Category Archives: leadership

Quotations from Chairman Powell – A Leadership Primer

 

Colin-Powell-Bloom-Energy-002

I have always been a student of different leaders and am always amazed how no matter the leader the core traits are always the same.

Because outages are a lessons in leadership we will be adding our own writings, other articles and famous leaders quotes to our blog.

The following was originally published in 1996 by Oren Harari, a former professor at the University of San Francisco, consultant and speaker.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Please Enjoy This Presentation For Download As Well

Quotations from Chairman Powell

A Leadership Primer

By Oren Harari

I have little interest in celebrities. If I were the rule rather than the exception, Hard Copy and People would go out of business fast. So, earlier this year, when General Colin Powell made the transformation from a human being to phenomenon, and when his nation-wide book-signing tour became a happening to frenzied masses—well, I paid little attention. I didn’t buy the book, either.

 

Then I found myself on the same speaking platform as Powell. Charitably speaking, I was the opening act in front of 1,000 bankers who were there to see the main show. I stuck around to see it, too, and frankly, I was impressed. Powell was witty, erudite, insightful, articulate and self-deprecating. All commendable virtues. So I decided to buy the book. Am I glad I did! My American Journey is a marvelous work, and it provided an unexpected payoff. As I read it, I started to underline noteworthy phrases and sentences and soon realized that what I was underlining were gems of wisdom regarding effective leadership. In fact, when I was finished, I was ready to toss out every leadership book in my library.

 

I’d like to share with you a compendium of advice from the general. With the exception of the occasional paraphrase to keep grammatical consistency (which will be noted), I present Powell’s words verbatim in bold—18 priceless lessons, to be exact. After each quotation from General Powell, I attach my own civilian commentary which I hope you will find useful.

 

LESSON ONE

“Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable if you’re honourable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: You’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset. Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.

 

LESSON TWO

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

 

If this were a litmus test, the majority of CEOs would fail. One, they build so many barriers to upward communication that the very idea of someone lower in the hierarchy looking up to the leader for help is ludicrous. Two, the corporate culture they foster often defines asking for help as weakness or failure, so people cover up their gaps, and the organization suffers accordingly. Real leaders make themselves accessible and available. They show concern for the efforts and challenges faced by underlings—even as they demand high standards. Accordingly, they are more likely to create an environment where problem analysis replaces blame.

 

LESSON THREE

“Don’t be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.”

 

Small companies and start-ups don’t have the time for analytically detached experts. They don’t have the money to subsidize lofty elite, either. The president answers the phone and drives the truck when necessary; everyone on the payroll visibly produces and contributes to bottom-line results or they’re history. But as companies get bigger, they often forget who “brung them to the dance”: things like all-hands involvement, egalitarianism, informality, market intimacy, daring, risk, speed, agility. Policies that emanate from ivory towers often have an adverse impact on the people out in the field who are fighting the wars or bringing in the revenues. Real leaders are vigilant—and combative—in the face of these trends.

 

LESSON FOUR

“Don’t be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard.”

Learn from the pros, observe them, seek them out as mentors and partners. But remember that even the pros may have leveled out in terms of their learning and skills. Sometimes even the pros can become complacent and lazy. Leadership does not emerge from blind obedience to anyone. Xerox’s Barry Rand was right on target when he warned his people that if you have a yes-man working for you, one of you is redundant. Good leadership encourages everyone’s evolution.

 

LESSON FIVE

“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.”

Strategy equals execution. All the great ideas and visions in the world are worthless if they can’t be implemented rapidly and efficiently. Good leaders delegate and empower others liberally, but they pay attention to details, every day. (Think about supreme athletic coaches like Jimmy Johnson, Pat Riley and Tony La Russa). Bad ones—even those who fancy themselves as progressive “visionaries”—think they’re somehow “above” operational details. Paradoxically, good leaders understand something else: An obsessive routine in carrying out the details begets conformity and complacency, which in turn dulls everyone’s mind. That is why even as they pay attention to details, they continually encourage people to challenge the process. They implicitly understand the sentiment of CEO-leaders like Quad/Graphic’s Harry Quadracchi, Oticon’s Lars Kolind and the late Bill McGowan of MCI, who all independently asserted that the job of a leader is not to be the chief organizer, but the chief dis-organizer.

 

LESSON SIX

“You don’t know what you can get away with until you try.”

You know the expression “it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission?” Well, it’s true. Good leaders don’t wait for official blessing to try things out. They’re prudent, not reckless. But they also realize a fact of life in most organizations: If you ask enough people for permission, you’ll inevitably come up against someone who believes his job is to say “no.” So the moral is, don’t ask. I’m serious. In my own research with colleague Linda Mukai, we found that less effective middle managers endorsed the sentiment, “If I haven’t explicitly been told ‘yes,’ I can’t do it,” whereas the good ones believed “If I haven’t explicitly been told ‘no,’ I can.” There’s a world of difference between these two points of view.

 

LESSON SEVEN

“Keep looking below surface appearances. Don’t shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find.”

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms. It’s a mindset that assumes (or hopes) that today’s realities will continue tomorrow in a tidy, linear and predictable fashion. Pure fantasy. In this sort of culture, you won’t find people who proactively take steps to solve problems as they emerge. Here’s a little tip: Don’t invest in these companies.

 

LESSON EIGHT

“Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavours succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”

In a brain-based economy, your best assets are people. We’ve heard this expression so often that it’s become trite. But how many leaders really “walk the talk” with this stuff? Too often, people are assumed to be empty chess pieces to be moved around by grand viziers, which may explain why so many top managers immerse their calendar time in deal-making, restructuring and the latest management fad. How many immerse themselves in the goal of creating an environment where the best, the brightest, the most creative are attracted, retained and-most importantly-unleashed?

 

LESSON NINE

“Organization charts and hence titles count for next to nothing.”

