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Episode 15 Season 2020

Accelerating Human Performance Backed by Digital Tools with David Hazell (Check-6)

Length: 53 minutes

Check-6 Vice President and former fighter pilot, David Hazell (callsign Nutty), encapsulates decades of elite training into the trifecta of change management - how leadership, culture, and process improvement (backed by digital tools) are vital to a successful digital transformation.




Guest(s)

David Hazell
VP, Chief Revenue Officer, Aviator
– Check-6

Jenny Eve
Director of Marketing and Public
– Check-6

Host(s)

Chad Perry

Published

07 July 2020

References

https://checksix.com



Read the Transcript



[General intro omitted.]

Chad Perry:

Today, we’re speaking with two individuals from Check-6, a human performance and strategy consultancy whose client transformations are supported in large part by digital tools, and all of the necessary changes around those tools, including leadership, culture, and process improvement. All of which, we’re going to be discussing today. So joining us for that discussion is David Hazel and Jenny Eve. David, who also goes by his call sign, Nutty, is Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer at Check-6, where he leans heavily on his background as an aviator, a commander and a change management leader in both military environments and commercial sectors. So David, good to have you with us today.

David Hazell:

Hi, Chad. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Chad Perry:

Now Jenny, on the other hand, is director of marketing and Public Relations at Check-6, where she makes sure that the high reliability industries that her team serves are well educated on the value of strategy and improving their safety and operational efficiency. So, Jenny, thanks for joining us today.

Jenny Eve:

Oh, Chad, delighted to be here. Thank you.

Chad Perry:

Now, I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation. Because anytime you get a group of highly skilled, type A individuals together and set them loose on a problem, you tend to see some really incredible results. So that’s what I want to do for all of our listeners out there, is to first start with David, can you give us a little context on how you personally arrived at Check-6, and what your team is all about doing for your clients?

David Hazell:

Absolutely. So I’ll start with the origins of Check-6. It was conceived in about 2007 as a way of applying human factors best practices from commercial and military aviation to the offshore oil industry, as proposed by Rona Flynn, who’s a leading expert in industrial psychology. Me, personally, I spent 26 years in the Royal Air Force and as you quite rightly said, as a senior I was a fighter pilot by trade. I commanded the largest fast jet squadron, and was also a strategic planner. For example, I was the air advisor to NATO in Afghanistan. But as part of my career in the Royal Air Force, I was fortunate to have an exchange where I spent three years with the US Navy, flying the F 14 Tomcat, back in the in the 90s. And that’s really the band of brothers that set up Check-6. All ex, US Navy fighter pilots from F 14 or F 18. And I’ve started in 2007. In 2013, I got a call from an old friend saying, hey, we’re expanding in the UK, and do you fancy a job? And rest is really history.

Chad Perry:

You guys have developed a unique approach to business transformation, as you said, based on decades of experience, and what most people would describe as elite training. So that’s what I want to get into in a minute. But first, can you help me understand a little bit more about the kinds of problems that you guys see and how that pain derives a manufacturing business to know that they need to change?

David Hazell:

So discussing with our clients over the years, we’ve kind of found three pain problems that buckets you for, I want of a better word, where most of our clients fit into. Firstly, they’ve got a known deviation. They’ve got a problem, efficiency or a safety problem that they want to try and change. So we found, firstly, they fit into the bucket of they want to, they’ve got a known deviation they want to make, they want to address that. For example, we worked with a manufacturing company that had a purity inspection report program that was wasn’t really being adhere to. It basically was down as low as 10% compliance. And we worked with them over a couple of months and change that from 10% compliance up to 90% compliance. So there was a known problem, known deviation. Second, we find where people want to, companies want to, make a step change. Maybe their performance has plateaued, they think they’re as effective or efficient as possible, they want that competitive edge. Again, working with another company, they just couldn’t increase the way, or reduce, sorry, their average time to load their trucks and back orders were basically driving up costs. So we work with them to identify the real, now there’s the real problems, root cause problem solving with them to address that and reduce their time loading and improve their efficiency. And then finally, we get companies that want to make that cultural change. They want to go from being an experience based company to a knowledge base. And it’s not a company, a company comes and say, oh make this cultural change. They kind of have, maybe, the great crew change where people are getting towards the end of their time they’ve been with the company for maybe 20, 30, even 40 years. And they’re taking all that knowledge, all that experience with them. How do you capture that? How do you capture that and codify it so that the new people are coming into a place each, the older people leaving, can do exactly the same job to the same reliability, time and time after again?

