Reflections ... Winning with Southern Company

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I recently visited Plant Gaston of Southern Company in Wilsonville, Alabama as part of our engagement in the Southern Trilateral Safety Committee. This Committee, created by Southern Company, has a goal specifically being safety alignment between Customer, Contractor, and Craft. I am proud to represent our APM in this Committee, and I am proud of what we have delivered for Southern Company.

This past spring we executed 11 outages with Southern Company. We were able to send EVERYONE home safe 100% and still deliver APM level quality work to our customer. This is a great example of what winning with the Customer looks like, it shows how strong relationships will lead to better outcomes. When the Customer, Contractor, and our Craft have an alignment in goals – all home safe – we will continue to progress and maintain consistent, positive outcomes.

While walking the site, I saw some frames that caught my attention. These frames express philosophies extremely similar to our APM philosophies of STA + CBS + STOP. Although they may go by different names, these fundamental philosophies are very widespread and used throughout many different customers and companies.

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This got me thinking. Most in our industry are running the same base plays – we all have the same basic playbook. Just like football plays in a playbook, different teams may have the same plays, just with different names for them. The important part – the thing that separates good teams v great teams – is not what the plays are called, but how well they are consistently executed.

Now that Spring outages are winding down and we are looking forward to leadership development at the APM LDC this summer, I am reflecting on some questions.

  • How well did we execute our plays? For example, how well did we execute on our Critical Xs?

  • What communication, training, and other investments would help us improve our execution of those plays?

  • What can we improve in our plays to make them easier to execute in the field?

  • And of course, each of these questions have a follow-up that is most important … Why?

I have ideas, but I don’t know the answers. What I do know is we have a lot of smart, talented, expert leaders on our team – especially our Field Superintendents & Technicians – who have even better ideas. And those members of our team will be visiting us this summer. So collectively, I am confident we will come to some answers and continue to improve our playbook as we journey towards excellence = 100% all home safe.

—Jake