Human Performance Tool Spotlight: Procedure Use and Adherence

spiral_binders_16359Procedure Use and Adherence is really two tools in one – Sticking to the procedure and how you use it are the key factors here. Working on the wrong revision, losing your place, or not following up to see if there is a procedure to perform the task you are doing are just three examples of the many different kinds of mistakes that can be made. A lot of issues can be prevented by finding the correct procedure (meaning the proper revision) and then following it with an “engaged” mind… which means not blindly going step by step (ala cook-booking). Unfortunately, some people are being trained to perform procedures, and don’t fully understand the mission or the equipment that they are either fixing, testing, or simply making sure works properly. Your mind must remain thoughtful throughout the evolution to comprehend what the procedure steps are trying to accomplish. Only then can you recognize when something is going wrong. Along with this tool (in another post), there will be a discussion on a situational awareness questioning attitude tool called “OOPS” – Out Of Process or Parameters, which can be directly applied when performing a procedure. It’s just another mechanism to get you to stop the job and regroup.

So ask yourself – why do we need procedures in the first place?


Procedures help users to perform activities correctly, safely, consistently, and in accordance with design requirements. Procedures direct people’s actions in a proper sequence and minimize reliance on one’s memory and the choices made in the field. When workers are forced to interpret a procedure’s use and applicability, the chance for error is increased.

Procedure use specifies the minimum required references to the procedure during the performance of a task, such as continuous use (in-hand), reference use, and information use. This really speaks to how one uses the procedure. Are you continuously referring to it in hand, constantly and methodically checking through each step at the job site, or is it a procedure of how to do something that only occasionally needs to be referred? These are the different ways to “use” a procedure. At nuclear stations these are denoted as “levels of use” and come in 4 varieties:

  1. Information (could be on hand, or in the library)
  2. Reference (at the job site)
  3. Continuous (in hand)
  4. Multi-Level (sections of the procedure are a combination of the above levels)

Procedure adherence means following the intent and direction provided in the procedure regardless of the level of use.

Procedures incorporate the policies, operating experience (lessons learned), effective work practices and management decisions about how a task is to be performed. Technical procedures are written to direct desired behavior for the various complex and technical work activities that will affect plant equipment. However, experience has shown that technical procedures may not always contain sufficient information for the user. With turnover of the workforce, less experienced workers take the place of more experienced personnel. The quality of the procedure (technical content and usability) is paramount, especially if the task involves risk, significant systems or components. Therefore, feedback from the user on the quality of procedures and work orders is highly desired. This feedback is most appropriately shared at a post-job critique, unless the procedure quality was such that it could not be performed as written, and then the task would need to stop and the procedure updated immediately before continuing. Note that this is in a highly regulated environment, and may not apply to all types of work involving procedures.

When to use the tool

Procedures are to be used for activities that involve manipulation, monitoring, or analysis of equipment or physical work.

How to use the tool
  1. Verify the procedure being used is the correct revision. Procedures are corrected and approved before use.
  2. Review all Prerequisites, Limits, Precautions, and Initial Conditions before starting work.
  3. An effective place-keeping method is used for procedures that do not require sign-offs. At least, initial or check each step complete, after the action is performed, before proceeding with the next step. (Place-keeping is another branch of this tool and will be discussed in another post.)
  4. Procedures shall be followed as written without deviating from the original intent and purpose.
  5. Do not deviate from the sequence of steps, unless approved.
  6. Do not ‘N/A’ any step, unless approved.
  7. If a procedure is incorrect, will result in damage to equipment if used as written, cannot be performed as written, will result in incorrect parameters or configuration, or is otherwise unsafe, then STOP the task and contact a supervisor.
  8. If desired or anticipated results are not achieved, STOP, do not proceed, and contact a supervisor.
At-risk behaviors to avoid
  • Assuming a procedure is well-written and accurate
  • Cook-booking a step or procedure (blind compliance) without understanding its purpose
  • Performing a task without knowing or understanding critical steps in advance
  • Believing in the philosophy that, “Any operator worth his/her salt doesn’t need a procedure.”
  • Skipping steps or segments of a “routine” procedure, since those steps have been unnecessary in the past
  • Not rigorously following a procedure because of personal past success with the task
  • Interpreting the procedure in a way that knowingly does not meet the intent
  • Commencing a procedure without establishing initial conditions required by the procedure
  • Using a procedure maliciously, knowing it has flaws
  • Not reviewing an unfamiliar procedure (or lacks proficiency) before performing a task
  • Using a previous revision (superseded) of a procedure
  • Marking steps “N/A” for those that are inadequately or improperly written
  • Not submitting feedback on procedure problems (technical accuracy and usability)
  • Not applying some form of place-keeping for continuous use procedures
  • Using check marks instead of initials or signatures for continuous use procedures, unless the procedure specifically allows it
  • Ditto marks (“)
  • One set of initials followed with a line through remaining signoff blanks
  • Signing off a step as completed before it is complete

