HOP stands for Human and Organizational Performance and it’s an initiative that is well worth the effort and the time is right. It’s a new way of thinking about how we can improve the work place. It is based on the premise that humans are error prone and that if we expect people to do things right all the time, we are most likely going to be disappointed – a lot! (Andrea Baker) It’s about understanding how humans perform and how we can build systems that are more error tolerant and is based on the works of thought leaders such as Todd Conklin PhD, Sidney Dekker PhD, James Reason and many more. For many years we have tried to make workers “care more” and “pay more attention” to what they are doing so that they won’t make mistakes. It seems that we have run that course about as far as it will go. In this new way of thinking or “new view” as many call it, we are making this change happen.
The results are staggering. We are seeing managers change their response to failure. We are seeing improved employee engagement. We are gaining deeper operational intelligence than ever before. We are doing this by bringing the workers and planners together to discuss how work really gets done, not how management thinks it gets done. Our conversations are more open and honest and because we are changing our response to failure, we are getting a much clearer picture of just how difficult it is for workers to get work done. HOP isn’t really like any sort of traditional program (i.e. Lean, Six Sigma, ISO, etc.). These programs are great and bring much needed structure and improvement to our organizations. HOP is more about our conversations, about the way we treat each other, about listening and learning from those who do the work and appreciating their depth of knowledge in the way operations run. It’s about better collaboration.
What if we are less surprised by human error and failure and instead became more interested in learning? What if we realized that many of the conditions that led to a failure were not identified in our standard hazard analysis tools? What if there was no “root cause” or “chain of events” that led to the failure in some sort of linear fashion? Let’s talk about it and see if there may just be a new way to respond to failure. And let’s look at the complexity of failure and consider the possibility that it happens more from normal variability than from some anomaly. And let’s talk about taking time to learn before we act!