings ideas. Applying the principles of Performance Leadership, they not only came up with cost saving ideas but also income producing ones as well! In a year when the ops budget had been slashed drastically the crews were coming in significantly UNDER budget! It was a win win for everyone!
These Results Are Not Unique
There are many stories like the one above. What’s more we haven't even touched on areas like employee retention and the savings made when staff stay rather than leave, or the application of behavior based safety programs which are a natural expression of Performance Leadership and the savings to companies in terms of a reduction in lost days due to fewer accidents and so on.
If your leadership training programs cannot demonstrate ROI that you can quantify and measure my question is how do you know what value are they giving you? Performance Leadership - Think About It!
Fall will be here before you know it. Now is the time to explore a Certificate In Performance Leadership for you and your team!
Lesson From A Wise Man
I went to visit my father in-law last night. He is currently in respite care in a dementia ward at a seniors’ facility. He has moments when he is lucid and others when time and place are not clear in his mind. When I arrived yesterday he was passionately telling me about a project he was working on regarding getting a special film for the windows at the house. He had read an ad in a magazine and thought it was a great idea. In his mind he had made an order and was just waiting for the delivery. He knew who we were and wondered if they had sent us instead. On another occasion he woke my mother in-law because the doors in the house needed fixing (they don't) and he needed her help. We are firm believers in upholding the dignity of all people and I share these stories with you to reflect on the power that "purpose" plays in our lives.
He has always been a "doer" and a handyman and the guy you could count on to help out. In the course of his long and fruitful life he learned many skills from mechanics to carpentry. He is a pastor which I suspect was a natural outgrowth of his purpose which was found in helping others. He taught many of our children to drive and how to change the oil on the car. Always a friend and always willing to listen and share some wisdom. And last night he taught me another wise lesson. I saw that even when there are times when circuits might get crossed our desire to live out our purpose will still rise to the surface to show the true dignity of our human condition
What others may see as the meanderings of an older gentleman, I saw as an expression of the deep seated need we all share with regard to having a purpose. Take away someone’s purpose and you rob them of an essential part of their identity and you indeed rob them of hope. The lesson I observed last night is how crucial it is for a person to have purpose and for a leader to be supportive with their people regarding this need.
We All Have A Purpose
There is much research on this issue. The Association for Psychological Science has posted a study that shows that having people develop and know their purpose in life will actually have a beneficial health effect and add years to their life. Many great thinkers and humanitarians have addressed the issue of purpose as well. Helen Keller said; "True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." In another quote Sharon Angle states "There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability."
What Is Your Purpose?
You must know your purpose and you must lead others to understand theirs. You may look at what you do or what they do as just a job but a true leader will clear away the mundane to reveal the greater purpose in even the most trivial of tasks. When the Archbishop of Paris came to watch the construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral he chatted with a few of the stone masons. He would ask them what their role was and what they were doing. Most would say I am cutting stones for the front entrance or the walls of the chapel but one caught his attention when he replied "I am part of building something that will bring glory to God and will be enjoyed by generations to come!" All were stone masons but only one could see his "purpose" with clarity. What would your company or unit or team achieve if everyone had that stone masons perspective on the work they do?
Here is a challenge for you. We all know that a job is a job is a job. But a truly great leader will help their team see that job as so much more and will help them connect that to a purpose. What is your purpose? The purpose of those in your company or on your team? So I say thank you to my father in-law for reminding me of the power of purpose.
Performance Leadership - Think About It!
If this sounds like a strange question to you then please read on! Visioning is THE most important task you have as a leader. It is the time you give yourself to put away all the cares and interruptions of the day to take stock and to spend some time reviewing your vision for your team or company. This can be a daily time or at the very least a weekly time but it is a time that you should be carving out of your daily schedule for yourself.
Make Time For Yourself
You should plan this time for when you are at your "peak". What I mean by that is we all have a time of day when we get our best work done. We are focussed and on task and we can get more done during that time than any other time of day. For me that is usually between four and six in the morning. For others, they are night owls. Winston Churchill would write between eleven at night and two in the morning. What ever the case for you make sure your vision time is when you are at your best.
Just What Is Visioning?
I am sure by now you are asking yourself just what is "visioning?" Visioning is the action of stepping back and looking at your role, your team, your goals from a distance. It is the deliberate act of stepping away from the distractions of the day and giving yourself some quiet time to think, review and yes, dream. Too often we spend our days and the O&G guys put it; "Head down, ass up and in four wheel low!" Forgive the crudeness but it does paint an accurate picture of what leadership and management can become - lost in the tyranny of the urgent, swamped with minutia and details and fires to put out and certainly no time to step back and take stock. Taking time for yourself is important.
Scott Barry Kaufman, the scientific director of the University of Pennsylvania's Imagination Institute, and Carolyn Gregoire, a senior writer at the Huffington Post,write in Harvard Business Review about how solitude helps drive creativity. "Great thinkers and leaders throughout history--from Virginia Woolf to Marcel Proust to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak--have lauded the importance of having a metaphorical room of one's own," Kaufman and Gregoire write. (Will Yackowicz, In
How Performance Leadership Helps
This is where Performance Leadership is invaluable. The key component of this type of leadership is the work of teaching and letting your team or company take on tasks that one would typically consider management or leadership type activities. As they track their metrics and communicate with one another with regard to results they begin to take ownership of what is happening and part of that engagement means you will have everyone watching out for the team goals and performance and not just you. The increased communication means that information flows readily to you rather than you having to seek it out and usually issues will already arrive at your desk with solutions. That is what a high performing team will behave like and what that means is that you will actually have more time to devote to examining and refining the "bigger picture."
The bottom line is that it is not "selfish" or "anti-social" to build that alone time into your schedule. You owe it to your team or company and yourself to spent that time visioning. You will be clearer about where you and they need to go and they will benefit from that vision. Performance Leadership - Think About It!
Companies have spent literally billions on assets such as equipment, software, buildings and so on. We have arrived at a place where most companies are able to be on equal footing with their competitors in terms of these issues. Yet - in the one area where they could absolutely step ahead of the competition, in the one area where their investment would see immediate and tangible returns many companies quite simply are failing. They either fail because they don't recognize the vital need this represents or because they see it but only pay lip service to providing it. I am talking of course about enhancing their leadership!
Need What Need?
Many companies simply don't believe they have a need in this respect. They take the position that those capable technical people that they have elevated into leadership come with the prerequisite skills to lead. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eight of ten people who move into leadership and fail do so because they did not have those skills and were not given the opportunity to receive training in those skills. Moreover, they take their cues from the leaders above them who also have never been trained to lead. It may be comfortable but it is not leadership and it is not performance! Gallup did research in Germany where over 90% of leaders and managers thought they did a good job. Yet when their staff were interviewed fewer than 50% got a "competent" rating. Germany is not unique in this respect - just saying!
We Provide Our Leaders With Training - Really!
These are the companies that understand there is a need but either only provide lip service through training that is perfunctory at best or just plain far removed from the realities their leaders face. They provide courses that do little to connect with the needs of their leader teams and courses that they cannot measure in terms of tangible ROI for them. When was the last time you brought in training for leadership that actually required the trainees to measure and track their performance with respect to what they were learning and applying? Never would be the correct answer. Leadership training that cannot be clearly connected to the job and the company and which cannot demonstrate value added is training that is simply part of going through the motion of checking it off on someone’s personnel file. Nothing will change because regardless of what a company may say this kind of training reveals a lack of intent or understanding about why leadership development is important.
We Know Our Leaders Are Trained!
In this situation companies have invested and are committed to the improvement of their leadership. They either look for or develop programs that connect directly to the company purpose and the work that the leaders and their teams are doing. They are not afraid to tie accountability to this training so that they can ask and be shown how the training is making improvements with leadership and how that is impacting the company bottom line. They value the training because they have given it a clear mandate and purpose that is tied to the company mission.
If the type of training listed in the previous paragraph seems foreign to you or if you are feeling uneasy about the value of the current training being provided to your leadership or if you are not doing any training at all then let me invite you to explore a Certificate in Performance Leadership. With this program you will be able to remove all uncertainty, find clarity and know, really know that your leaders and their teams are not only improving but improving the company with them. Performance Leadership - Think About It.
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