How can we make our toolbox meetings more lively? That’s the question David Cuninghame, Project Manager at Subsea Cables, asked himself when working on the Ndeavor. He remembered an Australian initiative: the rotating toolbox.
Caroline is in her mobile office – that is her car – to talk in a Teams meeting about her initiative. “As part of our 10 years NINA anniversary we decided to do the NINA E-learning as group sessions, within the different vessel bubbles. But then I thought: we have a party but what is the treat? Where is the cake?” She laughs. “We give people a 10 years pen, but why not give them a postcard to write on as well?”
Paul Watson, Superintendent Subsea Tools, is positive as well.
“Even the client participated,” he says. Apart from the discussion itself, which already is valuable, some of the crew members’ contributions did highlight (technical) issues that had got lost in the daily work. Handing over the gavel can however also lead to surprises. “There were indeed some issues raised I didn’t agree with”, Paul says. “But we still acted on it, if they were valid points.”
As sympathetic as it might seem to nominate a colleague to have their say, for some the pressure of speaking in public can be very high and should not be trivialized, says Mark Whiteley, Equipment Supervisor and one of the participants.
“Personally I don't mind. If I have something valuable to contribute I enjoy speaking and discussing things. Good communication is the key to a smooth work environment (and life in general). However, I know some colleagues felt really uncomfortable with it.” That’s why it’s important to start with inviting those colleagues who already feel comfortable with this. This way the others can see which way the wind blows.
How could it work?
Wrapping up we could say there are pros and cons about the rotating toolbox. Some might feel being nominated is being forced, whereas others might just need this little support. What are your ideas on rotation toolboxes and how to make toolboxes more interactive? Discuss it on your project/ship and let us know!