Jenny Eve:

That cannot be overstated, because the crew change is happening in all kinds of industries. We’ve seen it in the oil and gas industry, that we’ve seen it in manufacturing as well. And I think what Nutty saying, and it’s so true, you’ve got to find a way to codify it.

Chad Perry:

There’s so many different ways that this can manifest. You guys have developed a three part system or a three legged stool. What exactly is that and how does that tie into how these pain points are addressed?

David Hazell:

When we first started, we kind of focused on the plan based execution part of it. That improved the reliability and efficiency. We also utilized what is known as crew resource management, which most people have heard about from the aviation industry. And if you apply these, we found that they reduce operational errors and improved emergency response. However, over time, we found that our clients realize that our coaches and our coaches have all got 20, 30 years’ experience. They don’t quote from a book, they have lived all this experience so they operationalize the theory, which is one of our key differentiators. But they realized that our coaches proved to be actually invaluable mentors at all levels of leadership, and especially effective facilitators of organizational change. We realize we have to make a change as well. So today, Check-6 is actually more of a data driven performance consultancy, where we employ software and analytic solutions together with our consulting to actually support those operational processes, find that measurable compliance and performance data, which really ensures sustainable results. How do you make change stick? That’s the biggest conundrum that faced by all industries at the moment. So you mentioned the three legged stool, and that’s kind of where I got to now is our performance excellence methodology focuses on the three aspects of human performance. Firstly, the leadership and there’s operational process and then there’s the individual and team behaviors. So from a leadership perspective, we look to ensure alignment and ensure that the key messages are not just passed down to the crews and the personnel, but they’re also understood by everyone, and that helps to drive that organizational change. And then if you focus on the process to develop that procedural discipline, you get the guys to plan in detail, reef, execute, efficiently. And then the key part is a debrief, they talk about it afterwards. And that’s really the biggest piece of the continuous improvement and the change because you talk about what went well in that process, what you did differently, and then what you’d like to improve tomorrow. Because if you don’t talk about it, you’re never really going to improve on a regular basis, and you certainly won’t improve as quickly as if you talk about it. And then finally, we look at, this is the key bit, is the human side. People are the greatest asset of any company, of any industry, of any country. You can have so much technology, but we’re here to stay. We’ve been here for thousands of years, we’re going to be here for thousands more. So we have to focus on the people to instill those high performance habits. You look at the communication, the teamwork, the decision making and trying to empower people as lower level as possible to make those decisions. And that’s really how you get the biggest bang for your buck out of your people.

Chad Perry:

And so I want to go back to something that this phrase that now to use and that was going from experience based to knowledge base. Because we are in a phase transition, where a lot of small to medium sized manufacturing businesses are owned and run, at the management level, by older and more experienced individuals who have been doing that for decades and who are really good, they’re master craftsmen in every sense of the term. But that’s at odds, in some ways, with the new way of doing things, which is where everything is taking advantage of data. So you really have to be able to have systems around that so that you have repeatable results. Because data, of course, as you know, isn’t very useful if you’re not making comparisons from the same day, the same comparisons from one data set to the next, from one day to the next.

Jenny Eve:

And Nutty, I know, he and I have talked before about the gimble walk.

