Old Dogs, New Tricks? Or, Tension is Key for Problem Solving

A colleague responded to my post on listening to those with wisdom to remind me that it goes both ways…listening to the younger generation means new ideas, fresh eyes, different skills sets can be tapped to solve problems.

We get further as a whole when there is respect on all sides and everyone’s contribution is valued. Sometimes that means those who think it’s all figured out (because they did the figuring) will have to retread some ground. I also think there’s value there and so patience is required again.

Training the next generation is part of it, but there is more value there then just passing the torch. When two fundamentally different perspectives work together at a common goal, it can be magic. Make no mistake, it takes more work to find the middle ground where the team is performing (maybe the storming phase takes longer), but the power harnessed for good is much more than it would be if you only had one perspective at the table.

Choose People Over Logic and Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Something we’ve been working on recently is the level of analysis we chose to do. Two parts: what piece of equipment? And what level of detail?

We can start with a criticality assessment   Absolutely a useful tool to map out our prioritization.  If we have 100% support from all areas, and a lot of time, this is the most logical way to go about it. There are other factors at play.

If we treat EMP development as a knowledge transfer tool, spend the time on the assets of the experienced millwright who is close to retirement. Their knowledge can’t be replaced, but we may capture enough to avoid disaster, and to remember why the machine is set up that way (not “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”) This strategy is a good reason to break down an analysis by craft.

Chances are, maintenance folks know what the biggest headaches are and will want to work on them. If we’re starting (or restarting) an EMP review process, we may want to let them lead and choose the topic. Establishing buy-in is worth the investment and our interests will dovetail before long.

If we are learning a new software or type of analysis, choose a subject that we’re comfortable with to start. It’s a smart way to ease into a new technology.

These are these factors we’ve been using to prioritize our EMP Development work lately.  The level of detail depends on the time and people available.

What other factors impact your EMP Development projects?