Are You Really Encouraging Innovation?


Many companies boast about their cultures of innovation. They incorporate creativity and openness into their mission or values statements. They reward employees for new insights and ideas. They hire and promote for innovation. Yet despite such measures, they find that their teams remain stubbornly locked in place, struggling to generate new ideas and to execute even minor change initiatives.

Read More

To Boost Innovation, Pull the Leadership Lever


My friend was frazzled. She had joined a large, consumer-facing organization, where she was immersed in the exciting work of redesigning the customer journey map. But she faced a major obstacle. Line managers were accustomed to doing business the old way. They knew how to get things done in that environment.  They felt comfortable with leading and managing outcomes. How could she help these managers through the trouble and emotional turmoil of learning something new even as they continued to deliver on significant business expectations?

Read More

Improving Turnaround Shutdown, Cleanup, Startup Performance

By: Charles Carnes, Senior Partner; Brian Cole, Principal; Krystyna Riley, Principal

Most turnaround work occurs during the execution phase—but key activities performed during the shutdown, cleanup, and startup phases (SCS) can make or break a turnaround’s success.

These portions of the turnaround should require a fraction of the time to complete, compared to total turnaround time. But poor planning and execution of blind lists, procedures, permits, or chemical cleaning work scope quickly lead to longer durations and higher cost.

Predictability of SCS Work Is Critical for Turnaround Success

Read More

6 Personal Qualities Instrumental to Successful Leadership

Several years ago, we surveyed two dozen CEOs about what they thought were personal qualities instrumental to successful leadership.  Their reflections on this topic surfaced 6 Personal Qualities Instrumental to Successful Leadership. Read More

Are You Getting the Most from Your “Turnaround Team” Meetings?

By: Charles Carnes, Senior Partner; Brian Cole, Principal; Krystyna Riley, Principal

For each turnaround, you probably form a “turnaround team” for planning, scheduling, execution, and look-back. This team typically includes various organizational functions, meets often, and is responsible for the turnaround’s success.

Some expected benefits from a turnaround team include:

  • Alignment of goals and objectives across the impacted portion of the organization. The team helps determine (and communicate) what is in-scope and out-of-scope for the turnaround
  • An accountability mechanism for timely, high-quality submission of scope input
  • Review/approval/rejection of work input
  • Identification of potential barriers/obstacles to meeting milestones

Unfortunately, these benefits are often taken for granted or even overlooked, so many benefits of the turnaround team may not be fully realized. Read More

Leading A Multigenerational Workforce

Nationally known voice on generational differences in the workplace Kim Huggins, was recently interviewed by Generis (an organizer of business summits including the American Manufacturing Summit) on the topic of Leading A Multi Generational Workforce in Manufacturing.

You can read the interview here.

Questions include:

  • Why is it important for manufacturers to understand the different generations that make up their workforce? When/How is this information useful?
  • What is the cultural impact (within the organization) of a multi-generational workforce? How does this new culture differ from the traditional workforce culture?
  • What are the main challenges that Manufacturers face when managing a multi-generational workforce? How do these issues effect operations?
  • Are there any opportunities for Manufacturers to leverage this new multi-generational workforce? If so, how? /  What opportunities does this multi-generational workforce present

Learn more about Kim Huggins here.

Read Kim’s blog posts here.

Are You Managing Your Contractors for Optimal Performance?

By: Charles Carnes, Senior Partner; Brian Cole, Principal; Krystyna Riley, Senior Consultant

The effective, efficient, and safe performance of contractors is critical to superior turnaround performance; their performance can often make or break the cost and duration of your turnaround. Like most of our clients, you probably train and orient your contractors—before a turnaround begins—in your company’s policies, safety procedures, work rules, quality standards, and culture. While this initial training is vital for getting off to a good start, our experience has been that the oversight and monitoring during the turnaround is even more important for ensuring top performance.

Read More

Stormproof Your Company: Developing A New Generation of Breakthrough Leaders

Is your company stormproof?

The storm I’m talking about isn’t a tornado or hurricane, but rather a “perfect storm” in the battle for talent. A tightening labor market combined with baby boomer retirements is adding up to significant talent gaps at many companies. Younger workers are often not ready to take over in leadership positions. Meanwhile, they are becoming frustrated with perceived shortfalls in the leadership development opportunities available at many companies. Read More

The Five Things Leaders Can Do to Minimize Late Scope

By: Charles Carnes, Senior Partner; Brian Cole, Principal; Krystyna Riley, Senior Consultant

Late scope jeopardizes turnaround schedules, adds additional costs, and increases safety risks. Here’s what you can do about it.

Even the best-planned turnarounds experience some late scope; discovery work, compliance work, and last minute process optimization opportunities are par for the course.  In highly disciplines companies it’s common to anticipate late-scope of up to 7%, which is often seen as a best in class industry benchmark.

Read More

Self-Talk – It’s Not Just for Athletes Anymore

By: Amy Durgin, Ph.D., Associate Consultant; Marcia Dolby, Sr. Principal; Carolina Aguilera, Ph.D., Principal

You’ve heard it a thousand times. How athletes use positive self-talk to eliminate pre-game jitters and improve their performance on the field.

What if we told you that self-talk is a powerful tool in business too? By modifying one simple habit you can flip a switch in your brain and improve the quality of your decision-making and subsequent on-the-job performance.

Read More