This issue’s column is a collaborative effort – Dr. Boyce talked with his assistant, Adria Pullizano, over the phone, and she wrote about his thoughts on engagement and feedback.
Dr. Boyce is back! Working with several, even a handful of clients every year with repeat business is challenging, especially when those companies have over 500 employees and are looking for ways to cut training costs, cut time spent training and motivate employees to the highest production levels in history.
I wanted to follow up on a couple of comments from the last article. Since then I met with Lauren -- Captain Morgan’s Sail Charters -- again. I had not known she was a contract captain and can organize training on a boat, yacht or classroom -- as close to you as Lake Tahoe. (https://www.captainmorganssailcharters.com/) She mentioned to me another exciting sounding team building group that she has partnered with: https://paleoventures.org.
Of course there is always NASCAR’s Andy Papathanassiou’s Over the Wall Thinking and Training: http://otwthinking.com/. These are a variety of training opportunities that facilitate learning outside the classroom and away from the computer.
Always look for free supplemental training material, including videos, booklets and sheets which can be great meeting subjects and starters. Think of it as training and development appetizers (or as the Brits call them, nibbles), with the entrée to be face-to-face learning and/or team building. Some may ask: where’s the dessert (Brits = pudding)?
Industry can engage with academia and higher learning. One way to do this is: think process and application. Since I last submitted to Mining Quarterly, I was astounded (happens rarely) to learn that 400,000 people were reported to have worked on the project known as Apollo 11, also known as America’s first moon landing. July 20, 1969 was the day that 400,000 people learned if they had done a good job or not.
We had seen many movies and documentaries about this event, but this was the first time the realization about how many lives and careers were involved in one project was made apparent to us.
This factoid also reminded us about a documentary called Particle Fever, in which scientists re-create conditions from the big-bang to investigate the origin of all matter and unravel the mysteries of the universe. Just a hobby for some people, I am sure.
The reason these two stories are engaging to us are the human aspects. Both follow the thread of large groups of people working on teams, committees, organizations and companies, and the other thread are individuals. Fellow people that go to work every day hoping to make a difference. All have various motivators that pull us in or out of the game.
Dr. Boyce has said for many years, “If you are only playing to regulations, that’s only half of the story. The other half is your psychology and why you do what you do (or don’t do) to follow or exceed those regulations in order to be both productive and maintain safety and quality at work.” Dr. Boyce has been included in top 10 lists with influencers such as Steven Covey and W. E. Deming.
How do safety and quality go together? There are at least two things that link quality and safety. They are: 1) both involve human behavior, and 2) human behavior benefits from feedback.
This quarter we would like to talk to you about something not so scientific but equally as important. There is a reason why we don’t forget fables -- those short, to-the-point stories and fairytales -- otherwise described as tales with moral endings. One we will not forget is titled “The Princess and the Pea.” In short, a potential mother-in-law devises a way to test a potential princess to see if she is sensitive enough to lead the kingdom along with her son, the prince.
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When I’m comfortable, I get worried. What unexpected thing is going to happen next? Fitness experts will tell you not to get too comfortable on one routine or another because you’ll plateau and then stop achieving definition and muscle. Is there such a thing as being too safe, too driven by quality or being too productive?
Are you sensitive enough to feel the pea under your mattresses? If you’re uncomfortable about something, do you know why? Or what it is that keeps you on edge?
This is the time of year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that you miners and those working in construction and other industrial environments are most at risk for injury. Statistics are gathered to help us and provide a good picture, even if they are not the whole story. Look out for times of day, regions, and types (such as injuries related to vehicles, hands or lunchtime).
I’ve been to a few factories, construction sites, and mines (more so Dr. Boyce, who has also been given tours underground).
Here are a few things that all good trainers have in common. Have you spotted these during training or team building events?
All good trainers use a basic feedback form. Not just with the persons that pay them but with others whom they come into contact with.
All good trainers have an organized presentation and materials that stick with you.
All good trainers say, focus on individual learning AND team building.
All good trainers and team builders align activities with daily work.
All good trainers and team builders create experiences that encourage collaboration -- creating both meaningful events and training/team building experiences.
According to Dr. Boyce, the moral of this story is: Improving or even maintaining operational excellence, whether it be safety, quality, or both, requires a sensitivity to reinforcing the proper behaviors. And the front-line of positive reinforcement is feedback given the right way. When we get too comfortable, we habituate. Habituation is the antithesis of being sensitive. The result is that timely and genuine feedback stops. This is exactly when an injury will occur.