Category Archives: Strategic Plan

Why your Human Performance Improvement effort needs a “Strategic Plan”

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retro_robot_playing_chess_11446-2You need a solid human performance strategic plan. First, I need to define a role in this research – the CFAM: in commercial nuclear power Corporate Functional Area Managers are fleet leaders who act together similar to a user’s group, one representative in a given discipline for each fleet. A few years ago a really bright set of human performance CFAMs came together to look for trends in the American nuclear industry. I believe the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators (INPO) hosts the frequent gatherings as a way to share best practices. This particular meeting was set up to discover top areas for improvement (AFIs) that were consistent for a period of the preceding 5 years. So, they poured through data of about 100 nuclear plants that are evaluated at least every two years by INPO, found the leading problems (which I do not have in front of me to share), but came to a pretty serious conclusion that I want to share with you right now…

When separated out, companies that had one of these rose to the top of the performance spectrum, and those not towards the top, did not have this one thing.

What is that one thing?

Above all things you need a human performance strategic plan. Without a plan specifically designed to move your efforts forward, you will remain in disarray and you will be stuck hoping or guessing if the random improvement efforts are paying off. If your operations group wants to do something different than your Maintenance group, make sure it is captured in the plan. If you’re human performance effort is struggling, or if it’s seeing amazing gains with less events and fewer errors, congratulations, but remember to keep your effort ideas fresh and interesting, and put them in a strategic plan. This is also a great way to track a sometimes hard question to answer: What have you done lately to improve performance?

The strategic plan cannot be pieces in your Business Plan. It should be a stand-alone living document that shows where you are in your improvement effort, who is responsible for each phase if implementation, and also the due dates associated with each item. The plan can certainly be a few line items on the Business Plan, but it’s control and design should be in the hands of your Human Performance Steering Committee and your HP Program Manager.

The HP Strategic Plan must be proactive as well as reactive, including major corrective actions or improvement ideas based on benchmarking and research.

Fortunately, INPO already had a template document put together by a group of other human performance professionals called the “Human Performance Strategic Plan Template.” That template is the skeleton you should be building your strategic improvements on.

The reason for the plan straight from the document:

“This long-term strategic plan will provide the foundation to guide your company toward human performance excellence in both the present and the future. Use, understanding, and support of the Human Performance Program is vital to the company’s mission and vision.”

What’s in the template?

I. Vision, Mission and Strategic Initiative

II. Principles of Human Performance

III. Examples of Strategic Plan Elements

  1. High Standards and Expectations
  2. Using Error Reduction Tools
  3. Managing Defenses and Risk
  4. Analyzing Trends and Behaviors
  5. Metrics and Indicators

IV. Template for Actions

V. References

The bulk of the plan follows the recommended eight stages of implementing a Human Performance initiative from fledgling to a mature program.

Remind me again – What are the 8 Stages?

Stage 1 – Obtain Senior Management Commitment

Stage 2 – Establish an Oversight Structure

Stage 3 – Identify the Gaps to Excellence

Stage 4 – Develop a Human Performance Strategy

  1. Create a risk-based approach to reduce the frequency and severity of human performance events with structures, systems, and components important to safety and reliability
  2. Adopt a systematic, systemic, and results-based approach to solving specific human performance problems.
  3. Establish a fair-minded policy that encourages voluntary reporting of errors and conditions adverse to safety and reliability.
  4. Develop measures that monitor the effectiveness of the human performance strategy.
  5. Establish roles, responsibilities, expectations, values, and beliefs important to excellent human performance.
  6. Develop a human performance improvement plan that includes milestones for key initiatives.
  7. Modify the human performance improvement plan based on feedback from key stakeholders.

Stage 5 – Communicate With and Engage Stakeholders

Stage 6 – Implement the Human Performance Strategy

Stage 7 – Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Human Performance Strategy

Stage 8 – Maintain the Right Picture of Excellence in Human Performance

Business proposition

If you want to implement a Human Performance Strategic Plan at your facility, that is something Human Performance Tools, LLC can help you do. You can always contact us through the phone number on the top of the home page or feel encouraged to email for more information.


The Strategic Plan Document references all of these documents and the hard work by human performance nuclear professionals throughout the American nuclear fleets:

  1. INPO 09-011, Achieving Excellence in Performance Improvement, September 2009
  2. INPO 09-004, Procedure Use and Adherence, February 2009
  3. INPO 08-004, Human Performance Key Performance Indicators, June 2008
  4. INPO 07-007, Performance Assessment and Trending, December 2007
  5. INPO 07-006, Human Performance Tools for Managers and Supervisors, December 2007
  6. INPO 06-002, Human Performance Tools for Workers, April 2006
  7. INPO 06-003, INPO Human Performance Reference Manual, October 2006
  8. INPO 05-002, Human Performance Tools for Engineers and Other Knowledge Workers, February 2007
  9. INPO 05-003, INPO Performance Objectives and Criteria, May 2005
  10. INPO 05-005, Guidelines for Performance Improvement at Nuclear Power Stations, August 2005
  11. INPO Guideline, Human Performance Leadership Framework, May 2000
  12. INPO Principles Document, Principles of a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture, November 2004
  13. INPO Principles Document, Principles for a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture, Addendum I, Behaviors and Actions That Support a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture, October 2009
  14. INPO Principles Document, Excellence in Human Performance, September 1997
  15. SOER 92-1, Reducing the Occurrence of Plant Events Through Improved Human Performance, October 1992
  16. NRC Inspection Manual Chapter 0305, Operating Reactor Assessment Program