Streamline - Spring 2015 - (Page 11)

Communication... Say What? BY LUCIAN LINEBERRY, CIRCUIT RIDER I COMMUNICATION IS THE BASIC and best method for everything, for everyone, at any level, in any occupation, to get the ultimate results for any problem. The initial statement is a "definition" or "topic sentence" of this article. Did you understand the statement enough to interpret what the article will consist of? Was communication made? As with any initial statement for reports, articles, evaluations, etc., the intent of communication should be to foster understanding between the giver and receiver, allowing further needs and questions to be realized. Effective communication in any work environment, from management to maintenance personnel, ensures a safer more efficient work place. Most questions or problems involved in treatment are solved by experiences, tests, ideas, etc., which are expressed by verbal communication. Job related issues may be communicated across various levels of organizational structure until a satisfactory solution is reached. Realizing that some decisions are the responsibility of designated personnel, that decision could/should include any employees who are directly involved with the problem; i.e., job communication. Suppose the system's budget director notices that a change in chemicals used has an increase in cost for the new chemical. Without discussion with any plant operators, he changes the order status back to the previous chemical to balance his budget to a savings in cost. Upon the next delivery, and after being questioned about the change, he realizes the new chemical requires less application because of better treatment results, therefore, costing less in the long term usage, resulting in budget savings. Poor job communication? Probably, he didn't discuss the change with plant operators. But wait ... he wasn't made aware of the chemical change, nor its purpose. Poor job communication? Yes, but by both parties involved. Thus, all personnel, at all levels, should discuss system related situations with each other. No one, at any status in a system, should consider being the decision maker without first communicating with others involved, and/or who may be affected by the results. This brings us to a very simple, up-front method of good job communication: cross training. Cross Training, of course, allows everyone at their level of importance to understand each other's job. Realizing the responsibility of other employees in relationship to each job field involved helps all employees through job communication to result in better problem solutions. Referring to the previous example, cross training should be done through all levels of concerned departments. Water and wastewater job communications should include municipality managers/directors/mayors; PSA board/director/engineer/;director of finance, public works, safety, etc. , department supervisor/foreman; treatment plant supervisors/chief operators ... any and all infrastructure personnel who's position might relate to the existing problem. At this point we must refer back to job communication. Remember Management to Maintenance? When decisions are to be made, it is of the upmost importance that the people directly involved are asked for their input. In water and wastewater, this is usually plant operators, and/or personnel of water repair and maintenance crews. Their hands on knowledge, experience, and expertise can be of great value in problem solving and positive decision making. This information may include such things as cost for materials and labor, repair time needed, safety factors, tests needed and results, prepared emergency measures, and sited future repairs in need, just to name a few. Job communication, concerning management to maintenance, could also be discussed among all levels. System communication might be improved with a communications program involving appropriate personnel. The intent of this article is to realize that everyone at any level, and at any position, is important in order for the system to operate at its upmost. Job communication should involve employees directly with their knowledge and ideas. Applied positively, this will boost employee participation and morale, therefore allowing the system to operate in a more related manner. 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2015

From the President: Power Failure
From the Executive Director: Highlights from 2014
The Sustainability Managed Utility
Communication… Say What?
Flushing Away the Ebola Threat
Hazard Communication Standards – Guidelines for OSHA Compliance
State Water Control Board Approves Controversial Permit
VRWA Said Goodbye to Past Executive Director
USDA Rural Development
The RATES Program
Adequate Rates versus Affordability
NRWA Recap
Debt Refinancing: An Alternate Source of Capital
How the Cloud is Revolutionizing the Future of Water Utility Management
Southern Corrosion Supports Victory Junction
Throwing My Loop: Call Me Anytime
Wastewater Math
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
New Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2015