Critical Thinking Skills: Building Blocks for the Next Generation

The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report[i] identified critical thinking skills as being essential for a high-performance workplace. The report identifies a three-part skills foundation: basic literacy and computational skills, the thinking skills necessary to put knowledge to work, and the personal qualities that make workers dedicated and trustworthy. This foundation in thinking skills includes creativity, decision making, problem solving, seeing things in the mind's eye, knowing how-to-learn, and reasoning. The report states: "Today's work place puts a premium on reasoning skills and an ability and willingness to learn."

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Information Transfer—The Competitive Advantage in Customer Service

As consumers, we have all experienced the customer service call that, when transferred, required repeating the details of the problem each and every time you were transferred. Nothing is more frustrating! By building a framework in your customer support function that includes a logical sequence of questions and the ability to pass the data along if the problem changes hands, organizations can make the customer support function their competitive advantage

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Today's 'knowledge economy' is creating a culture of confusion.

Most people feel uncertain by the lack of technical knowledge of the system or product they support. More technical training seems the first action management reaches for. Unfortunately technical training is only valid for a certain domain and for a short period of time. Is it possible, any longer, to keep up with the speed of technology changes? Is knowledge the only driver that gives us the power and certainty. No not at all, more is needed to become more effective. Studies executed by Kepner & Tregoe showed us that good decisive actions are always preceded by clear thinking. But precisely that clear thinking is letting us down when it is equally exciting.

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When multi-million Euro penalties are at stake, KT brought focused troubleshooting attention to the issue

Energy companies are merging, and the internal solutions are now a mélange of different hardware and software solutions. Recently a supplier called KT for help. Their IT consolidation project had resulted in an inability to provide contract owners with the daily energy consumption by the mandatory deadline.

Situation Appraisal and Problem Analysis were performed to unravel the reasons why the migrated application environment was not going fast enough.

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Customer Service: Constructs for a Customer-Focused Culture

In an industry where the pace of change is relentless, how do you create a service culture that builds customer loyalty? Organizational culture is the ‘personality’ of an organization manifested as the behaviors, attributes, and artifacts of its members. It shapes personal and group values and attitudes including perceptions about what works and what doesn’t, what is helpful and what is not, what makes sense and what does not.

These are the seven essential constructs for building a customer-focused culture.

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Case Study: Real-Time Project Management at Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto Energy America (RTEA) leadership felt that traditional training with theoretical project applications didn’t meet their world-class project management needs or time-strapped schedules. So RTEA partnered with Kepner-Tregoe (KT) project experts on a unique type of training, called “Learn and Do,” that has training participants apply real-time learning to an active project.

At RTEA’s Spring Creek Mine, “Learn and Do” participants addressed a 30-day, maintenance outage for an electric shovel that digs out 80-foot coal seams and loads coal into trucks—moving 50 cubic yards in a single scoop. RTEA worked with KT using the three phase Learn and Do process.

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Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages: Part Three

A holistic framework for STO success incorporates three main phases: definition, planning, and implementation—bound together by communications. Here are examples of how Kepner-Tregoe’s systematic STO framework saves time and money while promoting future STO improvements.

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Going for Gold: How Top Companies Make High Performance a Daily Discipline

Complimentary webinar materials to share about high performance in Operations.  How to approach daily disciplines with commitment and expertise.

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Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages: Part Two

A Shutdown-Turnaround-Outage (STO) is unique in that it always involves a key asset being taken offline or out of service and is complete only when this item is returned to service and performing at the desired level. STOs are uniquely complex, involving not only planned repair and upgrade activities but also emergent /unplanned work as a result of inspection of plant and processes not accessible or visible during normal operations.

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Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages: Part One

A traditional view of shutdowns, turnarounds and outages (STOs) holds that they are maintenance and engineering events. Yet they command significant capital and operating budgets, attract the attention of shareholders and boards of directors, and impact inventory supply chains and customer relationships. This indicates that they are actually whole business events, not function-specific, that require exceptional planning and execution.

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