This is a great question. Interestingly, and surprisingly, my job often puts me in the position of managing new and unique programs, projects or initiatives. Despite the fact that I have more than 25 years of experience in the EHS & S world, things come up all the time that are new to me as Director of Environment and Safety. As I reflect on this question as to how I typically tackle these new challenges, there is a general methodology that I follow, that loosely reflects a combination of the scientific method and Deming’s continuous improvement model.
First for me is planning. To establish the plan, I gather information, reflect, form an initial plan, obtain feedback and revise. Almost always, a team is involved, so the second step is to form and charter the team. I then establish working guidelines for the team, along with roles and responsibilities, and a regular communication cadence for monitoring progress and identifying changes to the plan. Most importantly, I try to apply the observational approach which enables changes to the plan based on new information, observations and results obtained throughout the program or project.