With much gratitude, a lot of the above HPT basis comes from Department of Energy (DOE) and Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) research and collaboration, and the source document could be found by clicking here.

This article (you would have to purchase – sorry, it’s not free to share) adds some more specificity to the discussion : Engaging Workers as the Best Defense Against Errors & Error Precursors by Jan K. Wachter and Patrick L. Yorio

Me. I’ve inserted a few twists and clarifications for users and myself.

[As a reminder – don’t forget to click the graphic at the top of each post for an Easter egg!]

Are you looking for a job in Human Performance? Here’s one to consider:

desk_hand_shake2_pc_400_clr_4231I had a brilliant discussion today with a recruiter looking to fill a human performance position in Arizona. After hearing about the position, I thought it would be a win-win to share the opportunity with the Human Performance Toolbox community! So, I asked Lonny to share the opportunity electronically and if he’d like me to advertise it, and he enthusiastically agreed that this was a good idea. Good luck, and tell him where you found the ad, please!

Here is the opportunity:

I am currently partnering on a retained search for one of Arizona’s biggest and most sought out employers. They have me recruiting for a Human Performance Manager/Consultant (brand new position).

And am available to talk on the phone 24/7 by cell – 858-602-2880
And office Line – 602-306-4473
EMAIL: Ill get back to you within the hour

POSITION: Human Performance Manager/Consultant
PAY: 90-95k but very open to more for the right candidate – Could be more and relocation assistance provided
DURATION: Direct Hire (this is a full time perm position)
BENEFITS: Great Benefits
· Responsible for helping to lead the effective integration of Human Performance (HP) to Operations and Corporate Resources departments

· They use the Rob Fisher Methods

· SOFTWARE: devonway software (NOT REQUIRED)

· Provide strategic, proactive HP consulting services to all levels of leadership to anchor and further integrate HP throughout the company including identification and execution of tailored approaches that address needed areas of improvement.

· Develop and lead a standardized HP Program across the enterprise ensuring continuity and sustainability of the program.

· Provide on-going HP training to business units. Partner and coordinate with Corporate Training & Development and business unit training functions to ensure consistent and timely delivery of training products including the development of ne w training and resources as needed.

· Work with CAP team to analyze data, identify HP trends and provide guidance

Lonny Miller
Senior Vice President

Accounting & Finance Professionals Inc.
Staff Logic Inc.

Certified City of Phoenix SBE, WBE, DBE
410 N 44th Street Ste #145
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Phone: (602) 306-4473 (HIRE)
Fax: (602) 306-4474

Connect with me on LinkedIn by clicking here

2013 Ranking Arizona -#1 in Direct Hire Placement
2014 Ranking Arizona -#1 in Direct Hire Placement
2015 Ranking Arizona -#1 in Direct Hire Placement
2016 Ranking Arizona -#1 in Direct Hire Placement

Please see our reviews on google + plus as we encourage our employees and clients to review our services to ensure the best possible experience working with a staffing company. Info:

Should I create a Mastermind group to help me with my role in Human Performance?

brains_collective_gears_17247First of all, what is a Mastermind Group? How do I create one, and what is involved? Do I need one?

