Are You Getting the Most from Your “Turnaround Team” Meetings?

By Krystyna Riley, Principal

By: Charles Carnes, Senior Partner; Brian Cole, Principal; Krystyna Riley, Principal

Getting the most from turnaround team meetingsFor each turnaround, you probably form a “turnaround team” for planning, scheduling, execution, and look-back. This team typically includes various organizational functions, meets often, and is responsible for the turnaround’s success.

Some expected benefits from a turnaround team include:

  • Alignment of goals and objectives across the impacted portion of the organization. The team helps determine (and communicate) what is in-scope and out-of-scope for the turnaround
  • An accountability mechanism for timely, high-quality submission of scope input
  • Review/approval/rejection of work input
  • Identification of potential barriers/obstacles to meeting milestones

Unfortunately, these benefits are often taken for granted or even overlooked, so many benefits of the turnaround team may not be fully realized.

Who Is on the Team Really Matters

Having the right roles present is essential. First, we recommend a cross-functional team, so all voices are heard. Second, we recommend continuity, achieved by keeping the same team members for the entire turnaround planning/execution process.

At a minimum, these functions need to be represented:

  • Operations
  • Maintenance
  • Inspections
  • Engineering (Designs, Process, and Reliability)
  • Planning/Scheduling
  • Procurement/Materials

You Need Good Facilitation—But Participant Behaviors Are Even More Important

The facilitation skills of those who lead turnaround team meetings vary widely, so we recommend investing time in developing those skills. Other basics of effective meetings are important, too—an agenda with clear desired outcomes/objectives for each topic, creating time allotments, assigning a timekeeper, assigning a notetaker/scribe to capture action items, etc.

However, most organizations stop with those basics. Even more essential are the behaviors of the meeting participants. Do not expect the facilitator to have sole responsibility for ensuring effective meetings. Agree on the critical behaviors needed for the team to conduct effective meetings. Here are some critical behaviors we recommend:

  • Everyone participates by asking questions, providing information/data and recommendations, raising issues, etc.
  • Everyone engages in dialogue about turnaround KPIs, including what is at risk, how ratability affects KPIs, what actions are needed, etc.
  • Promote cross-functional communication, barrier resolution, and shared accountability
  • Push back on inputs not adequately scoped/described
  • Encourage and praise people for participating, discussing, making decisions, etc.

Hold the Turnaround Team Accountable for Conducting Effective Meetings

As with any performance challenge, it’s not enough to simply tell meeting participants about the behavioral expectations. In our experience, you need a mechanism to give participants meaningful coaching and feedback. This is critical for helping them become fluent in the new behaviors and ultimately holding team members accountable for effective meetings.

Here are a few ways to ensure that participants are getting feedback on the quality of their meeting behaviors:

  • Self-assessment
  • Independent Observation with Feedback
  • Collecting/Displaying Meeting Behavior Effectiveness Data

Meeting effectiveness data are helpful, not only for individual turnaround teams to review, but to share with the Turnaround Steering Team so leaders can see how each turnaround team is functioning. This enables leaders to remove barriers, address concerns, and provide positive and constructive feedback as necessary.

Bottom Line

A stable, cross-functional turnaround team is integral to the successful planning and execution of a turnaround. Ensuring that you have the right people in the room and that the right behaviors occur during meetings greatly increases team effectiveness and helps ensure best-in-class turnaround results. Don’t leave this to chance!

The next turnaround post will be on the topic of integrating and aligning the work of smaller work groups with the larger turnaround activities to avoid possible failures.

Topics: Turnaround/Shutdown