David Hazell:

So yes, I mean, you talk about the data and data is data. How do you turn that data into knowledge? How do you make it to be effective information that you can actually use? And that’s one of the things that we’ve found. Being aviators, we are the first time you get into or before you even get into any aircraft, you are become wedded with a checklist where you have to go through. It’s the minimum steps, central steps to get that aircraft started, to get that aircraft off the ground, fly and you do checklist when you’re flying around and you do checklist before you land and after you land. So, we developed this digital checklist system to help improve company’s efficiencies. And it captures the we sit down with subject matter experts so the people that have been there for many many years, the master craftsman as you say. I mean, how do you do this process? You’ve got to process written down but do you follow it word for word line for line? Or is there other local Spanish customs? Is there your own ways? Is there Chad’s way of doing it versus David’s way of doing it versus Jenny’s way? And we craft this checklist or procedure that teams follow. And that worked very well for many companies, and then we found that we could actually data mine, we could mine that data to really influence and affect even greater change. And to Jenny’s point about it, the gimble walk will be we take that data, we build a dashboard through tableau, which then manager is sat in his office and he can identify what processes are going well by which teams or individuals. You can drill down to even the steps of the individual tasks and find out where the timings are, good or bad. So you can then quickly identify who are the people that I need to go and focus on? Do I need to go and focus on this group that’s good or that group that needs improving? So that when you go and do your gamble, when you arrive on the shop floor, normal gamble is you’re now assessing everything or looking around and you’re trying to build up your situational awareness. Well, you’ve already got a certain element of situational awareness, because before you hit that shop floor, you know what’s happening on that shop floor. And all you’re doing is just confirming it, and then you’ve already got your plan. So it makes the leader, the manager, a lot more effective and efficient when he’s doing his mentoring, coaching of his teams to improve their efficiency.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, and this is a conversation that I hear over and over again, is that it’s about the culture, it’s about the leadership. And you mentioned these handful of pain points that people typically come to you with, and that was a known deviation that they want to fix. They’ve plateaued and they want to improve their performance or maybe their safety and efficiency, stuff like that. And then maybe they know that they want to transition from this. Or they know that the older generation is moving out and they need to create some continuity plan. But to me, that move from experience base to knowledge base is really a foundational element. It’s not just one thing. I mean, and I don’t really hear people saying, well, they don’t really speak in those terms anyway. Like, I want to move from experience base to knowledge base, right. They know they have some sort of problem that is a symptom of that. But I would go a step further and say, all of these things are a symptom of not having the right systems in place. And that all comes back to leadership, culture, and process, which is the three things that you have built your system around.

David Hazell:

And it’s all about human factors and reducing the human errors. Because while you have you can have as much technology as you want and you can make that as effective and as efficient as possible. Once you introduce a human into the loop, and then as you are now introducing variability. So the key part of what we deliver what we try and focus on is reducing human errors. Nobody makes a conscious effort to make a mistake. But we are human, so therefore, we are prone to doing something differently. Chad, you complete a process differently to how I do. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve completed that process and you follow the steps, we will have a slight variation in how we do it. We’ll get to the same end game but there’s going to be a slight variation in the timings of how we do it. So what we focus on with our data is trying to drill down and reduce those variations. You’re never going to get to the perfect day. You can strive for it, and that’s what we try and get, that’s what we are. You strive for perfection, and you’ll be as effective and efficient as possible. But if you don’t strive for that, and accept just a standard day, then you run the risk of being inefficient because people have, they can be distracted, they can be fatigued. And any one of those sort of factors that could be stressed, any one of those factors could bring that individual’s performance down. And it just takes one individual to underperform to put the whole operation at risk.

Jenny Eve:

One thing that occurs to me too is going through this pandemic that some manufacturers have probably shut down or they’ve altered. And so there is a loss of skill. There’s a skill fade in that whenever they do come back on full bore that if you don’t have those systems in place, then you’re a lot more likely to make the mistake.

David Hazell:

