Imagine a workplace where your structures, systems and behaviours all work together to deliver results, where employees invest discretionary effort and work together to get the right things done quickly and efficiently, where people trust each other, share a purpose and values and are all pulling in the same direction as hard as they can

Prior to the infamous “Bite Fight” in 1997, Mike Tyson was asked by a reporter if he was worried about Evander Holyfield and his superior strategy and fight plan. He answered; “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Tyson’s comment is similar to the old saying “no plan survives first contact with the enemy”. But does this mean that there is no need to plan?

Absolutely not!!!

An effective plan for frontline work is critical to reliable, safe performance in any operation but in many cases plans can be too rigid and inflexible to remain useful to frontline teams within a changing workplace. Planning systems should help people to make reasonable commitments to each other so that everyone can work as a coordinated team to get work done each shift. At Fewzion we believe;

“Successful organisations are driven by a series of commitments that people make to each other and deliver on.

The problem is that it’s extremely difficult to do this reliably in most organizations despite large investments in planning and ERP systems. The best organizations are able to maintain the trust and commitment of their workforce and frontline leaders and deliver results even when the odds are against them.

At any level in an organization being good at “making and delivering on commitments” will improve the safety, productivity and trust of your teams. In operations with volatile economic, environmental and workplace conditions we need to be extremely capable at getting great plans to supervisors so that they can execute their work in a safe, reliable and productive way. Fail in this and you will see costs blow out, targets missed and operations become unviable, shed jobs and close.

This paper examines how operations can use a “Commitment System” to connect the “theory” embodied in technical plans (whether mine, project, maintenance or people) with the immediate reality “practice” experienced by supervisors and their crews in the workplace. We draw on management theory embodied in Management Operating Systems (MOS), Lean, Theory of Constraints & Six Sigma approaches to continuous improvement. We draw on a good dose of real world experience gained while working with a number of early adopters that have used a commitment system to help them achieve outstanding results.

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