1. Leading the generations in today’s workforce

    February 25, 2010 by
    In an article in the Quality Journal "How to Lead When the Generation Gap Becomes Your Everyday Reality", the author, Issy Gesell, identifies the four generations in today’s workplace as:
     
    "The Silent Generation: The oldest generational group, born between 1925 and 1945, is the Silent Generation. Also called Traditionalists, Seniors, and Veterans, this group values hard work, conformity, dedication, sacrifice, and patience. Members of this generation are comfortable with delayed recognition and reward.

    The Baby Boomers: The largest group in the work force is the Baby Boomers. Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomers are characteristically optimistic and team oriented. They place a high value on their work ethic while also seeking personal gratification and growth.

     
    Generation X: The smallest group in size is Generation X, which also is known as the Sandwich Generation because of its position between the two largest groups. These folks were born between 1965 and 1980 and were the first "latchkey" kids. They are self-reliant, global thinkers who value balance, fun, and informality.
     
    The Millennial Generation: Millennial were born between 1981 and 2000, and ultimately will become the largest group. Even though less than half of them are presently in the work force, they already are having a significant impact on organizational leadership. Members of this generation exhibit confidence, optimism, civic duty, sociability, street smarts, inclusivity, collaboration, and open-mindedness. They tend to be goal oriented.
    Most of today's organisational leaders represent the Silent Generation or Baby Boomers. Over the past 40 years, these two generations have learned to work together. You can begin to raise awareness about the differences among the generations and their implications to your organization by facilitating a dialogue between and among the generations. Current leaders would be wise to assess their leadership style, knowledge of the different generations, and personal attitudes toward the different members of their work force."
    Izzy suggests the following questions can serve as a basis for evaluating personal perspectives and approaches:

    – What differentiates each generation?
    – Which generations are you responsible for leading?
    – How do generational differences impact your perceptions and leadership style?
    – How do those differences manifest themselves in the organization?
    – How can you lead intra-generational and intergenerational groups?
    – What can you do as a leader to foster mixedgenerational dialogue and problem solving?
    – Which generation has the strongest impact on your organization?
    – Is your organization more like General Motors or Google?
    – How do the major aspects of your organization's culture ("generation-bias") align more with one generation than the others?
    – How does that generation-bias impact inclusion, recruitment, retention, and development of employees?

     
    How will you manage?

    We also found this clip on YouTube:

    "How will you manage in an era of transformative changes in workplace demographics, technology, regulations, and expectations? Kronos and XPLANE present fascinating statistics."

     
     
    Kevin McKenna
    BPIR

  2. Pushing the threshold: BPIR.com advice concerning process safety management.

    February 18, 2010 by

    While researching some BPIR.com related subject matter, I came accross this interesting bit of information which I thought was worth sharing on the Blog:

    Ian Sutton [1] a process risk manager with U.S. AMEC Paragon believes that the root causes of safety and environmental problems are often economic. Managers can be subjected to relentless pressure to cut costs, while at the same time being expected to increase production rates, implement new initiatives, and to install new technology. This can lead to a mindset which crosses acceptable safety thresholds. The following six indicators are flags that thresholds are being challenged:

     

    1. Unrealistic stretch goals.  If an organization is stretched far enough major system failures are certain to occur.
    2. Excessive cost reduction demands. Managers being expected to "do more with less" can, over the long term, lead to the unsafe conditions being created.
    3. Belief that "it cannot happen here".  Catastrophic events are very rare and this contributes to an “I'll chance it" syndrome. Often managers and employees fail to distinguish between occupational safety and process safety.  In fact the actions needed to improve occupational safety, as measured by the number of lost-time accidents, are quite different from those needed to prevent catastrophic, low probability and low frequency events. Organisations that have often reported excellent day-to-day and month-to-month safety figures have been surprised when one of their plants has experienced a major incident.
    4. Overconfidence in regulatory compliance. Well crafted regulations, rules, codes and standards can also induce a false sense of confidence. These rules cannot anticipate the combinations of events that lead to catastrophic incidents most of which are unusual, even bizarre. Standards merely provide a framework for successful operational integrity. Detailed analyses must be also be carried out by facility managers and workers.
    5. Ineffective information flow. A recurrent finding in disaster research is that information concerning potential problems was actually available within an organisation but this was not communicated to the relevant decision-makers. One reason for this is that most people do not want to be the bearer of bad news. This leads to information being more and more diluted as it travels up the management chain.
    6. Ineffective auditing.  Good audits should attempt to identify the root causes behind any findings. Senior management should follow up the audit findings by reviewing the audit, the audit process, and the audit follow-up in detail. This also provides an opportunity to examine improvements required within management systems.