Organization charts are frozen, anachronistic photos in a workplace that ought to be as dynamic as the external environment around you. If people really followed organization charts, companies would collapse. In well-run organizations, titles are also pretty meaningless. At best, they advertise some authority—an official status conferring the ability to give orders and induce obedience. But titles mean little in terms of real power, which is the capacity to influence and inspire. Have you ever noticed that people will personally commit to certain individuals who on paper (or on the org chart) possess little authority—but instead possess pizzazz, drive, expertise and genuine caring for team-mates and products? On the flip side, non-leaders in management may be formally anointed with all the perks and frills associated with high positions, but they have little influence on others, apart from their ability to extract minimal compliance to minimal standards.

 

LESSON TEN

“Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.”

Too often, change is stifled by people who cling to familiar turfs and job descriptions. One reason that even large organizations wither is that managers won’t challenge old, comfortable ways of doing things. But real leaders understand that, nowadays, every one of our jobs is becoming obsolete. The proper response is to obsolete our activities before someone else does. Effective leaders create a climate where people’s worth is determined by their willingness to learn new skills and grab new responsibilities, thus perpetually reinventing their jobs. The most important question in performance evaluation becomes not, “How well did you perform your job since the last time we met?” but, “How much did you change it?”

 

LESSON ELEVEN

“Fit no stereotypes. Don’t chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission.”

Flitting from fad to fad creates team confusion, reduces the leader’s credibility and drains organizational coffers. Blindly following a particular fad generates rigidity in thought and action. Sometimes speed to market is more important than total quality. Sometimes an unapologetic directive is more appropriate than participatory discussion. To quote Powell, some situations require the leader to hover closely; others require long, loose leashes. Leaders honour their core values, but they are flexible in how they execute them. They understand that management techniques are not magic mantras but simply tools to be reached for at the right times.

 

LESSON TWELVE

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

The ripple effect of a leader’s enthusiasm and optimism is awesome. So is the impact of cynicism and pessimism. Leaders who whine and blame engender those same behaviours among their colleagues. I am not talking about stoically accepting organizational stupidity and performance incompetence with a “what, me worry?” smile. I am talking about a guns ho attitude that says “we can change things here, we can achieve awesome goals, we can be the best.” Spare me the grim litany of the “realist”; give me the unrealistic aspirations of the optimist any day.

 

LESSON THIRTEEN

“Powell’s Rules for Picking People”—Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.”

How often do our recruitment and hiring processes tap into these attributes? More often than not, we ignore them in favour of length of resume, degrees and prior titles. A string of job descriptions a recruit held yesterday seem to be more important than who one is today, what she can contribute tomorrow or how well his values mesh with those of the organization You can train a bright, willing novice in the fundamentals of your business fairly readily, but it’s a lot harder to train someone to have integrity, judgment, energy, balance and the drive to get things done. Good leaders stack the deck in their favour right in the recruitment phase.

 

LESSON FOURTEEN

(Borrowed by Powell from Michael Korda): “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.”

Effective leaders understand the KISS principle, or Keep It Simple, Stupid. They articulate vivid, overarching goals and values, which they use to drive daily behaviours and choices among competing alternatives. Their visions and priorities are lean and compelling, not cluttered and buzzword-laden. Their decisions are crisp and clear, not tentative and ambiguous. They convey an unwavering firmness and consistency in their actions, aligned with the picture of the future they paint. The result? Clarity of purpose, credibility of leadership, and integrity in organization

 

LESSON FIFTEEN

Part I: “Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.” Part II: “Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.”

Powell’s advice is don’t take action if you have only enough information to give you less than a 40 percent chance of being right, but don’t wait until you have enough facts to be 100 percent sure, because by then it is almost always too late. His instinct is right: Today, excessive delays in the name of information-gathering needs analysis paralysis. Procrastination in the name of reducing risk actually increases risk.

 

LESSON SIXTEEN

“The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.”

Too often, the reverse defines corporate culture. This is one of the main reasons why leaders like Ken Iverson of Nucor Steel, Percy Barnevik of Asea Brown Boveri, and Richard Branson of Virgin have kept their corporate staffs to a bare-bones minimum. (And I do mean minimum—how about fewer than 100 central corporate staffers for global $30 billion-plus ABB? Or around 25 and 3 for multi-billion Nucor and Virgin, respectively?) Shift the power and the financial accountability to the folks who are bringing in the beans, not the ones who are counting or analyzing them.

 

LESSON SEVENTEEN

“Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it. Spend time with your families.”

Corollary: “Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”

Herb Kelleher of Southwest Air and Anita Roddick of The Body Shop would agree: Seek people who have some balance in their lives, who are fun to hang out with, who like to laugh (at themselves, too) and who have some non-job priorities which they approach with the same passion that they do their work. Spare me the grim workaholic or the pompous pretentious “professional;” I’ll help them find jobs with my competitor.

 

LESSON EIGHTEEN

“Command is lonely.”

Harry Truman was right. Whether you’re a CEO or the temporary head of a project team, the buck stops here. You can encourage participative management and bottom-up employee involvement, but ultimately, the essence of leadership is the willingness to make the tough, unambiguous choices that will have an impact on the fate of the organization I’ve seen too many non-leaders flinch from this responsibility. Even as you create an informal, open, collaborative corporate culture, prepare to be lonely.

 

Well, there it is—a primer worthy of perusal by any aspiring leader and one a lot more useful than the infamous Quotations from Chairman Mao. I hope these lessons provide you the same road to success that they provided General Powell. Good luck!

Money Ball

I had an entirely different blog planned out for today, but you see I had nothing to do @ 8pm tonight and I wasn’t tired. Trolling the “on demand” selections I came across “Money Ball”. A friend just recently told me to watch it, because in her words, it was a very soulful movie. I responded “I thought it was about money and baseball”, she answered it is that, but so much more.

Watching the movie, I found myself moved and often teary eyed. A truly great story and from what I have read online after the movie, truthful. I’m no baseball expert, but the internet seems to confirm that the 2002 A’s hold the record for consecutive games won in the American league, 20 in total

Why would I cry?, big tough guy like me, you know the description by now part Shrek, Luca Brasi and an average sized grizzly bear.

