Posted on: 24th October 2018

A critical part of establishing competence in human performance in the biopharmaceutical industry is creating a culture where leaders partner with workers to learn about what enables success and what creates challenges. This learning is most effectively done through first-hand observation, active listening and ensuring candid discussions about systems’ issues related to risk.

Written by BioPhorum’s Human Performance Workstream, the recently published Guide to implementing and maintaining a leader observation and coaching program provides an overview of what such a program entails, the expected benefits, the expectations for leaders and a suggested implementation plan.

Organizations that have deployed an observation and coaching program report many benefits. These include sustained operational efficiency and effectiveness; fewer incidents, injuries and deviations; improved quality; improved reliability and resilience; and increased employee engagement and learning.

It is easy to believe that systems are designed well and procedures are written clearly, but how do these things stand up when faced with the dynamic reality of daily work? The risk is that there is a difference between ‘work as imagined’ and ‘work as done’.

A leader’s challenge is to go to where work is performed to observe, talk to workers and learn about the circumstances in which systems and tools create success – and where there are challenges to safety and reliability. Learning about these challenges gives leaders an opportunity to address them and ensure work processes are improved.

Regularly practising work observation and having this dialogue with workers also enables improvement to be proactive, rather than merely reacting when things go wrong.

The Guide to implementing and maintaining a leader observation and coaching program paper can be downloaded here.

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