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Expect What You Inspect

No one ever wants to be caught off guard. Whatever our responsibilities are, whether at work, home, or life in general, being surprised is usually not a good thing. 

In a dynamic industrial environment, it is even more important to be attentive to all aspects of operations, maintenance, and any other activity that you are in charge of or that could affect your obligations. 

Meeting all of your requirements demands a constant orbit of review, inspection, or putting your eyes on the system or equipment. As technology evolves at a break neck pace, no alarm, sensor, or camera can fully replace the eyes of a person. 

Walking through the spaces, observing parameters, examining an installation, critiquing drills, or reviewing logs are all examples of inspection. You need to go out and see for yourself. 

Placing trust on distance monitoring or the reports of others may serve as necessary, but too  much  reliance  on  those  means  will eventually come back to haunt you. Our desks have an insidious way of trapping us. The inbox or the next report often anchors us to one location.  There is never enough time to prepare for that next meeting or presentation. It will never end. But you need to find the time to get out and about and put your own eyes on those things you will be held to account. 

No walk will be wasted and you will mostly likely learn something new every time. 

• Ask questions of people you might not regularly talk to; they may surprise you with what they see and what they know. 

• Try to look around with a fresh set of eyes, even if you have seen the space, area, or program dozens of times.

• Think like an inspector – there is a good chance   you   have   been   missing something.

Strive to be as prepared as you can be. Take the time to know what is going on, treat each opportunity to observe as an inspection, and keep yourself from being surprised.

Bottom line: Inspecting and reviewing what is important to you helps your people trust what you say and understand your priorities.

About the Author

Wayne Lefebvre, M.A., PMP graduated from Old Dominion University (summa cum laude, Phi Alpha Theta) with a BA in History and earned a MA in National Security Studies from the Naval War College.  He served as an enlisted sailor and officer in the US Navy for over twenty-three years in primarily engineering roles on five ships including two tours as a chief engineer.  During his tours he worked as member of various diverse engineering teams and saw firsthand the benefits of a clear, dedicated, and thoughtful focus on safety in all ship evolutions. Wayne is a Consultant with Safety & Leadership Solutions, yoursls.com

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