I’ll let you in on a little secret…I care.

I have been in this industry, Power plants, for half of my life. I have pissed people off, I have angered many and yet I bet you money that you the worst of my detractors would say I cared (perhaps too much)

You see, in general the people in our industry give it their all, those who do not stick out like a sore thumb.

 Just because you work hard does not mean that you will be successful. I makes me crazy when people work hard in the wrong direction.

 So why did the movie effect me? Well naturally I identified with Brad Pitts character (The similarity was at times uncanny). When you’re the only one in the room that thinks the way you do, it’s never easy. The resistance and shear ill will that gets directed at you can be toxic at best, undermining at worst.

 What does this all have to do about outages? Well easy, the movie is about how to win for at least money as possible sounds like an outage to me!

 The basic concept is: if you want something to change then you need to change something

Not rocket science I know, yet nobody wants to change do they?

Let me ask you. Do your outages start when they are supposed to, finish when they are supposed to and come in under budget?

If they do then great, but if they don’t what are you going to do different next outage.

Everybody in a plant can change a tire on a car, How long do you think it takes, let’s see

Pull the car over off the road                      20 seconds

Put the car in park and shut it off              5 seconds

Pull the emergency brake                            5 seconds

Get out pop the trunk                                   10 seconds

Get the Jack and the spare out                  30 seconds

Place the jack and get engaged                 20 seconds

Remove the hub cap                                      10 seconds

Break the lug nuts                                           60 seconds

Jack the car up                                                  120 seconds

Unscrew the lug nuts                                     60 seconds

Pull the old tire                                                 5 seconds

Put on the new tire                                         5 seconds

Start all the lug nuts                                        30 seconds

Tighten all the lug nuts                                  60 seconds

Jack the car down                                            60 seconds

Put the hubcap back                                       10 seconds

Return the jack and flat to the trunk       60 seconds

Get back in the car start it up                      10 seconds

The above list of steps is a total of 580 seconds, some of the steps could be wrong but in general I think this describes a very quick tire change

Like I said everyone can change a tire

Here’s a You Tube video where they change all 4 tires in what looks like to me, 16 seconds

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si2E6SvczjI

That’s a quite a difference but what’s a few minutes right?

Let’s take that thought out for a spin, shall we?

A plant has a down day cost of $50,000 per day that means each second would be worth $0.58. So if we applied that cost to our tire change that would mean that you changing the tire would cost you $327.12 more than it should cost you

Now I can change a tire to, but if it cost me $327.12 more than it should I certainly would start doing something different

I can hear you now, They have special tools!, They are set up for it!, They train to do that!, They have more people!.

Yes that’s the point, but if you would like to continue to change your own tires and spend that extra money that’s your choice. I cannot in good conscience watch you do it and say nothing. Buts that’s me

What would saving 10% cost and schedule mean for your plant?

What plant improvements could you do?, What would the bottom line look like? What kind of training would that fund? Lastly what does that do to your bonus?

An Outage Carol

“I don’t care it’s no excuse, the outage was over budget by 28% and it took three weeks longer than expected. That’s millions of dollars and that’s why you’re not getting your Christmas bonuses this year” said the new Senior Corporate Regional Operations Oversight General Executive (The SCROOGE for short) to the plant manager and his team. “we have obligations to our shareholders to bring a profit to them. After all they deserve a return of their investment. It was their investment that created the jobs that pay you. You should be thankful for your jobs and if you want a bonus next year learn how to control your outages everything else you do is fine”. With that the new SCROOGE packed up his briefcase “I’ll be late for my plane, I’ve got to go, I don’t want to miss my Christmas”

The car waiting for him in the plants parking lot scurried him off to the airport. At the airport security he breezes through the frequent flyer line. He checks his pre printed boarding pass as he walks up to the gate and he is in luck they begin boarding first class just as he walks up. He settles into his seat puts his things away and breathes a sigh of relief, traveling during the holidays is always such a crap shoot one minute your good and then you’re not and there’s nothing you can do about it.

As the plane lifts off the runway he thinks to himself “Now I can relax I’m off for a week and we are in the air nothing stopping us now” and with that he breaths an audible sigh of relief. “That’s a big load off your shoulders eh brother” came for the man sitting next to our SCROOGE. “I love flying first class don’t you” again from the adjacent seat. SCROOGE turned to look at the man sitting next to him he hadn’t noticed him getting on the plane, as he did a meaty hand greeted him “I’m TOE” he said with a chuckle “I fix things, what do you do?” Our SCROOGE, still connected to the meaty hand started to bounce from the handshaking, TOE Looked like a mix of St. Nick, a bear and a strange resemblance to Shrek. “I’m the Senior Corporate Regional Operations Oversight General Executive for a power company” answered our SCROOGE “Well that’s a mouthful” roared TOE “How about I just call you OG for the rest of trip, that OK with you?” it was our SCROOGE didn’t really like his title anyway. “Well OG what do you do?”

Our SCROOGE spent the flight telling TOE everything. He felt strange, he never disclosed this much to anyone at work, how could he?  Everything was so political in his world, you couldn’t just talk freely, you had to be worried about every little thing. It felt good talking to TOE he was understanding of all the different perspectives that had to be handled by our SCROOGE every day. “you know TOE if we could just get our outages under control we would be able to really do well by both the shareholders and the plant personnel. But when you blow an outage its millions of dollars, both in cost and in lost revenue. Nowadays the outages have to be shorter and shorter I just don’t know how we’re going to do it”. TOE laughed, it took our SCROOGE back, “why are you laughing?”

“Let me guess, you keep trying harder and harder and the outages seem to get worse and worse, is that right?” asked TOE. “Well I wouldn’t say worst but defiantly not better “answered our SCROOGE.

“You know a pretty smart fella said doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, why don’t you try something different?”.