Absolutely, and companies, manufacturers, will see the difference in the experienced people and the less experienced people. The more experienced people, their skill fade will be less because they’ve developed the habit pattern, whereas the more junior people will be struggling. The way we used to address in the military was, we had simulators. As a pilot, I had to do a simulator every 30 days. Didn’t matter whether I’d flown every day that month, I had to do a simulator. What the training the simulator was to take me through potentially non routine tasks, and in particular, emergencies. And so you can test all the way through, even through to ejection, in a simulator run through all these different emergencies that you can’t do in the air, and then when the worst happens, you’re then trained to do it. And this is one of the points that many, many companies are facing now from a leadership skill fade down even to a technical skill fade is how do you reduce the impact of that skill fade when people are furloughed for a number of months and then they come back? And because it’s a habit. If you don’t do your habits every day, like people say riding a bike, even after a number of months not riding a bike, you have a little bit of a wobble to start off with. Well if you’re starting up a manufacturing line again, you can’t afford those walls. I guess this is a great example of addressing the skill fade and checklist as well. So I was on the Royal Air Force Top Gun course. I was returning to base having done completed my trainees mission and the left engine blew up. And what that meant was the aircraft started pitching to sort of plus 4g down to minus 2. So it’s basically like a bucking bronco you see in the fairground. But we were doing at 600 miles an hour at a time so it’s quite aggressive bucking bronco to put into context. I shut left engine down, I addressed various emergencies. But the key thing about, firstly, the skill fade was I’ve never experienced this emergency so I had addressed similar emergencies in the simulator. So I could, I had a vague idea of what I was doing. I was backed up by my navigator who just got the checklist out and he read challenging response what I had to do. He would tell me which switch to move and which direction so I could then focus on trying to fly the aircraft, which is a part of the crew resource management piece, that teamwork bit, the communication. And what it does is it alleviated a human error because I didn’t have to remember in very great amount of stress. And essentially what happened was the left engine threw all its compressive blades, through into the right engine compartment, it cut through the hydraulic lines. The hydraulic lines dropped onto the hot engine, caught fire, burned through the flying controls. After a while, I realized that my stick was fully back and fully right. And yet the aircraft was going down and rolling left. And that was a decision, I said, hey, it’s time to eject. From flight along straighten level to actually lean the handle was 68 seconds, just over a minute. And yet I had been through quite a traumatic experience with my navigator at the time. And unfortunately it still wasn’t over because my navigator, unfortunately, I hit the canopy on the way out and died instantly. I lost my dinghy in the parachute descent and spent 40 minutes fighting for my life in the sea, which was six degrees. And I got hypothermia and got within my body core temperature within one degree of me not having this conversation with the Chad. Very dramatic way of saying, the training I’d had addressing the skill fade challenge, and then really backed up by checklists. So that we can use the checklist just to start an aircraft and shut it down. But in times of emergency and stress, that’s when they really, really come to the forefront.

Chad Perry:

Yeah. And that’s a very apt example, because that’s what we’re facing right now. As you said, Jenny, some manufacturers have shut down. We’re seeing both businesses in survival mode and in the opposite of that, where they’re struggling to retool to meet the needs of things that they didn’t really expect to be building like, certain kinds of healthcare equipment like masks and ventilators. And what we’re also seeing is the businesses that had already prepared for being flexible, for being efficient, for having digital tools and procedures to support that kind of continuity and that kind of flexibility. Those are the businesses that have been able to respond. And the ones that are going into survival mode. Now, granted some of them just don’t have customers anymore but things will return to some kind of normal at some point, but it’s not gonna be the same as it was before. Companies are going to be operating more efficiently, they’re going to be less willing to spend frivolous money. And so it’s going to be the urgency of being more efficient and relying on digital tools is going to be ever more important. And I want to go back to something you said, you have to have those systems in place. Now, this is all about culture, all about leadership and processes. But on the flip side of that, it’s kind of interesting because getting a business to change and leveraging the experience of those who have digital, who are digitally native, so to speak, that’s something that I also hear a lot about in these conversations. And that is that you really need to bring together the digital awareness of, generally that’s the younger generation, with those master craftsman. And so when you have that blending, that is an exercise in creativity, that is an exercise in very much going outside of the box, and really stress testing the systems you have. So it’s not just about coming up with a checklist and always following it, and that’s going to work from here on out. So how do you guys address that the fact that the business is going to continue to evolve?

Jenny Eve:

What we have had to do is we’ve had to be very flexible as a company, and we have had to reorient the way that we do business because our business was face to face. And so we quickly moved into adaptation mode and creativity mode. And so we’re doing Virtual Training and utilizing various case studies. And that has become a very popular thing with our clients and potential clients.

