30 in 30 Podcast

Where we capture 30 years of mining experience in 30 minutes

Confident Decision-Making Through Appropriate Research

Guest: Greg Sheppard
Jun 08, 2020 | 30 min to Listen

The mining industry as a whole is much like a piece of machinery. There are many moving parts, all reliant on each other to work together, each part playing a necessary role in the overall functionality.  Just like any machine, a mining site is only as successful as the people running the equipment. The outcomes achieved on a site are determined by the quality of work and therefore the culture created by the people working there.

Our guest today is Greg Sheppard who has a broad range of experience in the mining industry, starting his career as a plant operator and working his way through numerous roles in operations, maintenance, technology and statistical analysis.  Greg is currently the Processing Manager at KCGM, a company who has managed one of the most successful and enduring mining operations in Australia’s history.

Through Greg’s decades of experience, he has not only obtained valuable skills and qualifications but he has also come to understand the importance of prioritising people.  In this episode Greg shares his experience in how changing a culture on site leads to better outcomes, both for the business and for the team members. He talks about his insights on leadership roles, how best to manage difficulties on site and the importance of being an open minded team player.

Regardless of the industry, when people are valued and given the necessary understanding they need to do a good job, the quality of work and efficiency will improve.  Every worker wants to do a good job and a good manager is one who will come alongside to support the team, understanding that their role is one part of a whole machine.

Some Topics That We Cover

  • [1:30] – Greg’s career trajectory and how it differed in a few ways from the norm in his era
  • [3:00] – The commonalities within the three different disciplines that Greg has worked within during his time in the mining industry
  • [5:00] – Greg’s aspirations when he first obtained the role of maintenance manager
  • [6:30] – Creating an environment for his team where they could excel
  • [8:00] – When something goes awry, almost exclusively the team member was trying to do the right thing, but was doing it the wrong way
  • [9:00] – Working within the risk profile of your team members to understand how they work best
  • [12:00] Working slower to achieve the desired result. How the work would still get done, but safer and with clearer objectives
  • [13:30] – How an unfortunate incident as a result of human error actually pushed a positive change and the team rallying together to achieve the best possible outcome
  • [14:20] – Advice on dealing with the stress of management positions
  • [16:00] – As a manager, allowing yourself to be confident is key. Imposter syndrome might creep in, but know that you’re there to do a job and you have the skills required
  • [17:45] – When you don’t agree with a direction provided to you, understand why you don’t agree and do your research so that you’re informed
  • [19:20] – Learning to communicate across all disciplines to understand the needs of each department and come to mutually beneficial outcomes
  • [21:00] – Everyone wants to do a good job, some just don’t have the knowledge as to why what they’re doing might be wrong or worth doing
  • [23:20] – Providing the necessary information in order for your people to do the job they need to do an improve the culture on the whole
  • [25:00] – When addressing the team to get the best out of them or change a procedure, how beneficial it is to sit down with them and write out the position description so that they’re all the same page
  • [27:00] – As a manager, you’re often going to a lot of meetings. Are these all necessary or could you do away with some of them and address issues on the ground or in other ways