“What would we try?  Power plants and outages have been around for a 100 years what could be different?” asked our SCROOGE.

“Well I don’t know about 100 years ago but I’m 45 and when I was young we had one black and white TV with only 7 channels and one rotary dialed phone so things have changed just a bit in my 45 years” This struck a chord with our SCROOGE. “Here try this website, when you get home I bet they have something different for you” TOE handed our SCROOGE a card and with that the plane touched down. As they came to the gate and our SCROOGE got up and got his bags together he turned to thank TOE for the sympathetic ear, he felt much better, but as he turned to shake TOE’s meaty fist, he was gone.  “Strange” he thought, but maybe he had to get somewhere.

Our SCROOGE got home Christmas eve and had a great holiday with his wife and kids. The day after Christmas he settled into his home office to catch up on his work. Most people in the plant don’t realize that time off for our SCROOGE just meant that he wasn’t in the office it doesn’t mean that he wasn’t working. There was research to do, conference calls to be on, contracts to review, financials to figure out, reports to read and emails to answer. Each thing he had to think about from all the different perspectives that had to be considered, employee safety, earnings, future earnings, environmental performance and concerns, regulations etc. etc. the list goes on and on. At the end of his day he cleaned out his brief case and in his hand he found the card that TOE had given him with nothing but the website on it, he typed it in his browser and clicked on the Enter key. On the screen appeared “Thank you for your interest, later on this evening you be visited by three ghost’s do not be scared they are here to help”. Our SCROOGE sat back “figures just another crackpot, what kind of name is TOE anyway”. He shut the computer down and went on with his night.

His wife and children had gone to bed, Our SCROOGE was up watching a movie, he could sleep in the morning, a rarity. He got up to get a midnight snack and as he opened the frig a great white light burst forth and sucked him into the frig. He was immediately transported to a 40’ cargo container flying through time and space, inside stood a man, smoking a cigarette, drinking coffee and yelling the most vulgar and protracted set of explicative’s into the phone with an Irish brogue that was close to undecipherable. He pointed at our SCROOGE and motioned for him to come closer. Our SCROOGE did so, the smoky  mad Irishmen stuck his hand out and our SCROOGE did the same. Soon our SCROOGE was on his knees caught in the iron grip of the filthy mouth oversized leprechaun. With an evil look in his eye and a mischievous grin on his lips the yellow fingered apparition released our SCROOGE while shouting “Have a nice day buddy”. As our SCROOGE got up off the floor, the ghost spoke “I’m the f**king Ghost of f**king outages past, let’s take a f**king walk”. Off they went, the ghost was hard to understand, there was a lot of swearing, almost every other word it seemed like, and the brogue make nothing easy either. Our SCROOGE none the less absorbed a great many images of the way outages were. They took 4 to 6 months, they were major jobs, planned years in advanced. Outages consisted of wall replacements, pendant change outs, basket bottoms, turbine overhauls, generator rewinding. It took 100’s of men working 12 hour and 16 hour shifts for months straight without a day off. Each unit had a major outage every 5 years and the utility held this as gospel. Certainly not what went on in today’s day and age. Something stuck though, these crews did nothing but outages and the way they moved and executed work was very different than the day to day operations of a plant. They knew everything about each piece of equipment. There was a tremendous amount of field supervision with a clear line on command  That was interesting, as soon as these thoughts gelled up in our SCROOGE’s head he found himself standing in front of his frig holding a carton of milk reeking of cigarette smoke. “What the heck was that” he shook his head and poured himself a glass of milk and went back to the TV.

Still absorbing what had or had not happened he began flipping through the channels, he paused on a motor home commercial.  As he listened to the commercial he suddenly realized that he was in a motor home driving down the interstate and the commercial announcer was the driver. Where are we going asked our SCROOGE, “to the next outage, we’re the tube guys we show up take the old tubes out and put new tubes in” The driver was a tall lanky dark hair well spoken man “I’m the ghost of outages present if you haven’t figured that out yet but you can call me Chris it’s easier” he stuck his hand out and after the last experience our SCROOGE was hesitant, Chris laughed, ”I’m not like the past its safe” our SCROOGE shook his hand just as they were pulling into a plant. Chris was a far cry from the last ghost, he was well spoken, he had been an English teacher, he was well tempered and patent. Chris showed our SCROOGE everything he and his crew were doing, they were very knowledgeable. When our SCROOGE asked Chris about the NDE, Chris shrugged his shoulders and said it’s not our job. It was the same for the scaffolding, sandblasting, mechanical work it seemed that Chris was an expert in what he was doing but had no knowledge or care about anything else. Chris explained that the overall knowledge of everything was supposed to be the responsibility of the plant. He went on the explain that the plant never did any of this type of work during its operation so finding someone in the plant who knew everything was not something that happened very often. Our SCROOGE said “well where does a plant guy get this experience?” Chris shook his head “just bouncing around I guess”. Our SCROOGE said “that won’t work” and he suddenly found himself sitting in his chair in front of the TV once again.

From behind him he heard a chuckle, it was the same chuckle he had heard on the plane he turned to find TOE. “I’m far less dramatic then my fellow shades” said TOE “come over here I made some coffee you’re going to need it”. As the two of them made their coffee they walked into the dining room and in the center of the table was a huge crystal ball. “Like I said, I’m much less flashy, just look into the crystal at the outages of the future and watch; when you’re finished we’ll have a talk”. Our SCROOGE watched and what he saw amazed him. Outage after outage on time and on budget all executed by the plant personnel and all the contractors came and went with proper supervision and quality. The plant budgets came under control and the skills that the plant personnel gained during the outages grew new and better supervision and more well rounded management. After what seemed like hours our SCROOGE looked away and the crystal vanished. “Well, did you like what you saw?”. “Yes, how do we get from where we are now to there” our SCROOGE pointed to the spot where the crystal had been. “By doing something different than what you are currently doing” said TOE. “Wait let me get a pad” said our SCROOGE. “Don’t bother, I know a guy who can help, a real guy not one of us shades. He will train your people and get them running great outages, here is his card”

Twas the Night before the Outage

 Twas the night before the outage, when all through the plant
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Gantt.
The tubes were hung by the stack with care,
In hopes that all the contractors soon would be there.