David Hazell:

So and the reason we’ve changed is by utilizing the intellectual capability of our people, and people talking, especially in manufacturing about the seven wastes of lean. Well, you can argue there’s an eighth one, which is the intellectual capability of the people. And that is a waste if you’re not using it. So you talked right at the beginning about the leadership piece. As companies evolve, it starts with the leadership and we focus on the people, because there’s a difference between managing and leading. Managers do things right, they will follow a plan, whereas, leaders do the right thing. They align people, they take people with them, they have that vision, but they also empower people. And you talked about master craftsman, and the millennials for want of a better word, a phrase of the younger generation. And there’s a cultural challenge, because you’ll have the master craftsman. They’ve been doing things for 30, 40, maybe 50 years, and well some of that will be digital and automated. They won’t really have a grasp and they’ve, why do I need to change and you’ve got the millennials who pick up the digital stuff very quickly, and will then be suggesting to the master craftsman different things. So it’s getting the two different eras to align and communicate and getting them to change but empowering them to do that change. So the leader has to support that communication but also allow intellectual capabilities of the master craftsman and the millennials to evolve and have those conversations and come up with the ideas. As you evolve, it’s got to be done with the team, not to the team. And that’s a real challenge from a leadership perspective. Because even if the leaders have been there for 30, 40, 50 years, they have to accept the change first and foremost. If they are not role modeling the new behaviors of what they expect from their team, it’s not going to stick.

Chad Perry:

I would ask to take that further and say, what are the actual practical steps? If you were having a conversation with a small manufacturing business owner, and they said, yes, I understand that, but I just like how do I even begin to do something like that? Because it seems so overwhelming that even if you had a small staff say, I don’t know, 10 to 20 people and you’re trying to get everybody to make this change, I mean, do you have a pep rally every morning? Or what do you actually do to ensure that that happens over the next couple of months or a year or whatever it may be?

David Hazell:

As the leader, you have to have the vision. Where do you want this company to go? And then you have, first and foremost, you ha ve to have that chain store, you have to communicate to the team. This is where we are now, and we have to evolve, we have to change, otherwise we’re not going to survive. And here’s how we’re going to change. But it’s the why. People change for a number of reasons, and the key thing is why. Not, what they’re going to do or how they’re going to do it. So what’s in it for me? Why do I change it? That communication piece to start off with. And absolutely I would not necessarily have a pep talk every day. You can delegate that down but I, as part of my command in the largest fast jet squadron I took them through two major transformations. And communication is the biggest tool that I had and that I used. I had a face to face with the 350 people that I lead every week. Now, sometimes I sat there and say nothing is changed in last week. It gave me visibility of my team, and it gave them visibility of me. But it allowed me to tell them the changes as I went through. And that has to, first and foremost, if you’re not communicating to your team, if they’re not understanding why the changes necessary, you’ve got barriers straightaway. So that’s the first thing you have to address.

Chad Perry:

If you were a leader having this discussion, and you’re saying, okay, well, here’s the why. It’s easy for me as a leader to understand the why from the business perspective. So let’s say we want to grow 3% over the next year, something optimistic, not just like, oh, we just need to survive, but what’s a metric that we can all look forward to. That’s a very a cold, inhuman way of looking at it. So let’s say I’m an apprentice who just joined the company. And I’m searching for that answer as well. Why? Why do I care? What does that typically look like from the bottom up?

David Hazell:

If you instill in change in business, then what drives people? We need to understand that people, what are their main drivers? Is it just coming to work and enjoying themselves for the day? Is it coming to work for money? Are they are they looking to gain a lot of money? Or are they just looking to take money home for lifestyle? So from the bottom, it probably comes back to my point about the intellectual waste, even an apprentice has great ideas. And when I lead, when I change, when I transform, took my squadron through transformation, I didn’t have the answers to everything. But as a team, we did. So if you address it as a team, and what I did was I initially changed the squadron and then I got, I empowered the junior staff to have a weekly Kaizen meeting to go, what’s working and what’s not. Because it changes, you can install the change, but you have to, the lower levels have to, understand exactly what that changes and feel empowered to be able to change that change. And so that worked really well is just empower them to go, if it’s not working then I need to know. I’ve got these great ideas as the leader. So it has to be, as you said, the top down and the bottom up, and it has to be a mixture of blend of bot h of them.