Note that this isn’t just a group of friends or business acquaintances, and my most favorite point on the subject: this is put together with intention. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich describes a mastermind group as: “The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

I define it a little simpler as a group of two or more that share common goals. The best advice I think I’ve ever come up with for newbies to any role is to find people in other organizations that do what you do and form a community to help each other and identify common issues and common solutions that really work.

I need a Mastermind (seriously) 

I’m in a very niche field as a human performance “Practitioner” and am now consulting and training either by myself, or with a small crew. I need a team to support me and help me with things I’ve never had to do before. I have an amazing friend who is more of a human performance “Academic” (and an amazing instructor), who told me that running a consulting company is about three things, and you need to be doing all three parts well:

  1. Doing the business
  2. Running the business
  3. Getting the business.

This piece of advice made everything come together for me, and I’m working hard on learning how to better Run and Get business, because I’ve already had plenty of familiarity with “Doing” the business. When you’re in a new work or life-style environment, it is helpful to have others to experience share with, and mentors who have already walked down that road who are willing to transfer knowledge and some fellowship. It’s also great to have other people keep you accountable and moving forward.

So, I’d say a resounding and obvious, “Yes,” to the answer to this post’s question in the title.

Would you like to be part of my Mastermind?

Really, I am asking you. This isn’t tongue in cheek. If you’ve come to this website and you’re interested in this kind of material, then we are probably of like minds. We can share skill-sets and make each other better. If seriously interested, please drop me an email at with the memo line “Mastermind” and I’ll get back with you very soon!

How to organize and get started:

How to Organize and Run a Mastermind Session for the First Time by Chris Ducker

How To Start and Run a Mastermind Group by Sid Savara

How to Create Your Ultimate Mastermind Team by Liz Seda and Scott Dinsmore


Pat Flynn’s Webinar on How to Build a Winning Mastermind Group

Do you have any tips for running a booth at a Human Performance and Safety Fair?

custom_help_desk_15739I was asked to host a booth for a Human Performance/Safety Fair at a Florida nuclear plant yesterday. In between visits to my booth I started capturing the ideas you’re reading about now. Am I an expert at this? Well, not exactly, but I have been to dozens of tradeshows and conferences with poster sessions and booths and have created my own with some “success” – whatever that may translate into in this world of posters and booths. For me, success means return on investment – of time and of money.

So, I have come up with eight of my personal suggestions and strategies when participating in this world. If you plan on doing something like this, I recommend you think hard on this and do oodles of benchmarking based on this question: “What can I do that would be fun for a quick visitor who may be interested in hearing what I have to say or show?” This is way harder than you may think to make something clever and worthwhile. This particular post is not just laden with ideas from me, click on any picture or graphic to see a booth or trade show tips video from youtube that I think you may find helpful.

Suggestion #1: Signage Matters

IMG_0898Start with a cool and inviting sign so people know immediately whether or not they want to spend some time at your booth. Make it noticeable, clear and obvious. Staples made mine for only 12 bucks! For more money they also come with special outdoor material to prevent ink from running in case it gets wet, and you can get grommets to hang your sign, too. All of that costs extra, but you can still get them same day, which is pretty darn cool. By the way, those brochures were just over a dollar each, and the color printouts were 69 cents each, which ended up costing more than my flight.

Suggestion #2: Giveaways

You must have giveaways! That’s what attendees want, so make them thoughtful and interesting. My brochures and business cards weren’t burning up thpusing_free_shopping_cart_pc_2099e scene as much as I was hoping. Regardless, I still spoke to dozens and dozens of people. I’ve seen the wheel you can spin, and bean bag tosses or golf ball putting shots, and some people do think they’re pretty cool. These things never really interested me. I’ve been to a lot of large and small conferences with swag give-aways and nothing has really  impressed me as much as usb_drive_angle_8846USB drives, because they are an actual helpful tool… and flashlights… I can always appreciate a flashlight… A lot of bigger companies have policies about use of USB drives for IT reasons, because of virus transfer probability, so this great idea is becoming part of the past now.

