Questioning Attitudes at Plant Vogtle
Since 2008 we have been working in the energy industry. Since 2010 we have been providing leadership coaching, assessments and training at Plant Vogtle, near Augusta, GA. Most of that work has been with Shaw Power Group, which is contracted to build the first of a kind new nuclear modular construction of two AP 1000 Westinghouse designed nuclear reactors for Southern Power, an arm of Georgia Power.
There are many parties with unique needs at this large project site. The owner has a responsibility to control costs and inform their local utility consumers. The constructor has a responsibility to build at a fixed cost. The primary designers have a responsibility to provide adequate designs in a timely manner. The unions have their interests. The federal regulators have their interests.
All share commitments to 1) getting the job done safely, 2) on time, 3) under budget.
Sound like an impossible task?
Some liken it to the early NASA missions. Others consider the Manhattan Project. Or to building the pyramids…
All of the leaders I have met agree on one thing: old thinking/ leading/ managing will not work at this site.
Plant Vogtle will succeed to the extent that people engage in new thinking, and become a learning organization. And the best way to become a learning organization is to adopt a questioning attitude.
So, what is a questioning attitude?
- open-ended questions
- seek to clarify a situation
- solve the problem
- engage resources across functions and silos
- lead to actions
- model accountability