Jenny Eve:

Perhaps the leader would want to pause if he’s not having ideas coming from the bottom up, because people need to feel the freedom to express their views without fear of alienation or retribution or any of that. And I think if people feel valued from the bottom up, then that’s their why. That’s why they want to come to work because they know that what they’re doing is valued at the top.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, that’s it. That’s a good way to put that. So it’s absolutely a good litmus test, that if you’re not getting changes, or ideas being pushed from your team, and they’re not eager to do these things, then it’s a good sign that you need to change something. And that probably starts with this question of why, what are we doing and why are we doing it?

David Hazell:

It’s a great indicator that you’re not communicating to your team. Because if they suggest a change, and it doesn’t happen, that’s fine. But you have to go back and explain to them why it’s not changing. Because as the Leader, you have the bigger picture. You have the strategic view, whereas they just have a more tactical view of a particular process. So if they suggest a change, and it can’t be implemented, you have to go back and say, thanks, Chad, great idea. However, for this, this and this reason, I can’t implement it this time. Please keep going. Because if you don’t recognize, and it is that point of journey, if you don’t value your team, or they don’t feel valued, because they’re putting in these suggestions of change, and nothing’s happening, and there’s no communication, then they will shut up, they will stop talking to you. Whereas if you keep flowing back the information in almost a cyclic way of thanks so much, keep going. Then the next one, yeah, absolutely, great idea, Chad, let’s implement that one. The ideas will keep flowing.

Chad Perry:

That’s the fastest way to shut down that creativity is to not value it, right.

David Hazell:

Absolutely.

Chad Perry:

Whether it’s a good idea or not, it’s an idea and it has value in and of the fact that it is just helping you get to that next level, what we call, failing fast or making small experiments. Which actually comes back to the core of what digital transformation is all about, and that is enabling humans to be more human, to be what they’re good at, and alleviate the dangerous, repetitive, things like that. the tasks that computers are better at. And that, frankly, like most humans probably don’t want to be doing anyway.

David Hazell:

Absolutely. They replace the human in the dangerous aspects of the processes, but they weren’t fully replace the humans, because you still need a human in that loop in some shape or form.

Chad Perry:

How do you make sure that once you’ve achieved a little bit of change in this regard. Let’s say you’re a manufacturing business owner, and you’ve instituted a little bit of cultural change, you’re a couple months into this, and things are happening. There are stressful situations, obviously, like we’re living through one right now, the pandemic, it’s turning everything on its head. But even that you always have day to day fires. How do you ensure that your team doesn’t slide back into this experience based culture, just doing things the way they know best, rather than making sure that they’re following that checklist every single time to ensure that they don’t miss anything?

David Hazell:

Chad, that’s a great point, as alluded to at the beginning, I’ve got some commercial background. I worked in financial services delivering change programs and it’s a point you see regularly that you go into a company and they, the people, on the shop floor go, yeah, do you know what, the change people are here. Give it three or four months They’ll say yes, yes, yes. And then after three or four months, they’ll go, we can go back to what we used to do. It’s human nature. As long as the, first and foremost, as long as the leadership are driving those behavioral changes and role modeling, then there’s your first starter. You get that right and you can continue. The digital piece here is tracking what people do. And this is where the digital checklists, what we’ve developed, really comes into play because as the manager sat at your desk, you can track down to the individuals who’s doing what on the shop floor. Now that sounds a little bit like Big Brother watching and there is probably an element of it. But do you know what, it protects the individual as well. Because as you said, in these stressful conditions now, if they follow the digital checklists, line by line, and something goes wrong. They have a digital footprint that says, I did exactly as you expected of me. And so if something has gone wrong, is because the process was flawed, or there’s a machine had mechanical error or something like that. But it protects the individual rather than if you’ve not got a digital footprint. How do you prove that they actually followed the process, step by step, line by line? And if you can’t do that, then you have to have that just culture where people are willing to stick their hand up and go, I made a mistake. I made a mistake without fear of retribution. But the digital footprint is that real key bit as people complete processes, step by step, line by line, you track it, and that helps you as the individual to protect what you’re doing. And as a leader, as a manager, it helps you track what people are doing and identify the inefficiencies in the systems so that you can go and focus on that when you go out and do your gambles.