    Economic and business factors commonly exert pressure on an organisation’s leaders; however this must never be allowed to interfere with its proactive safety culture.
    [1] R10830 Sutton, I., (2009), Should Your Organization Fly Warning Flags?, Chemical Engineering Progress, Vol 105, Iss 12, pp 22-26, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, New York

     Members may read the full article which provides further excellent advice concerning process safety management.


  3. BPIR Best Practice Newsletter – No. 2 2010

    February 15, 2010 by

    Check out or BPIR latest BPIR newsletter:

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  4. What are most valuable – Good or Bad Practices?

    February 4, 2010 by admin

    At the BPIR.com we have been focusing on collecting good or best practices. This is what we believe our customers want. However, perhaps we can learn just as much from bad practices – of what not to do!

    There are many cases of poor service that I could highlight but I will highlight the most recent that happened today. It was to do with Vodafone, a mobile phone service provider. I was thinking of not naming the company but how else will we get these companies to change? Over the last week or so I had gone in and out of their website to make changes to my add-on services. In each instance there were problems with their website – saying that the service was unavailable and various functions not working. This was not untypical, I have had similar experiences in the last few years but I still preferred to use their website than their automated phone service which is equally frustrating (especially when  entering information via their top-up system and if something goes wrong, as it often does, the whole process needs to be gone through again).

    Well today I managed to top-up My Account via the website and then I selected one of their Add-On services – Best Mates.  I managed to add 3 best mate phone numbers but when I clicked on submit I received a message to say the numbers were not recorded and to contact customer service. However, the system still took $18.00 from my account!
    I then rang their customer service. To speak to customer service and complain about their customer service I was informed by the automated message that I will need to pay $1.00 for this privilege. I had to press “1” on my phone to agree to this as there was no alternative. Unfortunately, after pressing “1” the call dropped off and so I was now in a situation where I had paid $18.00 for a service that didn’t work and another $1.  I then went through the whole process again for another $1 and managed to speak to customer service.
    At this point I complained about my experience but I could tell it was on deaf ears and nothing would change in the future. The person said they knew there were problems with the website and apololgised. I recommended that until the website works correctly it should be taken out of service or have warnings not to use the My Account area. Surely, it is not too hard for a large global company which reports huge profits to have a website that works? Surely they must realize that many of their WebPages do not work correctly?

    Well, at least, Vodafone did reimburse the $2 for speaking to their customer service but of course they would not reimburse me for the time I wasted using their website (over an hour over the last week). Unfortunately, Vodafone is not alone. Many companies survive and prosper even though they have many bad practices – particularly to do with service delivery. This is usually because there are few alternatives for the customer or it takes too much time and effort for the customer to make a switch.

    So that is my story. I am not sure how valuable it is as a learning experience for other companies? How important is it for your company to listen to your customers? Do your employees use your company’s products and services so that they can experience these from the perspectives of a customer? What is your opinion on whether the BPIR.com should highlight bad practices? Should we have a section on our website allowing our members to record bad practices to encourage companies to get their act together? Perhaps these could be balanced by allowing members to add good practices too for the same company.

    Your thoughts please?

    Best regards
    Robin

    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz