Cascading Communications

[Post by Chuck Krugh, February 6, 2023]

I went back and reread my last blog about Cascading – A Method to Communicate Targets and Progress and wanted to further expand on the communication side of the Business Operating System (BOS). In the last blog, I concentrated on the “translation” aspect of the company goals. I realize I didn’t talk about the process of cascading communication. Again, the cascading concept in the BOS is an extremely important way to ensure that we have connection between all levels of the company. This time, let’s go through the muster process.

From a communication view, the Muster 1-4 meetings demonstrate how effectively the cascading communication works. We have designed our daily musters to build on the results of the previous muster. For example, Muster 1 is the daily start up meeting where we today convey safety information and job task assignments and should be collecting any feedback from the mechanics about issues that are keeping them from completing assigned tasks. If we have a roadblock keeping our mechanics from completing tasks, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get them removed so they can finish.

Sometimes the FLS conducting the Muster 1 meeting cannot remove the roadblock by himself or herself. When that happens, he or she needs to raise it up to the next muster – Muster 2. At Muster 2, we have the next higher level of management and usually the Integrated Process Team (IPT) there to help the FLS get the roadblock removed. I think you see the pattern. Muster 3 elevates to the Director level and moving ahead to Muster 4, the senior leadership of the company is there to help solve problems and remove roadblocks.

The goal of the Musters is to have progressively higher levels of leadership involved to have the best chance to solve the problem or remove the roadblock within 2.5 hours of the start of shift.

The cascade up is pretty easy to see in this example. Mechanic has a problem at shift startup and passes it up to his/her FLS. The FLS either clears the roadblock for the mechanic, or passes it up to the next muster. The cascade down happens as the mechanic gets feedback about the problem and its solution.

I thought it was important to show a practical example of cascading communications before we move on to the next topic. As we continue to discuss ways of making our business better, we will keep coming back to the cascading nature of the BOS.

Safely Execute High-Quality Work

President, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works

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