Archive for April, 2009
With Spring in the air I wanted to chat a little on a lighter theme. We’ve shared discussion on the results of bad leadership and disengaged employees, frustrated by working harder yet accomplishing less. On a sunnier note, let’s look up, take a deep breath and reflect upon those things that we know for sure…those axioms of leadership…those things we can hold on to.
What are those truths that allow us to continuously improve our leadership effectiveness AND “hit the numbers” AND “lift people” to experience greater success? Here are some of my axioms to get us going…
- people don’t care what you know until they know you care
- go slow to go fast
- facts are friends
- 3 C’s matter: character, competence and chemistry
- a shepherd never beats the sheep
- you’ll never fatten the lamb by constantly weighing it
- always take the high road
- excellence matters
- courtesy counts
- pay now and play later
- fight for your family
- train well for short sprints
- finish well
I trust that this listing triggered some emotions. I’d love to hear from you.
I recently returned from NAEM’s EHS Management Information Systems conference held in Tampa, FL. The event was convened in the same spirit in which it began in the mid-1990s — as a forum for EHS professionals to share real-world experience about implementing data management systems.
Since 2001, NAEM has used the conference as an occasion to conduct an extensive benchmarking survey. This year’s survey results continue to provide insight into how EHS professionals use and value information management tools as well as some insight into the EHS Management Information Systems (EHS-MIS) industry itself.
Here are five quick observations and questions drawn from the survey data.
First, off-the-shelf EHS-MIS have completed the move from “standalone client software” to “web browser-based access”; a transition that started in earnest in 2005. Also, use of outside-the-corporate-firewall data hosting continues to expand — earlier security prohibitions appear to be relaxing.
- Question on the web-based client: Are these tools able to effectively serve remote international facilities with poor internet connectivity? And if not, what are the implications?
Second, in that same world where slick tools from Google, Yahoo and others are free, it appears that we might be getting a little jaded about our own systems — effectiveness ratings for enterprise EHS-MIS are down a full tick.
- Question: Are expectations higher, or are systems less effective?
Third, as someone privileged to work with forward-thinking EHS leaders in the 1990’s to build tools to do what off-the-shelf systems didn’t, I couldn’t help but notice that nearly half of survey respondents still build their own systems — and that a third of those systems are maintained by EHS professionals, not consultants or corporate IT.
- Question: Is this pattern based on interest or necessity?
Fourth, there are new unmet needs in EHS-MIS. Respondents need tools for Carbon Footprinting, GHG Reporting, Packaging/Raw Materials Management, and LEED/Green Building. Yet they only report plans to fund efforts in the first two areas.
- Question: Why the different treatment?
Finally, a surprise — the survey doesn’t show a huge shift in the size or allocation of EHS-MIS budgets. But neither, after several years, does there seem to be a strong correlation between company size and EHS-MIS budget — budgets for companies from $1 to $10 Billion range from under $100K to over $10 Million.
- Question: Can there be a best practice target for overall EHS budget based on company size? What about for EHS-MIS?
So, what do YOU think? Where will we be two years from now?
Jake White has been active as an NAEM affiliate since the 1990s with RPM Systems, RETEC, ENSR and now AECOM Environment. A self-described advocate for “doing things better, cheaper, and faster” in the workplace, you can often find him late at night in a hockey rink somewhere in Connecticut looking to make a tape-to-tape pass or shooting for that elusive top corner.