Operational Learning is a Human & Organizational Performance based technique of learning from those closest to the work to gain operational intelligence (the detail we are missing from having never experienced the work first hand). Reflecting back on our HOP principles, we must always remember that learning is vital. We must choose to deliberately learn; it’s the only real tool that we have to discover betterment. Here’s a few useful ways to help you deliberately learn:
Learning Teams - are workshops where small teams proactively come together to break down and analyze incidents, near misses or normal, day-to-day work tasks.
Listening Sessions – “Where’s the suck?” These are meetings where we seek to find friction in processes, areas where things are much harder than they need to be, and places of unneeded complication. In this open meeting, we’re asking to hear problems and solutions.
“Bring Two” Meetings – A problem is identified and we ask employees to bring two solutions to the meeting with them. We’ll discuss the issue and work through the proposed solutions.
Black Line / Blue Line Sessions – How does work actually happen as opposed to how we think work happens (black line)? That’s the entire point of this meeting. The better we can understand the blue line (how work actually happens) the better our controls and prevention strategies can be.
Pre-Job & Post-Job briefs – We can’t learn and do at the same time. Pre-jobs give us the opportunity to learn before we do – Post-jobs give us the opportunity to learn after we do. These are great daily learning tools, but it’s easy to forget that that’s their primary purpose – learning.
A key point to make is that none of the above has to be complicated or extremely time consuming. These learning methods can be conducted very formally or informally. When something out of the normal occurs, when we discover complication, when we have a deviation from expected outcome, when we have an interesting success, and so on, those are great indicators that there’s potential learning that we should explore. These tools help us with that goal and allow us to engage those that perform the work as the solution.
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