Learning from Work Podcast

Let’s discuss the challenges faced by organizations when embedding learning teams and what industry leaders have to say. These difficulties include reliance on incident investigation, concerns about bureaucracy, and the burden of new processes.

Overcoming the Incident Investigation Misconception

The first challenge is that people often believe incident investigation processes are sufficient. They fail to realize the difference between workers’ imagined actions and what actually happens. Many assume that their metrics provide all the necessary information, overlooking the need for learning teams to better understand their operations.

Tackling Bureaucracy Concerns in Learning Teams

The second obstacle is the fear of introducing more bureaucracy. People worry that learning teams will resemble HAZOP, where a group discusses high-risk tasks without including the workers actually performing them. There’s a concern that learning teams may become just another process, and the actual benefits might be unclear or overly theoretical.

Addressing the Overload of Ineffective Processes

The third issue is that companies have experienced a proliferation of new processes, such as Six Sigma or Continuous Improvement (CI). These often lead to training and projects that don’t address significant problems, creating an additional burden on the organization. For instance, they might focus on meeting room occupancy instead of more critical tasks.

At a recent conference, experts emphasized the importance of focusing on activities that can’t be recovered from and critical tasks. They warned against setting targets for the number of learning teams or conducting them too frequently. Instead, they recommended using learning teams when there are signals of an issue or when dealing with high-risk tasks.

In conclusion, embedding learning teams in organizations is crucial for improving safety and operational efficiency. However, overcoming challenges such as reliance on incident investigation, concerns about bureaucracy, and the burden of new processes is essential for successful implementation. By focusing on critical tasks and using learning teams when necessary, organizations can strike the right balance and reap the benefits of this powerful tool. By listening to industry leaders and learning from their experiences, businesses can foster a culture of continuous improvement and ensure that learning teams contribute positively to their overall success.