Case Heerema Marine contractors - new shoes today

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Case Heerema Marine contractors - new shoes today

  1. 1. 1 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGEABOUT AFRICAN DANCE ANDTRAVELLING IN THE HEARTHEEREMA MARINE CONTRACTORSLeaving Comfort Zones when You Are Succesful ‘I’m a senior marine engineer and what I’ve experienced the last 24 hours is hard to describe. Yesterday evening I made music and danced to African rhythms with about 40 of my new colleagues, most of them male. Before that we were talking about brain-dominant thinking styles and I came to understand that my thinking preference is rather rational and that I seek “control”. I know now that I need to be offered more logical arguments in order to accept and go along with the new way of engi- neering we are opting for. I further understand that I want to see proof of those arguments in concrete plans, procedures and ways of working. Last night I also talked to my colleagues about my car keys, which are very precious to me because they symbolise the fact that wherever I go I can enter my car and feel free to leave. I can deal with a lot of different situations but I always need to have something trustworthy with me in order to feel comfortable and secure. I never thought I was going to talk about my car keys and that they would tell so much about me. What is happening? I am attending the “value starter” session of my Product Group. This morning I awoke at 6 am, after hardly four hours of sleep. We were asked not to speak to each other and to reflect on how we feel about the reorganisation: What are our worries and dreams? It is strange not to talk to each other and I wonder why this is so difficult? I never dream about my work. However I feel now that it is in my interest to get a better understanding of myself and how I respond to the changes. After a silent breakfast we alI walked outside towards a pedestrian ferry that brought us to a small island. I heard a beating rhythm and after a short walk I saw a large tepee, smoke coming out of its open roof. I thought: “A tepee? What are we going to do?” I entered the tepee with my whole team. We started working together a month ago after a reorganisation of our department. Now we were all sitting on a sheepskin around a fire in the middle of this tepee.WWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM
  2. 2. 2 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGE There was a kind of Indonesian priest who played a didgeridoo. For one hour we lay down to meditate to strange sounds and listened to a guided fantasy. At first I resisted and I saw that some of my colleagues felt very uncomfortable and others almost fell asleep. Then I drifted away and wondered why we are doing this. Why are we invited to tell our worries and dreams? Why are we invited to help translate this vision about New Engineering into concrete solutions? Isn’t this the task of management? Are they going to listen to my ideas? Will it be possible to implement the system I developed for myself within the whole department? Then our Engineering Manager started to speak. It surprised me that he also expressed his doubts and is not sure about how to accomplish all the innovations within the organisation. He invited others to speak up and was not challenging their opinions. Then more people began to speak. I still hesitate and don’t speak out yet, but I feel this is a dialogue I have never experienced before within our technology department.’Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) operates in the offshore oil and gas industry.HMC is one of the world’s leading marine contractors in transporting, install-ing and removing all types of offshore facilities. HMC’s services encompassoverall management, including that of subcontractors, all logistics, planning,engineering and work preparation.HMC is very successful and we know the old saying, ‘Never change a winningteam.’ Despite their success they decided to fundamentally reconsider the waythey worked and their organisational set-up.Maarten Swinkels (new shoes today): ‘We were invited by the TechnologyDepartment of HMC to help them in realising five fundamental organisationalinnovations. They have offices in Leiden (the Netherlands) and Houston(USA). With about 250 people they do the engineering for all transport,installation and removal projects and tenders.Together with HMC we took up the challenge to implement the followingchanges: 1. Transition from an organisation set up for seven technical disciplines towards a department with five product groups who carry out dedi- cated work for specific markets 2. Introduction of value-based engineering 3. Introduction of core competence leadership 4. Standardisation of engineering processes 5. Off-shoring the engineeringWWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM
  3. 3. 3 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGETaking ResponsibilityThese innovations were defined at a very conceptual level but now they hadto be translated into concrete organisational structures and habits.Traditionally there is a strong hierarchy within this company. Engineers aremainly challenged for complex technical matters and are not bothered withorganisational issues beyond the scope of their project. We decided to actdifferently and ask all employees to take responsibility for introducing inno-vations in the organisation and finding workable solutions for improvingtheir engineering processes.The existing mindset required a paradoxical approach that made peoplewant to develop their own answers. There was a need for an approach thatbroke old patterns and was opposite to existing management practise andexpectations, i.e. management with strong leadership that provides all theorganisational answers.The HMC Technology Department had asked me to organise a large-scaleevent in which the vision for the five changes mentioned above would beshared with all 250 engineers. I questioned this idea and proposed to makethe ‘design for change’ a shared issue with the newly appointed departmentmanagement. I also suggested making use of the new structure of productgroups and organising team meetings in these product groups to create thenew way of engineering together. This breaks the ‘old’ pattern in which(only) a special assigned project team dealt with the change and came outwith their solutions.Value StartersIn our opinion there is strong hidden thinking potential within the group ofengineers. That’s why we want to offer them a structure that provides a basisfor the process of co-creation. The discussions with the engineering managersled to the idea of developing value starter sessions within each productgroup. At the start of the project all teams try to capture the value issues rel-evant to the change in their product group. We organised five value startersin the Netherlands and one in Houston. The value starter programme madeit possible to recognise and explore issues on two axes: 1. With the ‘IT’ axis we can handle all ‘tangible and rational’ issue linked to the new organisation and the new way of engineering 2. The ‘WE’ axis help us to tackle all ‘interaction and non logical’ issues connected with working together in new teams and defining new inter- action patterns and breaking with old routines.WWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM
  4. 4. 4 NEW SHOES TODAY • ROAD TO CREATION, INNOVATION AND CHANGE ‘To travel is to live Some travel in their car, Some travel in their mind What about travelling in the heart?’ MartinezThese were the words inviting all engineers to their specific value starter, a24-hour programme. We spent the first 16 hours on understanding the‘change’ and developing more awareness of what it means for each individ-ual. During the next 8 hours we worked on self-identified and relevantissues. We organised the value starters in such a way that the engineers hadto consider everything from a fresh point of view. Getting the participantsout of their comfort zone is a symbol for the changes in working habits andstructures. Co-creation was the central issue, reinventing together andexperimenting with the new ideas. After the 24-hour meeting concluded,draft plans were processed in small teams, resulting in a Product Group planon how to realise the changes.Co-creation at WorkNow all kinds of initiatives are taken up in various teams. A recruitment groupdeveloped 60 ideas for HRM on how to improve the recruitment process; aninitiative for predefined technical knowledge communities was launched; engi-neering scopes are standardised and a Shared Interest Network has started(an open, self-supporting network consisting of groups of people who sharea common interest around technical and non-technical issues).By sharing the responsibility of this innovation programme with all the engi-neers, the management of the Technology Department is breaking with theold culture. The sustainability of this approach will have to overcome thedoubts, resistance and questions as to what this implies for the heavy projectworkload. It may take 2 years before management is able to fully harvest allof the productivity benefits from giving people room and responsibilitybeyond participation in technical projects. Management also has to gainfaith in this new approach and has to refrain from too easily taking the leadagain and thus hindering initiatives from engineers.WWW.NEWSHOESTODAY.COM

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