Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 5/6: Using Hearts and Minds at Sakhalin Energy

In part 5 of this interview, Dr Robin Bryden shares his experiences of using Hearts and Minds at Sakhalin Energy (where he is currently Head of Safety), highlighting how using the toolkit can engage contracting companies and how the company is beginning to see improvements in safety: 

“At Sakhalin Energy we are using the tools, although in some novel ways.  

What the Hearts and Minds tools do is give you a structure to identify the problem or the current state to better understand the situation, and they provide a structure for people to come up with some answers.  All of the Hearts and Minds tools do that in a different way, but targeted to specific activities – so Driving for excellence does that with driving, Improving supervision does that with Supervisors, SAFE does that for senior managers, and Understanding your culture does that using questions surrounding different cultures.  

Understanding your culture

At Sakhalin, we generally use Understanding your culture at Manager Director level, with some input from the workforce.  However, we’ve also developed a new workshop for use with our contractors to agree an action plan for Sakhalin Energy and the contractor company itself.  Some of the international companies are quite used to this sort of thing, but this is unfamiliar for some of the smaller family-run Russian businesses as they have had little exposure to big companies in the last few years.  For them it is a completely alien experience to come in and talk about health checkups, so the Understanding your culture workshop gets them up to speed with our expectations in a very user friendly way, and they are really enjoying it.  They also find it useful because they realise that some of their competitors are still at the lower levels of safety culture, and they can recognise that they have been there (and probably still are) but are now improving.  They can see themselves as ‘Reactive’ in their culture, and they’re very pleased to recognise that, and that gives us a topic of conversation.  I’m using Understanding your culture at the moment in a slightly different way because I want to bring some groups together – I want to bring the contractors and contract holders together to gain a shared understanding of what the issues are.  So I use it not just as a tool for me to diagnose or to convince management of the need to improve, but also to bring people together. 

Working safely

We also have intervention training (training staff to intervene in safety issues they have seen) for all staff and contractors which we now deliver to our contractors and subcontractors before they even join the workforce; that way they know our expectations before they turn up.  The intervention training was based on the recognition that just having spot cards does not really work for us.  Although we use the DuPont  Intervention cards, we don’t find them suitable for our needs.  The spotter cards have been around a very long time, they’re a very American way of doing things and it wasn’t working for us in Russia, so we created an intervention programme based on the Working safely tool.  We also used Working safely to give training for all our front line supervisors on how to run a toolbox talk.  

Driving for excellence

Driving is one of the most hazardous parts of our activities at Sakhalin, mainly due to poor road conditions.  Our defensive driving training is based on the Driving for excellence tool.  A recent independent audit identified our driving training as the best in its class; it was very nice to get that recognition.  Last year, as a joint venture, we won the Shell award for our improved performance, but even better than that we’ve gone from 11 deaths on the road in 5 years to none in the last 2. 

Achieving situation awareness

We also use Achieving situation awareness (the ‘rule of three’).  The rule of three is absolutely embedded in our journey management.  We’ve taken the concept and applied it to go/no go decisions on whether we allow people to drive.  For every single journey that anyone makes in the company we have to ask “can this journey take place?” – that obviously has cost benefits, and it has massive safety benefits too, because one of the best ways to prevent road accidents is to not have somebody driving.  We’ve reduced the quantity of journeys, reduced the exposure to danger, and part of how we make decisions on which journeys to go out on is based on the rule of three from Achieving situation awareness.  

I almost forgot to mention Achieving situation awareness. It’s actually a very important tool we use, but it’s easy to forget because people don’t even know it’s there as it’s completely embedded by staff.  Everybody uses the rule of three every day without even knowing they’re doing it, which is perfect as we’ve bagged a major win for us – safety is one of our biggest improvement areas.  Similarly, with the Driving for excellence material, nobody really knows they’re doing Hearts and Minds, they just think they’re doing driver training, and the drivers love it.  The normal way of teaching is very much lecturing – one way traffic – and the Heart and Minds tools are very much interactive.  The revelation with Hearts and Minds is really asking people for their views, and making people feel valued.  It’s a different way of doing things, and its working very well for us.

Apart from Understanding your culture, which we use mainly at Manager Director level (with a bit of input from the Workforce level), we are using all the other tools very much at workforce and frontline supervisor level, and current progress is to include thousands more front line supervisors in this training in the next 6 months and put something in place to make it more sustainable.  To do this, we need to make people feel that not only are they receiving this training, but that their boss, and their boss’s boss are also involved in this ongoing coaching.  This changes their understanding of what we’re doing and why their doing it and also of their role, so that the Hearts and Minds teachings become embedded and sustained.”

Click here to read part 4 of the interview.

One Response to Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 5/6: Using Hearts and Minds at Sakhalin Energy

  1. […] here to read part 5 of this interview. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", […]

%d bloggers like this: