What if it isn’t the system or procedures that is the problem?

What if it is the engagement of the people in the system and with the procedures?

It struck me while out walking the dog recently. I only have about 40 minutes per day to connect with my best mate. He’s at his most excited when we’re out walking together, taking in all the different sights and smells. I talk to him regularly, and often must pull him out of a bush or something he’s instantly absorbed with, to keep going. I realise he’s only with me for a relatively brief time, but his entire lifetime. I cherish the time with him.

What I don’t understand is those dog walkers who aren’t connected with their best friend. Maybe they aren’t best friends, but another possession? There’s more than a few in your suburb who are like this. Buying things to suit a certain “lifestyle” impression. You know the ones.

Back to those dog walkers who are somewhere else while out in the fresh air, exercising and taking in the best company they are likely to find. Ear buds in or talking on their phone. Missing the moment. Needing stimulation. Craving external input to mindlessly scroll past, rather than living the joy of the moment.

Let’s put this situation into the workplace.

When we look at business inefficiencies, limitations or problems, all too often there’s a desire to blame ‘…the system…’ for the shortcoming. Think of how safety is policed in high-risk industries. It’s always a systemic fault when an ‘incident’ occurs.

Why is this related to the dog walkers?

  • Because of the disengagement.
  • Because of the lack of attention to the present.
  • Because of a willingness to avoid situational awareness.

A sure-fire way to reduce that inefficiency, limitation or problem is to resolve the engagement.

Ensure that people are engaged. Ensure they stay attentive. Ensure they uphold their situational awareness.

It’s a two-way street.

  1. It’s not all the organisation’s responsibility to achieve this engagement.
  2. Neither is it all the employees’.

It’s a team effort.

OK, there’s a heavy responsibility for the organisation to make the work interesting, valuable,  or sometimes bearable. No denial there.

However, in a regulated, balanced labour market, where both parties have relatively equal bargaining strength, the employee must accept the agreed employment conditions they signed up. Those conditions include a reasonable expectation that the remuneration comes from a fair engagement and effort from them.

When efficiency and effectiveness isn’t going your way, stop and consider how a small improvement in your team’s engagement might resolve your current undesirable performance.

Perhaps fixing the desire is going to yield far greater results than fixing the environment?



Peter Crane has spent thirty five years working with Tier One production companies, assisting them deliver efficient capital investments, reducing waste, improving their performance and increasing investor confidence. Armed with practical experience in engineering services, capital planning, project delivery, construction management and strategic asset management in the infrastructure and resources sectors, Peter offers a unique insight into operational roadblocks – and how to fix them.

If you are interested in finding practical solutions to your business challenges, why not schedule a discovery call with Peter and the team at SER Solutions today?

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