Jenny Eve:

It’s a valuable tool because a manager can catch someone doing something right. And if the data is showing that we have increased our efficiency by X percent, and then can go and congratulate the team that made that happen, then that’s another way to keep the conversation going, and improving their why.

David Hazell:

Absolutely, and it’s great point because we focus on the digital transformation about improving efficiencies and trying to squeeze more and more out of it. Where people have lived those efficiencies, we have to go back and recognize that and make them feel valued.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, and you guys are touching on what I’ve seen both in the data, in the statistics, and anecdotally, as the absolute biggest reason for failure of any kind of digital initiative is lack of user acceptance. So it is imperative of any sized team, that the people who are going to be using a digital tool, or really any tool for that matter, but in this context, especially, that they understand what it’s going to do for them, that they have genuine buy in to that tool, or they’re not going to use it or they’re going to fight it and it’s going to have the opposite effect of what you intended. It’s going to slow people down. And in fact, a lot of software does cause more problems than it solves.

David Hazell:

Absolutely, the end user has to be part of that design, has to be part of the development of that digital transformation. Let me give you a real life example, I took digital checklist out to an oil rig a number of years ago in the North Sea. And the digital checklists were written in Houston, by people in the office. And we went out to the rig, and they went, well, thanks very much for these five checklists but we’re in a different mode of operation at the moment, come back in six months when we’re actually doing that operation and we can actually test these checklists. It’s a very simplistic view. So we actually then sat down with the team on the oil rig with the drillers, and we went through so how do you take one of your process and put it, and we rewrote the checklists. That were more applicable and they owned those checklists. And it was a huge turnaround because straightaway the mindset at the beginning was, this has just come from head office. I’m not interested. It’s not applicable. And it was that real difficult hurdle to get over. But once they got involved, understood the power and what that digital checklist could do for them, and then wrote them themselves, wrote the checklist themselves, it was an easy one there.

Jenny Eve:

They’re now invested in it.

David Hazell:

Absolutely.

Chad Perry:

Right, there’s that ownership. Now, you guys have recently made a transition where you’re starting to work with more manufacturers, but you do have a lot of experience in the oil and gas, as you call it, the high reliability. And I would argue that manufacturing, also is a high reliability, because if you have a line go down, that could put you out of business. So what kind of parallels are you seeing and potentially what kind of differences are you seeing as well, that a manufacturer would need to keep in mind as they’re going through this process of improvement?

David Hazell:

Our biggest asset, the reason we can go from one industry to another, is that we don’t focus necessarily on the technology or the technical skills. We focus on the people. Being a leader, leadership principles apply in any industry. Team behaviors apply in any industry. Following the processes, procedural discipline, apply in any industry. So the parallels are huge. They’re just, and that’s how we’ve managed to apply the principles out of the military aviation, commercial aviation, into other industries. Because it doesn’t matter what you do, everyone needs a leader, everyone needs teamwork, and everyone needs to follow procedures. And it’s how will you do all three of them, it comes back to that three legged stool. All three of them are interdependent. If you’re missing one of those aspects then the stool is going to topple and you’re going to lose your culture and your efficiency and how you do business. So I think the biggest difference though, is that all industry is very heavily focused on safety. They want to be efficient, but it is probably the most dangerous, one of the most dangerous, places to work in the world. There’s a lot of noise, there’s you could be exposed to the weather, and there’s a lot of very heavy machinery moving around. In industry, in manufacturing, while there are moving parts, they’re not maybe behind guard lines. You still have the noise, and you’re now effect, you’re now really focused on how efficient. I’ve got this raw material coming in at one end, and I need to get it out as efficiently as possible into a product but I now need to be efficient that it’s ready for my customer. I’ve got a need for the customer. So there’s a different aspect of the procedural discipline. If somebody doesn’t follow a procedure or a process in the oil industry, it’s highly likely someone’s going to get hurt. In manufacturing, someone’s not following the process, you may get hurt depending what tools you’re using. But more than likely, so you’re going to be inefficient.

Chad Perry:

And that sounds like really good news because it sounds like what you’re telling me is that as a manufacturer, I could potentially look to other industries for examples of what is already working of companies that are, not necessarily producing obviously the same thing that I am, but may have other similarities in terms of their size or how they operate or the market that they serve. So what would you recommend that a manufacturing leader do in that regard to self-educate and to go out there and to find out how they can make better improvements around these topics?

