A unique opportunity for members of this group
We grant members of this group permissions which enable signed-in members to post news articles to the group.
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On Wednesday 25 February, Mark Carne, CEO of twelve months at Network Rail took the opportunity for delivering the 2015 George Bradshaw address at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London to "lift the bonnet" on how he wants the culture of Network Rail to change.
Mark described how by using techniques learned in the oil industry Network Rail can become a high performing organisation that is known to care about passengers, line side neighbours and communities, its own employees and contractor partners. For Mark, to talk about culture change is to talk about leadership, how to go about creating the environment that allows people to perform to their potential. "I have two central philosophies that guide my leadership of an organisation and that underpin the culture of the company I want to lead"
The first of these is that safety performance and business performance go hand in hand. "After all, to do a job safely it must be well planned, be carried out by competent, motivated people, be well-led, they must use the right equipment in the right way, All the ingredients of high performance... right first time."
Mark's second business philosophy is that everyone should have the ambition and desire to be better every day. To support their performance management approach of structured continuous improvement, Network Rail is rolling out 'control rooms' right across the company. These are cascaded, short-cycle team-based performance discussions. Ideas to improve are constantly generated, prioritised and actions defined. Process analysis techniques are used to systematically identify the opportunities to improve and progress is monitored relentlessly so that teams know how they are doing.
A couple of examples from the last six months demonstrate the success of this approach. Temporary speed restrictions have been reduced by 30% and a new approach to vegetation management has significantly improved autumn adhesion, drivers' confidence and sighting distance. Mark noted "This is basic stuff, but too often we have allowed the basics to be forgotten as we divert the organisation onto yet another fad or initiative."
Other themes key to driving a better every day mindset throughout the organisation include building stronger relationships with the operators and suppliers. Partnering with the supply chain, not commoditising it. Being transparent and open, Network Rail is coming under the Freedom of Information legislation in March. And of course, delivering an effective strategy around diversity and inclusiveness called "Everyone". As Mark mentioned " When women started becoming a much more visible presence on the oil and gas platforms in the North Sea twenty years ago, the difference they brought was profound. The extreme macho, and frankly unsafe, culture that was a a hallmark of the industry in the 1970s and 1980s changed dramatically and forever."
Andrew Adonis then questioned Mark Carne about some of the points raised before opening up to the floor and we finally got to hear about the Digital Railway.
Mark believes this is an opportunity to lay out the blueprint for a technological transformation of rail in the UK. A railway where in just 15 years Britain could lead the world in digital train control, delivering more capacity, reliability, speed and safety all at lower cost and with a smaller environmental footprint.
Lord Adonis wished Mr Carne luck with his job and the address concluded.