The accountants were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of lower cost’s danced in their heads.
And Operations in their permits, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long nights nap.

When out in the lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the office to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the blinds and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Winnebago, and eight trailers being towed in the rear.

With a little old driver, so lively and curt,
I knew in a moment it must be The Outage Expert.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the dancefloor! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the boiler house the coursers they flew,
With the trailers full of Tubes, and The Outage Expert too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the boiler
The clanging and banging of each little toiler.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the stack The Outage Expert came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Tubes he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the holes, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the stack he rose!

He sprang to his Winnebago, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

From all of us at The Outage Expert

Just a bit of fun

Happy Holidays everyone

It Is What It Is, Failure However is Not an Option

Henry Ford worked as a chief engineer for the Edison illuminating company.

Did you know that Henry Ford’s first company went bankrupt? He resigned from the second company which would become Cadillac; His third company couldn’t pay their bills to the Dodge Brothers so they had to start a forth company, The Ford Motor Company which is the company that exists today.

We all know the story of Edison’s 10,000 failures before he invented the light bulb. Where would we all be if he had given up!

THE POINT:

Once the outage starts there is no giving up. It is what it is, forget what you wanted it to be. Keep your eye on the goal and remember that a plane is off course 90% of the time and yet it seems to make it.

If the contractor is falling behind either “make them feel pretty” or shoot um. Always Make the Girl Feel Pretty

If you don’t have the material, then go get it. Outages 101, Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish

If the engineers are taking too long, figure it out. Engineers, Engineers Everywhere and Not a Scope to Execute

If your information is scattered and it will take a lot of time to get it all together, then take the time. Your Outages iPod

If you have to take your “magic finger” out for walk, then take that walk. The Magic Finger

If you have to hang from a cable and get soaking wet to stick your finger, magic that it is, in the hole, then get wet. the Only Way to Find a Leak, Stick the Magic Finger in the Hole

Always remember you are the captain of this ship. Every Ship Needs a Captain

I know this all sounds like a self-improvement speech but the point is the meter is running and your plants economic livelihood is on the line. The plant profits provide jobs and security for many people and their families. Look at what a job and security did for Henry Ford.

THE STORY: 

The story last week was the start of what would become one of the most challenging outages that I ever ran.

The sandblasters were my fault; we got through that problem we only lost 12 hours so we started the demo on Monday night instead of Monday day… OK we will try and make it up

Tuesday Morning. Everything was looking good, everybody was in the groove and I thought that it looked like we had a chance to make the 12 hours over the next 4 or 5 days. I would be very, very wrong.

About 11 am the lights went out. I’m not being metaphorical, they really went out. The whole plant was black no lights with 150 people in all sorts of places in and around the boiler. First order of business gets everyone safe and find out what happened.

We evacuated the plant, we had to get flashlights and climb through the boiler to get everyone out. Mission accomplished. Everyone got out and nobody was hurt.

When I got to the control room we had determined that the whole grid was down. To make matters worse, the Island mode on our switchyard didn’t work,so we were down as well.

There we sat, black plant with 150 contractors burning money with no idea what to do. We could not get an answer from the grid, so we didn’t know if we were going to be down for two hours or two days. Around two in the afternoon I sent the day shift home and told the contractors that I would make a decision about the night shift by 5pm.

With still no answer from the grid, I got everyone in the plant together and asked what can we do about this. From the back of the group Joe  piped up “why don’t we go after all the valves on the black plant list”. We had by this time successfully implemented Zone Maintenance™ and we had a running list of Black plant items. The planner (a different one than Outages 101) said he would be right back. In a few hours we had a plan

Purchasing got every gas or diesel welding machine they could get their hands on, we bought every portable light that Home Depot had and set up all the jobs in a completely black plant. We got valve packing rushed in and went after everything we could.

By Wednesday,around noon, I felt pretty good we had turned lemons into lemon aide. However, we were still down and it was about 10⁰F outside and now we have been down for 24 hours and we had an air cooled condenser that we were freezing up.

We went after the ACC with torches opened up all the drains and drained each cell as best we could.

Then we realized all sorts of lines were freezing though out the plant. We ran around with welders & torches and whatever we could to drain lines. It was like shoveling sand against the tide, but what else were we going to do?

The grid came back up around midday on Thursday. We started to get the plant back up as best as we could depending on what lines were frozen and what we could get running. By Friday end of day shift we had the boilers up and we were starting to get one of the turbines going. We were starting the outage back up with full crews that started since Thursday night shift.

As I was walking to the 6pm meeting, I passed by the Ops manager who was playing with the steam dump valve from the steam header to the condenser. When I asked him what was going on, He said, He was trying to calibrate the dump valve. He didn’t think that is was working correctly. I said just leave it until we get the turbine up and all the cells of the ACC hot and running and then we take a look at it. I turned and walked away figuring that he would listen….He did not.

During the 6pm meeting (about 15 minutes after my conversation with the Ops manager) we blew the rupture disc on the turbine. Steam shot straight up out of the turbine. We evacuated the plant again (this time with lights) and got the steam to stop shooting out of the top of the turbine. After a few shifts we changed the ruptured disc and there were no more major problems. We eventually finished the outage.

Gee, Jay how did it all turn out? Well I’m glad you asked.

We finished the outage only 30 hours over the planned schedule. We overcame a 12 hour delay from the sandblast, a 54 hour delay from the grid going down and a 8 hour delay for the rupture disc. The total was a 74 hour delay that we made up 44 hours of, in the middle of all the mess.

We didn’t even go over budget, we spent more than we should, but we were able to manage just a $60,000 overage from traditional spending.

