Have you ever watched a team, any team, anywhere, that seemed to be working together effortlessly? People smiling, work getting done and they look like they’ve got it all figured out. Do you think it’s impossible to have that type of teamwork when it comes to food safety in your plant? There are high-performance teams out there and you can mimic their habits.
Teamwork doesn't happen by accident. What does happen by accident is people working in silos, feeling isolated or alone and bouncing from crisis to crisis. Everyone is working hard but it’s just not coming together. Everyone knows food safety is important but there’s more time spent working at cross purposes than working as a team.
The good news: there are some simple rules high performance teams stick to. Even better news: once everyone understands how it’s done, it’s easy to maintain teamwork and a positive food safety culture.
So what’s the secret High Performance Teams use to work effectively in Food Safety?
THEY HAVE A PROCESS TO WORK AS A TEAM
And that process has 5 Simple Rules:
- They have Clear Expectations. They spell out those expectations in detail.
- They hold people Accountable. They have a strong feedback loop to make sure each person holds up their end.
- They practice Coherence. That’s a fancy way of saying that one action has another action automatically attached: If you use it, you put it away. If you mess something up in the course of doing your work, you clean up and restore order when you’re done. It means everyone is responsible for the consequences of their own actions.
- They align Responsibility with Authority. You can’t ask someone to be responsible to get something done if they don’t have the power to make it happen.
- They align work along Natural Roles. This one is a bit harder to get your head around but it’s key. Who’s the best person to teach anything to the maintenance team? It’s the Maintenance Manager. They speak the same language. Teaching is just one of the Maintenance Manager’s natural roles. So it makes sense that the best person to teach food safety to the maintenance team is the Maintenance Manager- and not the Quality Manager.
So, if you’re trying to understand why your team isn’t working together, understanding these 5 rules is a great place to start.