December 7, 2022 | Mark Paradies

HOP II: Going Beyond the Basics of Human and Organizational Performance


Have You Tried HOP?

HOP (Human and Organizational Performance) is a philosophy and a group of techniques mainly developed in the nuclear industry to achieve peak human performance. Contrary to the picture above, jumping is not required for HOP.

HOP - Human and Organizational Performance

The human and organizational performance philosophy part of HOP is heavy in Ph.D. jargon and can get complicated (a bit difficult to implement).

The HOP techniques include facilitated investigations and tools/techniques for operators and mechanics to use in the field when they discover that they are in an error-likely situation (or might be in one in the future). The original HOP folks talk about where work meets the worker. These techniques are often the part of HOP that get the most attention.

The HOP techniques have been used for over two decades (started about the turn of the century) and have spread beyond the nuclear industry.

Would You Like to Take Human and Organizational Performance to the Next Level? (Go Beyond HOP)

There are two main ways to go beyond the methods taught currently in HOP. And you don’t even have to be using HOP to go beyond the current state of the art. They are:

  1. Adopting a systematic, guided process that helps solve human performance issues when facilitating HOP investigations.
  2. Adopt stronger Safeguards that go beyond HOP’s focus on the people performing the work detecting error-likely situations and applying strategies to reduce the error’s likelihood.

Let’s start with the second option first.

Strategies to Stop Human Errors

HOP has a plethora of strategies to detect error-likely situations and then apply tools to reduce the likelihood of an error or catch an error before something bad happens.

These methods of detecting error-likely situations include:

  • Questioning Attitude
  • Error Traps & Precursors
  • Time Out
  • Attention to Detail

HOP methods emphasize people in the field self-monitoring performance and detecting when a trap or a reason for enhanced performance is needed and then applying the appropriate tool to improve performance. These tools to improve performance include:

  • STAR
  • Time Out
  • Validate Assumptions
  • Conservative Decision Making
  • Procedure Use and Adherence

Of course, there are many more strategies and tools that could be listed here, and some strategies/tools may fit into both categories (a detection strategy and a performance improvement tool).

The key to these tools (and going beyond them) is that these tools focus on monitoring work in real-time by folks at the “pointy-end” of the stick. The problem with this is that people performing work have a limited attention span and often use up much of their attention performing the work. They have little attention left over to self-monitor performance.

Thus, strategies to stop human error that focus upstream – that make work less error-prone or make errors easy to detect and correct – can be much more effective. Also, strategies that don’t require self-monitoring and are taught and applied whenever work is performed can also be more effective.

What are these techniques/strategies? Let’s call them HOP 2. We teach them in our Stopping Human Error Course. See the outline of the course HERE.

We wrote a book about the techniques that include the HOP techniques, and you can find out more about the book and the Stopping Human Error Course in this video…

The goal of the course is to have you develop a Human Performance Improvement Plan that is customized for the people and processes at your facility. Here is Benna Hughes interviewing Mark Paradies about creating a strategy and plan to Stop Human Errors…

The next Stopping Human Error Course is on April 24-25, 2023, at the Margaritaville Lane Resort, Lake Conroe, near Houston, Texas (right before the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit that includes the Human Performance Best Practices Track). To register for the course, CLICK HERE. To register for the course and the Summit and SAVE $300 off the combined course and Summit fee, CLICK HERE.

Reactive Performace Improvement

In the video above, Mark and Benna talk about the proactive ways to stop human error, but you also need to fix problems when incidents happen (especially precursor incidents).

A slide from the Stopping Human Error Course

Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) training teaches a method (Learning Teams) of getting the right people in a room and working collaboratively (with a facilitator) to discover ways to reduce the likelihood of errors by modifying the system.

As Mark and Benna discussed briefly in the video above, TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis helps people by providing guidance to explore the reasons for human errors and reduce their likelihood. The guidance takes people beyond the knowledge of the team members because of embedded human factors technology in the TapRooT® RCA System.

For people who are going to facilitate teams or frequently dig deeply into the causes of human error, we recommend they attend the 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training. It dives deeply into the fixable causes of human error and methods to analyze what happened, how it happened, the root causes of each Causal Factor, the Generic Causes linked to systemic problems, and proven ways to fix the root and generic causes. It does all this without blame.

People working on an exercise in a 5-Day Class.

To see the dates for upcoming public 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Courses being held around the world, CLICK HERE. To schedule a course at your facility, CONTACT US.

Be Proactive

Of course, the techniques we have briefly discussed can be applied reactively (after something bad happens), but we prefer that TapRooT® RCA Users use the techniques PROACTIVELY (before an incident happens). We have been teaching proactive ways to apply TapRooT® RCA since the early 1990s, but we built a course in 2022 that exclusively focuses on proactive improvement root cause analysis and audits. The new course is called:

Audits & Proactive Improvement Using TapRooT®

Just click on the title above to see the course description.

For upcoming course dates, CLICK HERE.

And to SAVE $300 off the combined course and Summit fees, CLICK HERE to register for both the Summit and the course.

Or you can CONTACT US to schedule a course at your site.

Below is a video of Emily interviewing Marcus (one of the instructors and the course developer) about the course…

Can You Really Stop Human Errors?

Many Human and Organizational Performance gurus claim that making errors is normal and can’t be stopped. To err is human. Of course, this is true if you leave the system alone. But we have seen human errors stopped (we will show you a simple example in the course) and have seen the likelihood of errors and the significance of errors greatly reduced.

Thus, it is possible to stop human errors in some situations and reduce errors and their consequences in other situations. This can lead to exceptional performance (think high-reliability organizations).

Of course, with the right Safeguards, processes, and proactive evaluations, you can eliminate (or make highly unlikely) the major accidents that management is most concerned about by using a combination of techniques, risk reduction, and hazard elimination. That’s another topic we cover in the Stopping Human Error Course.

The Next Step: HOP 2 – Taking Human and Organizational Performance to the Next Level

If you would like to take your human and organizational performance program to the next level, you should:

  • Learn to use advanced root cause analysis, and
  • Develop a custom program to stop human errors using researched and proven human factors techniques – HOP 2.

How do you do that?

1. Register for the Stopping Human Error Course coming up on April 24-25, 2023.

2. Register for the Human Performance Track at the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit on April 26-28.

3. Register for a 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Training at the upcoming course of your choice. CLICK HERE for dates and locations of upcoming public courses.

But of all these, the first course – the Stopping Human Error Course – is the one you should register for NOW. This eye-opening course will make it easy for you to strategize and plan your path to exceptional human performance by gradually implementing effective new techniques.

NOTE: Even if you aren’t interested in the philosophy behind Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), you should be interested in stopping human error and achieving exceptional human reliability. Why? Calculate the cost of human errors to your organization, and the topic of stopping human errors gets very interesting!

Alex Paradies

So, don’t wait. Hop to it! Get registered for the Stopping Human Error Course, The 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit, and a 5-Day TapRooT® Advanced Root Cause Analysis Team Leader Course and see how fast you can improve human performance (stop human errors) at your facility.

Courses & Training, Human Performance, Root Cause Analysis Tips, Summit
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