The best of all is, the grid got dropped because of a sudden ice storm. We had insurance, so eventually we got a check from the insurance company the made the outage a profitable event.

Outages 101, Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish

This week we are going to start a new format for our discussion, please let me know what you think.  The intent of this blog is to share the knowledge I have accumulated over the past 200 plus outages in short easily understood points, that in total, make up our Zone Outage Control process. Each week I  will share a personal vignette that I hope illustrates the need and value for that point. I can be a tad ….shall we say long winded, and although I’m often in love with my own prose, I do appreciate getting to the point as quickly as possible, so without further ado here we go

THIS WEEKS POINT: 

Outages are a different than day to day running of a plant. For a visual image of this imagine the plant as NASCAR, racecar speeding around the track and an outage as the PIT stop. Each operational environment has vastly different behaviors required for success.  If you try and run your outage like day to day operations it will cost more, take longer and be less effective

I joined a plant, in desperate need of a turn around, about a month before their outages. This plant had an outage expense budget of $5.3 million dollars and they had traditionally overrun their outage budgets by 20% ($6.36 million). They averaged 11.5 days per boiler outage (3 boilers) with each boiler down day worth about $60,000 loss of revenue.

The Zone Outage Control™ process saved the plant millions of dollars and was the cornerstone of a great turnaround from worst to first in just one year. Our outages came in for a total of $4 million; we saved $1.3 million against budget and $2.3million against historical spending. We did all of this with no capital, just a change in behavior/process during outages

We also shortened the outage duration to an average of 8 days (really 7.65 but really what is .35 of a day). Which had a net effect of, an extra 3.5 days per boiler  @ $60,000/day per boiler. All in, an extra revenue of $630,000 for the year

The plant went on to a banner year; it broke every production record while at the same time breaking every safety record. The overall effect of our efforts increased the plants EBITA from 30 million to 35 million in one year

THE STORY:

 The plant had a great many problems, Operations and Maintenance hated each other. The employee turnover rate for the past year was 52%. They missed there budgeted performance by the worst margin in company history. In short it was bad, bad, bad. About 5 weeks before the first outage, I actually got a quote from a contractor that read “because working at this plant is so difficult please add $15,000” on a $45,000 job. This is where we started

 I laid out the plan, I wanted everything we would need for the outage, tools and material, right next to every door that they would be used in; to say that it was met with a tremendous amount of resistance would be putting it in the kindest of all possible lights. I however can be very…… determined when I have to be, saying it this way is also putting it in the kindest of all possible lights

We rented welding machines; people screamed “the contractors do that”. I said “but then we pay for it at their rates plus mark up” plus this way we can set them all up on straight time instead of during the outage on overtime in the heat of battle

We bought 5000 feet of welding lead, one of my Forman said “we might as well give each contractor some as a gift when they are leaving; they are going to take it anyway”. I said “I will save us more money than it’s worth ($5000)” he scoffed and said “well it’s your ass that’s going to get fired; we will never see any of that lead again”

We staged all the material for the outage in the field next to each door that it was going to be used in. The Purchasing Manager said “I’m going to charge everything that you take out of the warehouse to the outage the minute it leaves my shelves”. I said “do what you have to do, but do not reorder anything until I say so”. He wouldn’t do it; he went to the Director of Purchasing to stop me and my madness. Just think of it material all around the boiler who would control it? What if someone wanted to steal the feed chute hopper wear plate, who would be there to stop them? I got a call from the director and I tried to explain my point but failed. Soon after that call I got a call from the President, he wanted to know if I planned on pissing everybody in the company off at once or just one by one. I said, I tried being diplomatic but I guess I need more practice. When it was all said and done all the material was laid out next to the boiler.   

I rigged all the superheat panels that we needed for the outage to the roof. Engineering said the roof couldn’t hold the weight. I had the roof trusses evaluated and brought steel beams up to engaged 4 roof trusses to support the tubes and I cut a hole in the side of the building and built a mono rail to move the panels in the boiler. We built carts to transport the panels

I rented port-o-johns for the roof of the powerhouse. Safety said I couldn’t move port-o-johns through the building because of sanitary concerns. I rigged them up with the tube crane and built an outhouse for them and a smoking hut on the roof as well.

It went on and on and on. By the time the outage came along everyone was just waiting for the mess that I created to come crumbling down around me.

The outage started and low and behold, things seemed to run fairly smooth. The contractors were amazed, all of them hated to work at this plant and now it even seemed fun. We played music in the morning and had coffee and doughnuts a few times. People thought I was CRAZY!!!!. The president flew up and took a tour of the outage because he had heard so much about it. When he was done walking around he said “It all looks fine, but what are the dollars and cents”. I said that everything was well within budget; he looked skeptical but let me continue.

As we got a few days into the outage, Tuesday to be exact, everything was going very well. I laid out every job on my “Magic Whiteboard” (a story for a different time) and realized that we were going to finish the outage in about 7 days. Pretty good I thought to myself. I sat back and mentally went through all the jobs again in my head to see if maybe I had missed something. Zone #1…. no, Zone #2….I’m good, Zone #3….they will get it, Zone #4….that’s going really well, they will be ready for the rails tonight….wait a minute, where are the rails, I haven’t seen them yet (neither had my “Magic Finger”). Off I went to go touch the rails with my “Magic Finger” I went by the job…no rails, I went in the ally…no rails, I went by the warehouse…no rails, I went to the lay down area…NO RAILS !!!!!.  I went to my office and paged my planner, “hey come up and see me please”

In he strode, eating a half a sandwich. I said “where are the sifting conveyor rails”. He said “there coming in Friday”.

Here I need to take a minute again to describe me for those of you who have yet the pleasure of meeting me. Body: Shrek meets Luca Brasi meets and average sized bear, Face: wise, warm, insightful, angelic some have said. However when mad ….well you know the cartoons when steam comes pouring out of the guys ears, That plus my eyes bulging out of my head like Roger Rabbit and to top it off a loud booming voice that can put Pavarotti to shame

Now back to our story. When my planner said “Friday” well I was not happy. I proceeded to explain to him in a high decibel mono directional way that I wanted the rails NOW!!!!. He went back to his office and started making calls.

