The concept of learning teams is a great step forward but far from new. Involvement of diverse teams in the investigation process is vital to effective outcomes.
The purpose of investigating is to learn from incidents and to make improvements in systems, processes and operations. Kelvin TOP-SET has been operating for well over 30 years and the principle of working in diverse teams has been embedded in the process from day one. The TOP-SET system has a systemised approach to planning (including selecting your team), gathering data, analysing and reporting.
Using a system such as TOP-SET will ensure that your learning/investigation teams follow a standardised, consistent approach. The process is simple to follow and removes the use of jargon so that it can be used across a wide range of cultures and industries. Our planning tools used by our clients around the globe are similar to a comprehensive checklist.
This unique methodology helps to ensure that ‘no stone is left unturned’, relevant questions are asked, theories are discussed and information is gathered. It allows the team to keep an open mind and look into all possibilities and scenarios. Our analysis technique, we believe, is the most comprehensive, simple and logical process available.
You don’t need a team of subject matter experts to carry out an investigation. In many ways this can be detrimental to the process. Technical expertise can always be engaged, joining the team for short stints to advise and consult on current practice in the industry when required.
Without a team made up of individuals from mixed backgrounds, skill sets, genders and personality styles, you will see investigations going off track, bias coming through and inconsistent approaches and outcomes. Even when you do not have the luxury of being able to select a diverse team, TOP-SET has tools in place to help balance these biases and ensure full participation by everyone. We have excellent systems for leaders to facilitate the process and ensure active participation in the process from all team members.
If you feel the word ‘investigation’ has negative connotations, then feel free to call the process what you like. The key is that you have engagement in the learning process from staff, management and stakeholders.
The use of teams, and particularly including those involved in incidents or problems, has huge advantages and must be welcomed. It is not a new idea. However, if a simple and consistent approach is not followed, you may well see variable approaches, workers and stakeholders loosing interest in the process, and a lack of accurate and useful data being produced for making recommendations and improvements.
The comprehensive suite of courses TOP-SET offers covers the simple consistent approach of working in teams for investigating and problem solving. The method should not be viewed as just a safety tool. It is used in many industries for process failures, quality and business improvements. Kelvin TOP-SET works in over 45 countries around the globe and the system has been used for anything from small process failures and financial losses to major disasters.
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