PIC July 2023 Blog Featured

7 Questions to Assess Organizational Excellence

Organizational Excellence is a topic that comes up often in the industry, but many have a difficult time articulating exactly what it is.

How do you measure the performance of organizational excellence? How do you close gaps in your safety programs? How do you verify that the improvements in organizational excellence are having the desired effect on your safety programs and are reducing your risk of an incident?

To effectively answer these high-level questions, operators must first assess their current behavior so that they can take the appropriate steps to improve organizational excellence.

Operators need to shift their focus from simply satisfying minimum audit requirements to proactively assessing and understanding behaviors and their impact on the root causes of organizational failure – many of which have been linked to high-profile safety incidents (e.g. San Bruno, Marshall, and Merrimack Valley). This helps operators identify opportunities to improve safety culture through consistency, continuity, and accountability – ultimately leading to organizational excellence

Positive Safety Culture Reduces Safety Risks

An effective safety culture requires the support of leadership and employees to buy into organizational excellence and commit to safety improvement objectives.

If the culture is such that the idea of organizational excellence can improve your safety posture, then complying with standards, best practices, and regulations becomes a natural phenomenon – something we refer to as Natural Compliance.

To help you better understand your level of organizational risk, we’ve put together a list of seven important questions you should ask to get started. Consider this series of questions that your operation should be asking to better understand the potential risks that need to be addressed on the path to a healthy safety culture.

1. Are we applying the full Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA cycle) thoroughly and completely? 

The systematic application of quality management principles will set your operation on the right path of mitigating the root causes of organizational failure in support of organizational excellence.

2. Are our plans, processes, and procedures complete and thorough?

As part of this effort, the plans, processes, and procedures should be clearly articulated, up to date, and assessed to ensure they include function, training, tools, communications, and data management. 

3. How effective is our training?

Does the training include all aspects of the improved plans, processes, and procedures – data management, communications, and proper use of required equipment?

4. How effectively are we executing? 

Are we executing? How do we verify that we’re doing what we say we’d do, and how is that information being used to evaluate our performance? Are we satisfying the ‘Do & Check’ in PDCA?

5. Are we adjusting our plans, processes, and procedures based on their effectiveness? 

Once the performance is evaluated, are we taking the necessary steps to adjust? And, are any corrective actions being communicated to the affected personnel?

6. Do we communicate effectively?

Communication is vital – both internally and externally – to promote positive safety culture. Do team members hold themselves and others accountable, talk about the safety culture, and encourage each other to support organizational excellence? Is there a mechanism in place to “check” that communications are 1) being made, 2) being received, and 3) being acted upon as necessary? These considerations apply to contractors as well. 

7. Do we manage lessons learned? 

Is there a mechanism to capture lessons learned and a means of “checking” that they are shared with the appropriate personnel, read, and understood? And, are corrective actions being taken as necessary?

It’s important to consider other factors, like effective scheduling, proper documentation, and consistent execution of plan review as well. For too long, operators have used the audit as the basis for measuring the competence of their safety plans, procedures, and, more recently, their implementation. This has placed operators in reaction mode simply trying to satisfy an audit rather than examining their behaviors as a root cause of safety issues.

If your operation’s goal is to have a compliant plan, that’s one thing. But, the plan itself will not support the industry-wide objective of improved safety on its own. Checking boxes to capture compliance with the “shall” statements in your safety plans will not move the needle. What will move the needle is having quality mechanisms in place to ensure:

  • The right person is doing the right job, the right way, in the right place, at the right time.
  • Any variance is communicated.
  • Improvements are made based on lessons learned.

This approach goes directly to fostering your operation’s safety culture that supports organizational excellence. A healthy culture becomes the foundation supporting organizational excellence as the means by which your organization prevents and mitigates organizational failure. To arrive at this point, operators need to assess their organizational excellence. 

Next Steps: Organizational Excellence Improvement

The answers to questions like the ones we have posed above will offer insight into the level of risk for organizational failure. Deeper investigation, identification, and implementation of corrective actions and proper communication will improve organizational excellence.

It can seem like an overwhelming task to take on – especially with so much going on for operators on a daily basis. It’s essential to have a mechanism in place to help address these concerns – in combination with a way to manage stakeholder engagement, collect feedback, and optimize communications. 

P.I. Confluence offers a set of software tools designed with all of these challenges in mind. We offer program and process management tools, as well as software to facilitate stakeholder engagement. 

Consider P.I. Confluence Tools to Achieve Organizational Excellence

P.I. Confluence offers a robust solution to help operators elevate their safety culture and realize safety improvements. Consider the opportunity to utilize these software tools:

  • ComplyMgr: perform an assessment of any gaps that exist in your plans, the implementation of your plans, and your compliance with safety regulations.
  • ICAM: support process improvements by ensuring that personnel manage, schedule, track, document, measure, and report.
  • pSEc: identify organizational threats, support stakeholder engagement, and measure safety performance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Would you like to know more about how to leverage our software tools in your operation? Contact us today to schedule a consultation and educational demo. We’ll show you how we can help your operation reduce risk and create a healthier safety culture.

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