• Qantas Centre of Service Excellence (COSE) (map)
  • 70-80 Euston Road
  • Alexandria, NSW, 2015
  • Australia

Enabling Systems: How to unleash organisational potential

At Art of Work, we know that a safe environment emerges from workplace conditions. Therefore, safety is dependent on the ease with which employees can do their work. If too many rules and constraints are imposed, safety is affected. Cost cutting drives often conflict with safety initiatives. And new situations may arise for which the safety system does not cater, workers then have to stop work or find workarounds, neither outcome is ideal.

Safety has improved dramatically over many decades, but more and more companies are finding that safety initiatives are now delivering diminishing returns. To deliver a step change in safety, we need to enable our business system. This means that we should address profitability, productivity, employee engagement and speed of execution simultaneously. The “Enabling Systems” masterclass enables participants to start this process.  

Systems Thinker Russel Ackoff said, ” It is better to do the right things poorly than to do the wrong things well”. But in an increasingly complex and turbulent environment, how do we as managers discriminate between the right and wrong things and make sense of our environment, then act appropriately in it?

Most safety interventions take the systems and operational tactics as a given, and seek to enable management and workers to make the best of the emergent work environment. In contrast, in the Enabling Systems Masterclass, we will look at the influence of the environment and our worldview on the results we achieve with the intention to challenge the prevalent management models around running operations and “best practices”.  It is our view that these constrain organisational potential.  

We also know the power of collaborative dynamic systems built upon the principle of pushing what people need to know when they need to know so that they can make informed decisions, not depending on people to explore and discover what they need to know.

We will explore the power that collaborative systems have to democratise and reduce the distance between work as imagined and work as done. The masterclass achieves this through the use of lots of practical examples and exercises.

What can you expect?

Special emphasis will be on internal operational tactics/systems for the supply chain/manufacturing and project management environments. Attendees of the Master Class will learn how they can enable systems by exploring the dated assumptions underlying operating strategies and the conditions and constraints that help and hinder work.

From years of experience, we know that learning to work in new ways requires reframing of the problems into a different work environment. Once solved here managers can extrapolate the solutions into their own environment. For this reason, many of the case studies will be from areas attendees are not familiar with, this is intentional.

The principles presented in the Master Class originate from Systems Thinking (Theory of Constraints) and complexity (Cynefin model) as well as Dialogic Organisational development.

This workshop is aimed at middle and senior managers. We will evaluate operational strategies/tactics for different environments.

Participants will learn:

  • a deeper understanding of the causes of a pressurised work environment and undesirable safety performance

  • how to find and address the leverage points to enable the system

  • how to be more effective as leaders

  • ideas for enabling workers to coordinate horizontally while maintaining visibility of the system

  • the dynamic nature of the work environment and how to accommodate that

  • other benefits available from enabling the system such as improved employee engagement, team learning, better productivity, improved quality, reduced costs.

Participants will receive: 

  • Membership to Art of Work’s exclusive Lighthouse Centre of Excellence

  • Access for 6 months to a Master Class web portal loaded with resources relating to foundations of Enabling Leadership, including case studies, change strategies, journal articles, book references, links to e-resources, and tools to collaborate with other participants beyond the Master Class event.

About the presenters

Kelvin Genn - Managing Director Art of Work

Kelvin Genn BIO Low Res.jpg

Kelvin is a strategic systems thinker with experience in Human Factors and organizational re-engineering. He developed his systems thinking approach working in the military aviation environment for 10 years for the Royal Australian Air Force. Following this, for 10 years, he led a systems and risk management program across Asia Pacific and Europe with Compass Group Plc, the world’s largest support service company.

More recently he was working for Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) as the Global General Manager for Safety and Wellness,  to deliver an international leading program for health safety environment and community (HSEC) in the engineering and project management business.

Kelvin worked with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care to develop the national accreditation system for all health care providers across Australia. He also worked with the UK National Health Service Institute for Innovation and Improvement to deliver the Productive Leader and Productive Ward programs in Australia and New Zealand.

Formerly he was the Director of Clinical Quality and Safety for NSW Health, responsible for leading the development and implementation of the state-wide clinical quality and patient safety framework standards guidelines, and indicators to improve clinical health care safety and quality for patients of NSW the public health system. He was responsible for shaping the state and national agendas for clinical health care safety and quality through provision of expert advice to the NSW Health Management Board and the NSW Minister of Health.

Currently he holds board positions with the Food Safety Information Council and the Art of Work. He is also a committee member with the Safety Institute of Australia.  

Hendrik Lourens - Senior Consultant


Hendrik is an experienced consultant dedicated to enabling organisational renewal and breakthrough performance. He has extensive manufacturing experience working for industry leaders such as Sasol and Nampak, as well as in technical and operations roles at director level in medium sized companies. He has extensive experience in leadership positions within the manufacturing sector as well as in consulting in mining and manufacturing.

Hendrik has turned many declining businesses around by quickly shifting productivity and profitability performance. The Theory of Constraints and Complexity Theory provides him with a framework to identify and manage leverage points and to unshackle frontline employees and middle management from the prevailing best practice paradigms.  

His strengths lie in improving quality and productivity and increasing leadership effectiveness. Hendrik's experience is underpinned by a Masters in Polymer Science, Honours in Chemistry, an MBA and certification in the Theory of Constraints.


Sydney - Enabling Systems Master Class - 27 March 2018
from 873.00
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