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Executing the Plan

Every morning, during my walkabout, I asked each team working on any equipment two or three questions. Typical questions were, what are you doing?, why are you doing it?, why did it fail?, etc. Initially their response was "I don't know." In fact, my supervisors were curious as to what I was doing, harassing their lads. I simply asked them to be patient. After a couple of weeks of this sort of pestering, the workers tried some tentative answers. Initially I made no comment, and tried to keep a passive expression. As the days went by, they became more adventurous and asked me for feedback.

Results: The Moment of Truth

Soon they started looking at drawings and manuals on their own initiative. I had never asked any of them to do so, but they figured out that they needed documents if they had to explain things to me. The supervisors, who kept the manuals and drawings in their offices, were surprised by the number of requests for these documents. Within about six weeks, they started answering my usual questions even before I asked, trying to check if they had the right answers.

They discovered that operators were not following start up and shutdown procedures properly. This started an initiative; they now insisted on being there at start-ups, and advising operators on the right procedures. Their own dismantling and assembly procedures became better aligned to those in the manuals. During shop overhauls, they began to visit the workshop to find out what exactly was found and whether they could do anything about it. They started thinking reliability without much prompting. Within a year, they began to challenge me, with drawings and manuals to support their case. In some cases, their thinking was much better than mine. When I told them that, they went away beaming with pride.

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