Suggestion #3: Sign-up Sheets

If you want the potential for contacting people after the event, plan a prize that has people sign up with their names and email address. Invite them to sign up for your site, but do not pester them or share their email addresses with anyone. That would have a negative unintended consequence.

IMG_1047People responded to my email sign-up sheet for a free Snap Circuit Jr. fairly well.

What people responded to the most for my booth was a logic-puzzle that took verificationIMG_1045 practices to solve. Nothing to win here, but people from all backgrounds were intent on getting the answer correct. This happens when you hang out with smart people!

Suggestion #4: Photo-booth Phun

IMG_1056After I watched the engineering group, I wish I had a photo-booth area – they had a cool background with clever props and a frame the person holds up. After they take the picture,IMG_1055 they make it available to the subject immediately, Poloroid-style, but with two separate and very colorful Fuji-Film cameras. Some of the pictures came out extremely white (including mine), though, so I had to go back a second time. What I liked about it so much was that it was fun. Engineers having fun? I thought the sticks with the glue-gunned graphics on them made for some pretty awesome picture props, and I really loved the frame idea. I would add some thought bubbles, and encourage more group shots with this format. Get your products or message involved somehow – that is the challenge.

IMG_0899I have to admit – I got caught up in the fun, too! Hashtag “I work safe!”

Any time you can capture a memory to make the event stick with your customers, I think your sales mission is partly accomplished. My DJ business took this point to heart and would always take digital pictures at events and give a photo-cd to the paying client at the end of the venue. They always LOVED it, especially when it was a surprise. Cell phone camera quality has made this idea less impactful, but it’s still a good idea.

Suggestion #5: Game Shows!

This worked very well, but took a lot of coordination, a video and sound system, and a “stage” of sorts. Microphones are important and not just for effect, and also length of time considerations and prize possibilities. Charm and charisma of the people with the microphones mIMG_1053atters here, and a audio/visual tech running the computer, music, and sound effects in the background makes this all come together. Maintenance had two games they were hosting – one was a Foreign Material Exclusion (FME) game called “Wheel of FME Fortune” and the other one was called “HU Treasure” where the players were asked Human Performance knowledge questions and then chose numbers to see if a prize was beneath them. I thought this was fun and clever and opened up a myriad of ideas for me. I would have loved to see something like a Family Feud where two teams competed against each other with “top answers on the board,” or maybe a Jeopardy-style game, but make sure the players speak into the microphones to include everyone.

Suggestion #6: Let’s Talk Raffles

What are you raffling off that’s interesting and is something I may actually want?pair_of_custom_movie_tickets_12192 Ipads and other notepad-type electronics always interest people, but how relevant to your product are they? The person who up fronts the money for these expensive items is probably not very memorable, unless you can possibly make the items part of your brand. I went to a conference where ALL attendees got an etched iPod with the company’s name on it and a video they had pre-instaled on it. This idea had to cost thousands of dollars and take a lot of coordination time! The attendees loved it, that’s for sure! Perhaps one-of-a-kind items, like a famous book in your field that is actually signed and perhaps even donated by the original author. This could be a win-win if you advertise to the author ahead of time and you can obtain giveaways for free – do not be shy to email or call them. Gift certificates are an awesome idea, but who will remember where they are from? Maybe that’s not important, but as a small business owner, I care big-time about return on investment.

Suggestion #7: Actually Have Products!

Have the products that you sell or work with at your booth. The most impressive looking displays are those that actually have products they sell. handyman_jack_of_all_trades_17776There is a lot of aggravation in bringing your products all over, but it’s cool to hold in your hand a new tool or even a tactical flashlight.

Suggestion #8: Multimedia, Sound and Video

Ask yourself this: would a DVD cover laying on a table be anywhere near as impressive as that same DVD actually playing (even without sound) on a screen? People want to experience multimedia and you need to give visuals and movement if possible, which is why at the very minimum I have a PowerPoint slideshow or Prezi or combination of the two playing on multiple screens if I can. This may be a logistical challenge, but one worth figuring out.


Don’t forget to follow up with people who sign up for something you’ve offered. Feel free to email your tips, tricks, or questions to me at and have a great booth at your event!

Bonus tip for those who read through to the bottom of the post:

If you’re booth area is going to be outdoors, plan for potential wind issues!


Human Performance Tool Spotlight: Job Site Review


Job Site Review is sometimes called 2-Minute Rule, 2-Minute Drill, 2-Minute Time Out, Circle for Safety, 360 for Safety, and I’ve even heard many other titles. Combined with a healthy Questioning Attitude (which I don’t like to call a “tool” – more on that in other posts), a Job Site Review helps you get situational awareness. It is important to do a review when something in the environment changes, that way you can maintain this awareness, as well.

Recognizing abnormal conditions and identifying safety hazards is an important step to error reduction and an event-free performance. Workers and supervisors cannot be so focused on what they are trying to accomplish that they do not see opportunities to avoid ‘preventable’ errors. The pre-job briefing offers supervision and assigned workers an opportunity to not only review what is to be accomplished but also what to avoid. This discussion prepares them mentally. However, an accurate understanding of the challenges offered by the work environment cannot be confirmed until workers actually see the physical job site with their own eyes.

The Job Site Review requires workers to simply take time (ideally, 2 minutes at a minimum) before starting a job to become aware of the immediate work environment, to detect conditions unanticipated by work planning and the pre-job briefing, and to confirm those that were. Often, procedures do not contain important information related to the demands placed on the user by the job site, especially at critical steps. A brief review of the job site allows the individual time to detect abnormalities and hazards. If abnormalities, or error-precursors, remain undetected, they usually make performance either more difficult or contribute to injuries, errors, and, possibly, events.


The purpose of a job-site review is to improve a person’s situational awareness when first arriving at the job site. People should take the time to develop an accurate understanding of critical indicators, system/equipment condition, work environment, hazards, and even team members. Taking the time necessary to get acquainted with the immediate work area helps individuals to establish a healthy sense of uneasiness. It also boosts their questioning attitude and enhances the accuracy of their situation awareness.

When to use:

  • At the beginning of each task involving plant equipment
  • When first arriving at the job site
  • Before interaction with risk-important equipment
During a walk-down of a work package
  • When a potential safety hazard is present
  • After extended breaks or interruptions
  • When wrapping up work for the shift

How to use:

Explore the job site for at least two minutes by walking and looking around at the work area (hands-on touch points) and adjacent surroundings to identify conditions such as:

  • Industrial safety and environmental hazards
  • Right unit, right component
  • Critical indicators (meters) needed for task success
  • Error precursors (at critical steps)
  • Work area conditions inconsistent with those listed in the procedure or discussed during the pre-job briefing
  • Industrial safety, radiological, and environmental hazards
  • Trip-sensitive equipment to avoid jarring or disturbing

Talk with coworkers or supervisor about unexpected hazards or conditions and the precautions to take.

Eliminate hazards, install appropriate operational barriers, or develop contingencies before proceeding with the task.

At-risk behaviors to avoid

  • Believing nothing bad can happen
  • Hurrying, not taking the time to look around the job site
  • Thinking that repetitive work is “routine” or “simple”, meaning “no risk”
  • Not talking about hazards or precautions with co-workers
  • Failing to eliminate hazards or installing appropriate defenses
  • Not raising “gut feel” concerns with co-
workers or supervision


With much gratitude, a lot of the above HPT basis comes from Department of Energy (DOE) and Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) research and collaboration, and the source document could be found by clicking here.

This article (you would have to purchase – sorry, it’s not free to share) adds some more specificity to the discussion : Engaging Workers as the Best Defense Against Errors & Error Precursors by Jan K. Wachter and Patrick L. Yorio

Me. I’ve inserted a few twists and clarifications for users and myself.

[As a reminder – don’t forget to click the graphic at the top of each post for an Easter egg!]