Tag: Leadership Development

Safety Circuitry: The Power in the Brain

“What was he thinking?!” This frustrated question of supervisors, managers and safety professionals speaks directly to the future of safety in utilities. What are workers thinking when performing unsafe acts or walking past hazards, if indeed they are thinking at all? For companies to realize their goal of zero incidents, an understanding of thought, attention, motivation and decision-making is a must. They must now enter the realm inhabited by psychologists for decades, the world of the human brain. It has been said that while we are all born with a brain, no one gets an instruction manual....

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Cultivating a Mature Workforce

Your workforce is one of your project’s greatest assets. From the top down, the maturity of this asset has a dramatic impact on your safety culture and ultimately your bottom line. In this article I identify personal maturity metrics. By using the metrics, maturity is now identifiable. The idea is that your safety culture becomes stronger based on each individual’s ability to demonstrate mature behaviors. We can now recognize, demonstrate and teach these mature behaviors at all levels of management. In doing so, we are fostering maturity by empowering personal responsibility. The reverse holds...

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Human Behavior and Communication Skills for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011 and June 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities, as well as the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman. In this installment, we will discuss one additional set of supervisory skills that are possibly the most critical for the new supervisor: human behavior and communication. Human BehaviorWhy do people do what they do? Is human behavior predictable? Human behavior, and people in general, are so complex; could there be...

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Supervisory Skills for Crew Leaders

In iP’s first installment of the Supervisory Series (April 2011), we discussed how many organizations react when they are in sudden need of a crew foreman. Most have no career development plans for their lineworkers and have not taken the time to adequately prepare qualified crew members to move into a supervisory position. A quick decision is made out of desperation to promote the best employee we can find at the moment. Unfortunately, with good intentions, we often set up our best employees to fail this way because they have not been properly prepared for their new responsibilities.   The...

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Crew Foreman Needed: Who Do We Pick?

It happens all too often. We need a foreman as soon as possible. The crew leader position is vacant for any number of reasons – often suddenly – and we need someone now. A powerline crew can possibly continue to work minus a groundman, helper or apprentice. Depending on the crew configuration and work assignments, we may even get by a few days without a lineman. But to be without a foreman is usually grounds for shutting down the crew. If we’re lucky, maybe an operations manager can fill in temporarily, but the crew foreman’s position must be filled sooner rather than later. Limited...

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Innovate or Follow: The Argument Against A Best Practice

Careless adoption of a best practice may result in placing dangerous blinders on individuals within the organization, ceasing the search for vital fresh approaches. Someone, somewhere, pioneered the approach you are considering. Is your goal to innovate, or follow? The English writer, Charles Caleb Colton, said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The average safety performers imitate; the best create a culture of collaborative innovation within all levels of the organization. Best practice is often defined as a proven method to accomplish a task in a more efficient and effective...

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Keeping the ‘Fighter Pilots’ of Your Company Safe

A consistent, clear safety message backed by unwavering actions is what is takes to keep your employees flying straight. Most fighter pilots are 25-years-old and full of vinegar. Sure, they’re smart, but most have a lot of velocity, and often very little vector. There’s no way they can keep themselves from harm. Therefore, peacetime training losses are acceptable. This is the way military leadership used to think. Back then (1988), old school commanders honestly believed that if we were going to train (fly) like we were going to fight, a few losses were to be expected and accepted....

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Training for the New Century

Experiencing high turnover?  Too many incidents?  The answer to these problems could lie in a new, innovative training program. Electric utilities of all business models, whether investor owned, municipal or cooperative, are undergoing a transition. This transition is partly driven by evolving business strategies toward better cost controls that result in efficiency. With the possibility of electric utilities forced through deregulation to enter the competitive market, utilities must seriously evaluate the traditional business model. One attractive resource for cost effective restructuring...

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