January 6, 2020 | Barb Carr

Does enforcement need improvement at your facility?

An important management best practice is enforcing the right behaviors to get the work done safely and efficiently. However, this is easier said than done. Does enforcement need improvement at your facility?

What does enforcement need improvement mean?

How does TapRooT® define “enforcement needs improvement” (also referred to as “enforcement NI”)? Let’s review the definition on page 95 of the TapRooT® Root Cause Tree® Dictionary:

Enforcement NI. This root cause has to do with management’s actions to exercise control, influence behavior, and ensure that the person who is responsible actually followings the SPAC by holding people accountable.” (SPAC stands for standards, policies and administrative controls.)

How do you determine if enforcement needs improvement?

So, how do you determine if a worker did not follow SPAC because enforcement needs improvement? You can’t just assume that, you must have evidence to prove it. How do you collect the evidence to prove it? Measure compliance. How many workers are complying? How many are not? Audit. If you are not auditing oversight and follow-up by supervisors, then you don’t know for certain if enforcement needs improvement is the problem. If one worker did not adhere to SPAC but 99 workers did, you can’t really say there is an absence of enforcement. I know some will disagree with me if adherence is not 100% and this is a scenario we discuss in great detail in our 5-day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training.

Now, on the flip side, is management reinforcing the wrong behaviors? For example, are workers taking shortcuts to get the work done faster and being rewarded by management for speed? These things happen in the real world of production schedules, don’t they? We hear about them all the time. Shortcuts are ignored until someone gets injured, then workers are punished for taking the same shortcuts they were rewarded for yesterday.

Learn more

Remember not to jump to enforcement being a problem unless you have evidence. Observe how many workers are complying with SPAC and audit oversight of supervisors. Take a look at any mixed messages management may be sending to the workers. What behaviors are being punished? What behaviors are being rewarded? How do these behaviors line up with your SPAC?

This is a common problem but it can be corrected. Learn more about enforcement NI as well as how to create soon, certain and positive rewards to change human behavior in one of our 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Trainings in 2020. I’ll be in Charleston, South Carolina February 24-28 deep-diving this and you can register for that 5-day here.

Investigations, Root Cause Analysis
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