In order for an organization to be Operationally Disciplined (doing the right thing, the right way, every time to achieve Operational Excellence), it takes a commitment from all employees not only to themselves, but also to one another. The concept of Forceful Watch Team Backup is rooted in everyone’s understanding that they are part of something larger than themselves, everyone relies on one another and there is a level of seriousness to the jobs they do. With that as a foundation, employees are driven to back up one another to ensure that everyone is doing the right thing, the right way, every time. And if a fellow employee has overlooked something or is not behaving in an Operationally Disciplined manner, other employees have the courage to step in and help resolve the issue. Employees are actively looking for what might be wrong in each other’s areas and expect others to do the same in return. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the company succeeds-if one person fails, everyone fails.
Just as was the case with Questioning Attitude, Forceful Watch Team Backup is not born of a desire to find fault and embarrass others or from the belief that others are incapable of completing the tasks at hand. It comes from the desire to ensure the operation as a whole is functioning properly and exhibiting Operational Discipline so everyone can succeed. The nature of the required behaviors can make explaining and implementing those behaviors to support Forceful Watch Team Backup. If employees don’t truly understand the motivation and rationale for behaving in this way, it could very easily lead to a culture of snitching, infighting and isolation as different areas, groups or individuals seek to protect themselves from the scrutiny of others. This just reinforces the need for a comprehensive program to implement the 5 Pillars of Operational Discipline; implementing one pillar without the others could ultimately lead to the behaviors and results trying to be avoided.
As Forceful Watch Team Backup is the last of the 5 Pillars for us to explore, in our next post we will discuss the interrelationships between the pillars and how they support and build on one another. We will also touch on how to implement a 5 Pillars program and how a culture of Operational Discipline impacts how different activities (audits, performance reviews, leadership visits, etc) are viewed and the approaches taken by leaders and employees.
In an Operationally Disciplined organization, Forceful Watch Team Backup is ingrained in the culture and seen as a regular part of everyone’s job. It does not matter what position you are in or where you work, if you see something wrong you are expected to step in and fix the situation, even if that means shutting down a job. If you notice that your co-worker has forgot to change an equipment setting or missed a required calibration or preventive maintenance action, it is your responsibility to inform that co-worker of what you have witnessed and ensure the situation is resolved before work proceeds. If you see it, you own it. And if an incident occurs it is just as much your fault for not saying anything as it is the person whose job was not done properly.
The issue could also be a fellow employee not acting in an Operationally Disciplined way. Perhaps he isn’t acting with Integrity or is not trying to increase his Level of Knowledge by trying to understand better how his operation impacts yours. Because these behaviors are what Operational Discipline is built on, it is incumbent on you to help your fellow employees understand and act in accordance with the 5 Pillars. And, of course, you should expect the same from your fellow employees; if you are doing something wrong they should tell you and make sure the issue is resolved.
Forceful Watch Team Backup is the check within your organization to ensure the right thing is always being done in the right way. And it is also the check to make sure Operational Discipline and the behaviors and cultures that support it are sustained over time at all levels of your organization.