You're relatively new to Art of Work. Can you tell us about your background and experience?
I started my career in Physics, then went on to do a Masters in Polymer Science. I worked across the plastics value chain in R&D, tech service, technical and quality management and sales development. During this time I completed an MBA and gained accreditation in Theory of Constraints based interventions. While employed as company director I had profit and loss responsibility for a struggling manufacturing unit. With the help of our staff, we managed to turn this business unit around in less than a year; this was a turning point in my career. This experience encouraged me to start consulting in mining using the Theory of Constraints a few years later. What I found most interesting was that after the intervention lifted production rates substantially, the mine would shortly after dramatically improve its safety record, often winning industry safety awards a year later.
What brings you to Art of Work?
I relocated to Australia last year and a contact in Vancouver who liked what I had written on complexity, productivity and leadership suggested that I meet with Art of Work. From the first discussion, it was clear that we shared the same philosophy. If we can improve the ease with which employees do their work, seemingly intractable problems such as safety, engagement and profitability will often take care of itself. Or require just a little more help.
Where do your passions lie with respect to safety and business performance? (you don't have to answer this if you don't want to!).
Safety and business performance are both prerequisites for having a thriving, sustainable business. I enjoy improving business performance the most, which creates an environment in which substantially better safety performance becomes possible.
What challenges do you see for the future of the safety in Australia?
Safety has had a wonderful run and achieved good results, but we are now at the point of diminishing returns using the traditional safety interventions. With increasing competition companies are becoming aware of the need for greater flexibility, faster execution and becoming more effective/efficient. Traditional safety systems often hamper achieving these goals.
What excites you about the future?
To succeed in the changing environment (VUCA) companies will have to fundamentally rethink their organisational designs and managerial thinking around running sustainable businesses. Art of Work was founded on a philosophy which is well suited to this environment. I expect Art of Work to continue growing at a rapid rate, providing meaningful employment and adding exceptional value to clients. The systems thinker Russel Ackoff said “ It is better to do the right things poorly than to do the wrong things well”. Imagine what clients can achieve if, with a little help from Art of Work, they start to do the right things well.