April 29, 2014 by AP-Networks Leave a Comment “Who’s steering?” That’s an important question, regardless of the context. Who’s steering the car? Who’s steering the company? Ultimately, who is in charge of leading the enterprise, and on whose shoulders does success or failure rest? When it comes to turnarounds, that responsibility falls, ideally, to the Steering Team, a cross functional team of mid or senior level leaders from all facets of the organization. This team is tasked with delivering the contract put together by the Strategy Team in order to achieve optimal turnaround preparation and successful turnaround execution. Of the companies AP-Networks works with, about 90% have some sort of Steering Team in place. But only about 10% of those teams are truly effective. An effective Steering Team makes a big difference in turnaround outcome. Our data indicates that, on average, engaged and influential Steering Teams have the potential to improve cost performance and schedule performance from 10 – 15 percent over plan, down to 3 – 5 percent below planned figures. In addition, they contribute to an average Turnaround Readiness Index score of 3.6 out of a best possible 5.0, compared with the industry average of 2.5. But what does an effective Steering Team look like? We’ve found that in order to truly to guide the organization, a Steering Team must include representatives from the following core groups: Turnaround Management Capital Projects (if applicable) Safety, Health, and Environment Reliability Process Engineering Inspection Operations Contracts and Procurement Assembling the team is only the beginning, though. From there, it’s a matter of establishing the protocols and behaviors that will lead to success. First and foremost, each member of the Steering Team must understand their role, and act with urgency via a mindset that they are all “standing on the burning platform together.” Ultimately, the Steering Team must be empowered with the knowledge that they are accountable for the turnaround, not the turnaround manager or the turnaround team. A Steering Team who understands this is a Steering Team primed for success. Once they understand their goals, the Steering Team must be proactive in achieving them, rather than reactive. We advise Steering Teams to meet at least once per month and to adopt the following minimum norms: shared accountability, prepared and contributing membership, and a forward focus. It’s imperative that this forward focus be maintained, and that Steering Team meetings do not devolve into issue resolution sessions. Effective Steering Teams work to actively deliver against a robust milestone plan. In addition to Steering Team meetings, each team member must engage at least weekly with their group to ensure that work priorities are appropriate, and to remove obstacles that are (or could be) inhibiting progress. From this regular functional interaction, the Steering Team as a whole is able to adequately “steer” the turnaround event to a state of optimal readiness. Lastly, behind every effective Steering Team is an engaged Strategy Team. The Strategy Team, often comprised of senior site leadership, enables the Steering Team by establishing a complete premise that drives aligned site priorities throughout the functional departments. This Strategy/Steering leadership framework is most effective when it is governed by a standard set of metrics that provide leading indicator insights into the event’s state of readiness—metrics that are regularly utilized during performance reviews. Some companies still rely only on final turnaround outcomes to gauge Steering Team performance; however, the industry leaders are also employing event readiness metrics to ensure that the event remains properly prioritized within the purview of the Steering Team. There’s a popular saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” Similarly, turnarounds require site wide prioritization and multi-discipline steering to be optimally prepared and successfully executed. Only by empowering an engaged Steering Team with a perspective that spans all relevant groups in the facility can companies truly hope to achieve optimal turnaround performance. Authored by Bobby Vichich – Vice President, Turnaround Services | AP-Networks To find out when new posts go live, follow us on LinkedIn.