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Conduct a blue line review

Ph0to: kali9/iStockphoto

The “blue line” is defined as the path workers take to get their work done. The National Safety Council adds: “Blue line reviews are field observations of work by leaders with the goal of better understanding how work is actually performed.”

The idea of blue line reviews comes from the human and organizational performance concept, “an operating philosophy designed to provide a new way of looking at work, people and the systems in which people get work done,” NSC says. HOP recognizes that “an organization’s processes and systems greatly influence employees’ decisions, choices and actions, and consequently, their likelihood of successful work performance.”

Blue line reviews are opportunities for supervisors to learn, connect and inquire – criticism and judgment aren’t part of these types of reviews. Supervisors should ask inquisitive, open-ended questions during this time of “listening for learning.” Some examples:

  • Did anything in your work surprise you today?
  • Tell me about the last time you had to adapt or veer from the job instructions.
  • What is the worst thing that could happen in your job? What can be done to ensure this never happens?
  • What is the best and worst part(s) of your job or this task?
  • If you had a $1 million, what would you change about your job?
  • Is there anything I can do to improve your job?

Together, supervisors and employees can help improve the workplace.

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