Let’s discuss the potential problems that may arise from setting targets on learning teams. Two main issues emerge: the risk of bureaucratic waste and the challenge of managing action items.
Setting targets could lead to learning teams focusing on low-risk issues that don’t merit the investment. This results in bureaucratic waste, as resources are spent on insignificant matters instead of addressing high-risk concerns.
Another concern is the management of actions that emerge from learning teams. To be effective, these actions need space for implementation. For example, in a BP site, a learning team was formed to address potential confusion caused by a change in equipment configuration. The site manager approved the learning team and ensured that the findings were integrated into the plan for necessary changes.
However, if targets were set, such as completing three learning teams per month, a backlog of actions might accumulate. This could be counterproductive, as it could overwhelm the planning and budgeting processes. Although many actions may involve simple changes, like painting, labeling, or minor equipment adjustments, they still need to be integrated into the site’s schedule.
In conclusion, it’s crucial to use learning teams in a targeted way, based on risk, rather than setting arbitrary numerical goals. By focusing on high-risk issues and ensuring that actions are properly integrated into planning processes, organizations can effectively utilize learning teams to improve safety and efficiency. This approach ensures that learning teams remain a valuable tool for driving meaningful change rather than becoming another source of bureaucracy.