He returned and said that Friday was the best they could do. I said get someone else to make them by tomorrow it’s just angle iron bent and hardened flat bar. My planner was confused, he said “but we paid for them already why don’t we just wait. My eyes widened as I looked up and he immediately backed up and started talking faster. “We would waste $25,000 dollars”. I got up and told him to sit down. I then explained very curtly that he was to rent a flatbed with a driver, buy all the angle iron and wear bar, get the yellow pages and a cell phone and bring everything to me by Thursday morning. I didn’t yell, I didn’t scream but I believe he was more afraid of me now than he ever might have been, he got up and said yes sir and left.

Every four hours he called in and let me know his status, we got most of the rails Thursday morning and all of them by Thursday night. My planner had done an amazing job he didn’t sleep for two long days. He got it done. He thought I was crazy but he did what I asked.

Friday morning came, the 7th day of the outage and like in genesis, I was looking for a rest it had been quite a journey but we did it. As I was winding down from the fight, so to speak, my planner came up with a grin on his face, I asked him “what’s up” he said he just got a call from the people making the first set of rails, they had some problems and wouldn’t have them till Wednesday now. We both laughed

My planner went on to engineering and then came back to this plant as my successor and had a longer run than myself.

Every Ship Needs a Captain

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, when men were men, and…

Every good story has a great opening line. In the past weeks I’ve recanted some of my stories. This week, however, will be different.

For those of you who are now crying in anguish because you will not have a charming vignette this week, let me assure you that there will be many more humorous and far reaching to come.
Let’s talk about the SS Neversail a mythical oil tanker a drift on the high seas.

Oil tankers are generally a large vessel that costs a great deal of money when empty. And even more money when full. An average oil tanker is crewed with approximately forty people. They have very limited tasks. Some people drive the ship. Some people make the ship go. Some people load and unload the ship. Some people feed the people on the ship. Some people clean the ship. Doesn’t sound too complicated, does it? With today’s satellite navigation and computers, it doesn’t seem like the jobs are too terrible or too hard.

40 people, all with defined duties, all that technology, why would you need a captain?
You ask “Who would be responsible” I answer “ the group would be responsible, it is only 40 people. Surely they can get together and govern themselves well without any supreme authority, after all they are all adults. They’ll all get along and have one focus that is shared between all of them. Certainly there is no need for a captain here….Right!!”

The mere suggestion of having a ship without a captain seems like lunacy. Who would think of such a thing? Why would you do this? Think of the lives at danger. Think of the recent environmental calamities. When considering this, I think we can all agree whole heartedly that this ship needs a captain.

So If we can agree that this ship needs a captain let me ask you about a different ship and lets see if that ship needs a captain….Hmmm let’s call this ship the SS Outage.

The SS Outage costs anywhere from $20,000 to $250,000 every day its late coming into port.

The SS Outage has about 100 different people who don’t live there running around its decks playing with its engines and controls.

The SS Outage has many rocky shoals to navigate around.

The SS Outage has at least 50 different disciplines that all have to work and play well with each other.

The SS Outage is constantly beset with mean, nasty and terrible pirates who board our precious ship and try to take our gold for their booty.

Assuredly if the SS Neversail needs a captain then the SS Outage needs one at least.

In a power plant, the biggest, most expensive “ship” is an outage. How often do your outages have a captain or captains, whom are there day and night? How many outages do you have that go over schedule and over budget? How many of those outages have a dedicated outage manager, days and nights, that is truly the captain of that ship?

Moral of the story:

Every endeavor that’s has a significant value needs a “Captain” after all what would the Enterprise be without Captain Kirk

Rule of thumb:

Is something critical to your plants success? Then put someone in charge of it. Also print the following and post it everywhere so you never forget.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

Engineers, Engineers Everywhere and Not a Scope to Execute

Once upon a time in a land far far away, I was transitioning from an engineering manager to a maintenance manager. It was a tradition in our company for an outage; all the engineers would come from all the other plants and perform inspections. I came into the company as an engineer and it always seemed strange to me that the engineers would run around while the plant maintenance would run the outage. This was my first outage as a newly made maintenance manager, so I figured let’s just roll with it.

To depict the scope, I made up inspection plans and graphics for myself and my engineering team. I distributed these out to the other engineers and assigned them areas that they were responsible for. While it’s true that I have an engineering degree and I had designed a thing or two, and have even run my fair share of calculations, I do not think of myself as an “engineer”. I’m always impressed when I work with true engineers; the process and the deliberation that most engineers go through is laudable. l however, do not have those bones. I much prefer to gather all the information, look at “it” (whatever “it” maybe,) make a decision and move on. But, I digress. So there we all are, at the beginning of our first major outage as a new and improved plant, gung-ho and ready to make changes and show the company how we were going to be moving forward.

The outage started: Blasting. – Complete. Dance Floor-In. Scaffold-Up. Sandblasting-Done. Inspections Started. –

The engineers started inspecting the superheaters on Sunday day shift. By Monday morning we had zero scope, we had held off the contractors working in the area and gave the engineers a well scaffolded and lit area to inspect. Yet, still after 16 hours we had no scope, not good, So off I went to find out what the deal was.

For those of you who don’t know me, you should hold the following image of me in your mind. Although wickedly handsome, and wise in the face with a peter pan-esk twinkle in the eyes, the body is somewhere between Shrek and an averaged size grizzly bear. Just a few more details to add to the picture, a full face respirator, hood and size 4X Tyvek (soon to be shreaded).

So there I was, squeezing in the boiler door (I would later change them out for larger ones in a later outages) while literally buffing all of the superheat panels with my body as I made my way through the pass of the boiler. I found the engineers with their slag picks, UT meters and paint in hand. When I started talking to them, they showed me all the things they found on the panel that we were next to. To my horror they were only about 20% through the pass. This outage could not be held up for another 64 hours while they picked and tested each tube in the pass.

