The Weekly Reflektion Week 45 / 2020

Your work is the thing you do to create value, but there is a difference between being busy and being productive.

Are you so busy that you do not have time to do your job?

I investigated a dropped object on a production platform where the area technician signed off on a work permit without checking that the agreed barriers were in place. A seal ring was being changed out on a wellhead, but during the job it fell to the deck below where two people were working. The area had not been barriered off. After a series of interviews it became clear that, in a busy period offshore, several people were waiting to get their work permits signed off to start work, leading to the area technician putting pressure on himself to satisfy all of them.

The reaction from the top management was to question why he had not ‘stopped the job’. The Offshore Installation Manager and the production supervisor (area authority) also reviewed the work permits at the permit to work meeting the night before and signed off on them knowing how many jobs were underway on that particular day. None of them said ‘stop’.

The senior management in some companies also demonstrate the characteristic of being too busy. Too busy to ‘stop the job’? Trying to book meetings with senior management is a challenge in some companies as the calendars are full, often double and triple booked. If attending meetings is their job, how can they do this if they are double or triple booked? For any meeting time is needed to both prepare beforehand and reflect afterwards. Do you often feel that some days you have been working extremely hard, but had achieved little of what constitutes creating value? By trying to fit in all the meetings it may seem that you are making the most of your time, but meetings are a great place to hide, hindering you from managing risk and creating value. Do not mistake activity for achievement. Say yes strategically rather that saying yes to everything, effectively implementing the ‘stop the job’ expectation at your own level. Top management should lead by example, ensuring quality in the execution of their job, managing risk, optimising the value creation, taking the time to do the job properly, Then they can expect the same from the rest of the organisation. 

Prioritise what you want to spend your time doing but remember that you cannot have 20 priorities. Give yourself time to reflect on what is important. Ensure you do not make these decisions in a vacuum, you normally are part of a team, and expectations must be aligned. Managers who are unable to prioritise their own time in the context of risk management and value creation may have difficulty prioritising activities in the company. Do you have trouble prioritising in your job?

Reflekt AS