David Hazell:

So I think they’d have need to truly understand what they want to do in their own business first. Because there’s no point in going and look into other industries when you don’t really know where you want to go. To really have a deep understanding of where you want to go, and what might be the potential pitfalls to that. And then go and visit other industries, talk, not just to the leadership, all the way down and understand what are those? Have they been through a similar transformation, a similar change? What were the pitfalls? What were the changes? What went well? And what would they change going forward the next time around? But they need to do it at all levels. It’s all good having CEO to CEO, CEO will have a completely different view of what it’s like at the shop floor and how the change impacted the people.

Chad Perry:

The last time we talked, you mentioned that you had recently either wrapped up or you were still continuing some kind of engagement with a manufacturing company that you were doing this exact thing with. So can you tell me, we’re gonna have to wrap up here in a few minutes. But can you tell me briefly what that is a d what that was like?

David Hazell:

The challenge that company has got is that it started off as a small local company, and it had various business units, small business units dotted around a town, it’s now become part of a global company. And their units have now been pulled together into one site. So they’ve unified it. So you have a cultural challenge of not just bringing those three or four sites together and adopting the same business principles, but you also have the cultural change now of becoming a global company. And so it’s a huge mindset change for the people who have in charge of each individual business unit had complete autonomy or complete control over their processes and efficiencies. Now they have a corporation looking down on them and trying to change them. So the real cultural challenge is you come back to it, what’s in it for me? Why should I change? And you have to have a little bit robust here and go, alright, at some point, we need to get this bus started, you need to be on it. If you’re not on it, then thank you very much for your time. And you have to be a little bit mcaveeney in at times, but the majority of the time, as long as you communicate with people, then you will get the right result for them and for what you’re trying to achieve. So just for that example, actually in early, early days of working through that piece.

Chad Perry:

And how is that gone? I mean, what kind of barriers did you run into? Because obviously, this isn’t gonna go perfectly the first time.

David Hazell:

No, absolutely. And it is the hardest challenge we have is we go into companies and they go, so what’s a fighter pilot going to teach me about what I do? How I make this rigid? And we go, I’m not here to teach you how to do that, I’m here to teach you or to coach you on improve your leadership skills, how you communicate with your team, how you build that high performing team, and then how you get them to adhere to the processes properly. I was talking to a shipping company the other day, and they go, so tell me about the processes that you’ve done on a ship. I said, it’s kind of irrelevant. What we’re talking about here is the people. And as long as you have the people on your side, the people are valued, empowered, and are pulling all in the same direction, and understand the leadership vision, and where they want to go, and you’re going to be one high performing effective team.

Jenny Eve:

Our slogan is accelerating human performance. And that’s exactly what we do regardless of industry. We are the humans, and so we have to put that, first and foremost, with the digital information to assist us in making good decisions.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, well said, well said, it’s all about humans. And I can definitely hear that coming through in the conversation. It’s that it’s just this hammering on this idea of performance and leadership and culture. Because at the end of the day, the tools will change, the tools will evolve. But it’s the leadership and the mindset that really make the difference between success and failure. Whether or not you can employ those tools in a creative way, in a productive way that get you the outcome that has to be well defined up front. And that comes back to why it is that you’re doing what you’re doing, and what exactly is that you want to achieve?

David Hazell:

Absolutely, I think the biggest message for from my perspective on this podcast, best takeaway for our listeners, as you expand your technology footprint is, don’t forget about the people, because then they’ll forget you. Do not forget the people because they are your biggest asset and are key asset, key player in evolving this change as you go through your digital transformation.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, well, that’s perfect because that was my next question is what that key takeaway is? So, Jenny, do you have anything else to add before we wrap up?

Jenny Eve:

No. Just delighted to be here, Chad, thank you for the opportunity.

Chad Perry:

Yeah, likewise, guys, really appreciate it. David, thank you so much.

David Hazell:

Thanks, Chad. Appreciate it.

Jenny Eve:

Thank you.

[General outro omitted.]