I was conflicted, as an engineer, I understood the need to dissect everything and be absolutely sure that the unit was sound before it came up from an outage as it was too often that the units came down for something missed during a main outage. But I had to get things going for the outage to have any hope of coming in on time and on budget.

Wedged as I was in between the panels, I stared to look at all the markings on the panels. I realized that on the particular panel that I was pressed up against there had to be at least a hundred different marks made by the engineers in the span of maybe 5 feet. Suddenly, it dawned on me the engineers where playing the game like they had to prove their recommendations beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Feeling pressure in the pocket, I channeled my inner Johnny Unitas and huddled the engineers together. I explained to them that the panels are 15’ long, so if they felt a panel was bad just mark the top and the bottom of the corrosion. With these new marching orders the engineers finished the pass in about 4 hours. They then brought their recommendations to me and we reviewed them. There were some panels that were no brainers and some that were marginal. We went back in and checked the marginal panels and made a game-time decision then. Long story short, by the end of the day Monday we finally had a work scope and started the demo.

Moral of the Story:

An outage is a group effort. It takes many disciplines and many more opinions and viewpoints to execute a great outage. If any member or group of the team is working in a vacuum the entire outage suffers. This is a difficult dance. Power plant people are well….Hardheaded! You need to be! None of this is easy! A great outage finds a way for everyone to contribute without a lot of talking and a bunch of “Cover Your Ass” bull.

Rule of Thumb:

An outage is like a big PIT stop in NASCAR. The fueler, jack man and tire changer needs to know when to come in and most importantly when to leave. Everyone in the plant plays a role like this during an outage. Success is derived from that understanding of roles.

When You See A Snake, Kill It

Once upon a time, I was a planner during a particularly large outage. Some of the major jobs included an air preheater basket change out, nose tube replacement, burner corner replacement (a CE tangentially fired unit with 64 burners) including brining gas lines to each of the corners, and a re-insulation of the entire boiler after an abatement. During this especially hectic time, management decided to perform a wrench time analysis.

The results of the analysis came back with impressive results. Our job site had almost double the wrench time (68%) vs. the other job sites (in the 30% range). This large percentage differential raised questions and suspicion from the “Suits.”

Naturally, the first thing the Suites focused on was that these numbers were fake. We were soon accused of tricking the auditors. After much conversation and investigation it was determined that our 68% was in fact real. Imagine that.

After it was agreed on by all that my job site had a superior wrench time then the others, we started to delve into the reasons behind it.

As it turned out, the primary reason that we had a much better wrench time than everyone else was because we set the job up differently than everyone else.

Our traditional tool control during an outage was to have one central tool room where all the tools were checked in and out of every day. We changed that. Instead each Forman was given both a set of jobs and the time to lay out a written list of the tools that they needed to perform those jobs. Once the Forman generated their lists, they were given job boxes with the tools they listed. The tools were then signed out to the Forman and he or she was responsible for their own tools from there on end.

When upper management found out what we were doing they were incensed. They felt that there would be a free for all with the tools. They declared that any tool lost would be taken directly out of any bonuses or raises of the project manager (my direct boss) or me.

When it was all over (upwards of 170,000 man hours) my team was well under our tool budget, much to the surprise of upper management.

Not only did the team have a significantly higher wrench time than other jobs, we also had better tool control. More importantly, we came in under budget and under time for the entire outage. This feat had not happened in my division for many, many years.

Moral of the Story

A dear friend of mind once related to me a speech he heard by Bruno Bic (the pen guy) to his company. His opening line was “When you see a snake kill it, don’t write a memo, don’t send an email, don’t make a policy, just kill it”. The way we did tool control, prior to this, was horrible. It took too long and controlled too little. So in the fashion of Bruno Bic, we tried something different and that yielded huge results.

Rule of Thumb

If you have a management process that looks cumbersome and time consuming, guess what? It is. Find a better way and there are huge performance gains in store for you.

Lesson’s in Field Leadership

As a Power Plant Turnaround Specialist, I would Go Where it was Broke and Fix It.This could mean a piece of equipment, a project, a process, a department or an entire facility.

One of the facilities that I helped turn around had notoriously bad outages. They traditionally over ran schedules and budgets by 20% to 30%. My first outage at this new facility was going extremely well. I had the right contractors, the right plan and we were saving time and money off the budgeted amounts of each of these items.

However, at the end of this outage, I could not get the team to adequately close out the boiler. We wasted approximately 3 extra shifts in an effort to get it done.

I was determined not to let this happen on future outages, so I deliberated and planned fervently when the Hydro Time and Date should be (on the next outage)- Friday at 7:00pm. At the outage morning meeting on wednesday, I put the Hydro Time and Date on the Board, and an interesting thing happened. People started to look at their jobs based on the Hydro Time I had posted. Mystically, we hit the Hydro Time within an hour or two.

For Subsequent outages, I spent less and less time deliberating about a Hydro Time and Date to a point when I just used to “Make it Up.” After 2 years and 10 outages we never missed a Hydro Time or Date by more than 6 hours.

Moral of the Story The best way to complete a project in a timely manner is to set and enforce a specific and reasonable time frame for each phase of the project. For example, when people were left to finish a project without a specific deadline, they would tend to move at a slower, less productive pace. Once a deadline was imposed, people better prioritized the steps necessary to complete their individual tasks on time, making it easier to achieve phase completion by that deadline. This, in turn, speeds up the overall project completion time.

Rules of Thumb Every day, Communicate, Communicate, communicate put the dates and time of milestones up everywhere and make sure everyone involved with the process knows them one and all. Begin the shift with what should be accomplished by the end of the shift. Describe in detail for the guys what the day’s goals deliverables should be. Every job has a schedule and a plan either shift by shift, day by day or week by week of what tasks need to get done.

Leadership: “The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower