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Entries Tagged as 'Safety Communication'

The Confrontation Calamity

April 16th, 2014 · Comments

The emphasis on the concept of confrontation in safety is epidemic.  Consultants, books and articles taut the virtue of teaching workers to confront each other over safety issues.  They claim that the willingness and ability to confront may be the key competency of safety.  They argue that it must become unacceptable to see a risk being taken and not confront the individual taking the risk.

The basis of this misguided concept goes back to two core misconceptions of safety thinking, (i.e. the idea that the goal of safety is to fail less and that all risk-taking is a matter of worker choice).  When one worker sees another being bad there must be a confrontation to make the worker less bad.  The worker taking a risk simply made a bad choice and confrontation will result in less-bad decisions in the future.  The truth is that safety excellence is about achieving success, not simply avoiding failure and that there are organizational influences that impact workers’ decisions that need to be discovered and addressed if lasting change is to be made.

The alternative to the concept of confrontation is the concept of coaching.  Coaching is a way to achieve success rather than simply avoid failure.  It involves workers building on each other’s strengths rather than simply trying to correct their weaknesses.  It is built upon a vision of success in which everyone helps each other reach a goal. It necessitates a vision of success and helps to identify organizational influences on workers’ behavioral choices.

Confrontation weakens relationships and culture and seldom results in lasting change.  Coaching builds relationships and culture and almost always results in improved performance.  Workers listen to their allies differently than they listen to their critics.  Confrontation creates either enmity within the safety culture or avoidance behavior that has the appearance of confrontation without the reality.  Either damages the very fabric of what it is supposed to improve.

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.

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Tags: Behavior Based Safety · Safety Observations · Employee Involvement · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Performance Management · Change Management · Articles · Lean Behavior-Based Safety · Unions and Behavior-Based Safety · Behaviour-Based Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Psychology Safety · Leadership Safety Coaching · Safety Leadership

337 – To Delegate or Not to Delegate Safety?

April 14th, 2014 · Comments

Greetings everyone, this podcast recorded while in Bangkok, Thailand. I’d like to share an article I wrote that was published April 2014 in OH&S Magazine. The published article can either be found on the magazine’s website or under Insights at www.ProActSafety.com.

I hope you enjoy the podcast this week. If you would like to download or play on demand our other podcasts, please visit the ProAct Safety’s podcast website at: http://www.safetycultureexcellence.com. If you would like access to archived podcasts (older than 90 days – dating back to January 2008) please visit www.ProActSafety.com/Store. For more detailed strategies to achieve and sustain excellence in performance and culture, pick up a copy of our book, STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence - http://proactsafety.com/insights/steps-to-safety-culture-excellence

Have a great week!

Shawn M. Galloway
ProAct Safety

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Tags: Safety Management · Employee Involvement · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Safety Excellence Strategy

The Lost Art of Listening

April 9th, 2014 · Comments

The late Stephen Covey said that one of the habits of highly-effective people is to “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”  Most safety programs do exactly the opposite and are therefore not highly effective.  Leaders and safety professionals decide what is needed and deploy new programs and processes without consulting the very people who know the issues in the field, and will ultimately determine the success or failure of new initiatives.  Organizations regularly hire consultants to analyze their problems and the consultants get the information to do so directly from the organization’s employees.  A good consultant is a good listener first and a good problem solver second.
 
But listening is more than just hearing sounds.  It begins with setting the right tone for the conversation.  There must be a non-threatening and respectful atmosphere in which the listening can take place.  There also needs to be an honest and frank expectation of how the information will potentially be used.  Skepticism often arises from past interviews or surveys from which no action has been taken.  Enough of this kind of skepticism can render the conversation useless.

Sometimes, the right questions need to be asked to spark the right discussions and discover the underlying issues.  When issues emerge from the discussions, they need to be probed and understood more fully. That means that the right questions need the right follow-up questions as well.  The whole process can build upon itself once those interviewed realize that their input is being valued and can potentially lead to improvements.  Listening is ultimately empowering people by taking them seriously.

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.

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Tags: Safety Management · Employee Involvement · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Articles · Safety Perception Surveys · Leading Safety · Safety Culture Assessment · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Safety Leadership

336 – Giving Safety a Brand Identity

April 7th, 2014 · Comments

Greetings everyone, this podcast recorded while in Bangkok, Thailand. I’d like to share an article Terry Mathis wrote that was published March 2014 in EHS Today Magazine. The published article can either be found on the magazine’s website or under Insights at www.ProActSafety.com.

I hope you enjoy the podcast this week. If you would like to download or play on demand our other podcasts, please visit the ProAct Safety’s podcast website at: http://www.safetycultureexcellence.com. If you would like access to archived podcasts (older than 90 days – dating back to January 2008) please visit www.ProActSafety.com/Store. For more detailed strategies to achieve and sustain excellence in performance and culture, pick up a copy of our book, STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence - http://proactsafety.com/insights/steps-to-safety-culture-excellence

Have a great week!

Shawn M. Galloway
ProAct Safety

1sceapp.jpg

Listen Now:


Tags: Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Marketing Safety · Safety Excellence Strategy · Safety Leadership

332 - Shaping the Safety Culture of Project-Based Workforces

March 10th, 2014 · Comments

Greetings everyone, this podcast recorded while in Morgan City, LA. I’d like to share an article Terry L. Mathis wrote that was published February 2014 in EHS Today Magazine. The published article can either be found on the magazine’s website or under Insights at www.ProActSafety.com.

I hope you enjoy the podcast this week. If you would like to download or play on demand our other podcasts, please visit the ProAct Safety’s podcast website at: http://www.safetycultureexcellence.com. If you would like access to archived podcasts (older than 90 days – dating back to January 2008) please visit www.ProActSafety.com/Store. For more detailed strategies to achieve and sustain excellence in performance and culture, pick up a copy of our book, STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence - http://proactsafety.com/insights/steps-to-safety-culture-excellence

Have a great week!

Shawn M. Galloway
ProAct Safety


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Tags: Safety Management · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Performance Management · Articles · Leading Safety · Supervisor Safety Coaching · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · safety compliance · Safety Leadership

Backward Safety Practices

February 12th, 2014 · Comments

When safety practice ignores the facts it’s no wonder why things don’t work well.  Research has shown and re-affirmed several facts that have escaped attention or reaction from common safety practices.  The following is only a short list of examples:

Fact:  People react emotionally before they react rationally.
Practice:  We try to convince people first with logic and then get them involved and bought in.

Fact:  People remember concrete facts better than abstract concepts.
Practice:  We generalize about safety and then (maybe) back up our generalization with specific examples.

Fact:  The messenger is often as important the message.
Practice:  We send out safety messages via email or ask whoever is available to deliver the message.

Fact:  Discovery learning is best.
Practice:  We tell everything rather than letting people extract lessons from stories.

As long as safety practices ignore the facts we can expect them to produce less than stellar results. What other facts do you see safety practices ignore?

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.


Tags: Safety Management · Safety Communication · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Excellence Strategy · Safety Leadership

Promoting Safety: When to Talk and When to Shut Up

January 8th, 2014 · Comments

There is an old saying that “Talk is cheap because supply is greater than demand.”  In safety, we find that leaders all too often talk and don’t talk at exactly the wrong times.  So what are the right and wrong times to talk about safety?

Wrong Time to Talk:  When you don't plan on taking action.  Talking about safety issues when no action is being taken damages credibility about as much as anything leaders can do.  Have you ever heard a whole work force say “They don’t put their money where their mouth is!”?  When talk is not paired with action, there isn’t much to talk about except future plans, and that conversation will set a future trap for leaders if they fail to follow through.

The second worst time to talk is when leaders urge workers to improve safety but have no solid plan for doing so.  Saying the awful generalizations like “be careful” and “think before you act” are insulting and meaningless.  

Right Time to Talk:  When leaders have invested either money, resources or time in safety and have made a difference, it is time to make sure everyone knows.  This should not be boasting or grabbing credit, but simply stating that the organization has addressed a safety issue.  Failing to let the workers know about significant progress or effort, perpetuates the perception that talk doesn’t match action.  It can also ambush workers with unexpected changes in their work place.

Leaders can also set specific behavioral targets and create true talking points.  While the tired approaches of preaching generic safety to the troops are often counterproductive, setting improvement goals and defining individual roles and responsibilities in achieving them can truly rally people to meaningful action.

The best safety leaders have learned when to talk and when to shut up.

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.



Tags: Safety Management · Safety Communication · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture Excellence · Marketing Safety

322 - Is the Term Accident Still Acceptable?

December 30th, 2013 · Comments

Greetings everyone, this podcast recorded while in Canmore, Alberta. I’d like to share an article Terry Mathis wrote, published October 2013 in EHS Today Magazine. The published article can either be found on the magazine’s website or under Insights at www.ProActSafety.com.

I hope you enjoy the podcast this week. If you would like to download or play on demand our other podcasts, please visit the ProAct Safety’s podcast website at: http://www.safetycultureexcellence.com. If you would like access to archived podcasts (older than 90 days – dating back to January 2008) please visit www.ProActSafety.com/Store. For more detailed strategies to achieve and sustain excellence in performance and culture, pick up a copy of our book, STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence - http://proactsafety.com/insights/steps-to-safety-culture-excellence

Have a great week!

Shawn M. Galloway
ProAct Safety



Listen Now:


Tags: Safety Management · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Psychology Safety

Showing Up: Step One of Safety Leadership

December 11th, 2013 · Comments

We have been told that the first step of doing any job is showing up.  This is equally true of the job of leading safety.  Leaders who are noticeably absent lose opportunities to effectively lead.  Obviously leaders cannot be everywhere every time; but they can pick and choose key opportunities to emphasize the importance of safety with their presence. 

When tragedies happen and leaders don’t show up, what is the message sent to the troops?  When major new safety initiatives begin without the in-person support of key leaders, how official and important are they.  When organizations have safety teams or committees which oversee safety efforts, how do they proceed when leaders fail to attend?

The physical presence of leaders must be accompanied by their involvement and attention as well.  A worker commented recently, “There was a serious safety incident and none of the leaders got mad.”  He reflected that at his last job leaders showed emotions when safety efforts didn’t go well and caused heated discussions and decisive actions.  In short, he equated emotion with caring.  Leaders show they care when they show up and participate.  What they do in their offices and the boardroom will not have the necessary impact if they are not present and engaged at key happenings in the workplace.  Leaders, start with step one.

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.



Tags: Safety Management · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Articles · Leading Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Safety Excellence Strategy · Leadership Safety Coaching

Leading vs. Lagging Indicators in Safety

November 27th, 2013 · Comments

As more and more leaders and safety professionals realize the limitations of reactive safety, they search for leading indicators to help them manage safety more proactively.  This thinking fueled the concept that lagging indicators alone, are not truly representative of safety performance, nor are they predictive or prescriptive.

 The first round of so-called “leading indicators” was little more than a measurement of safety-related activities: hours of safety training, attendance at safety meetings, participation in safety programs, etc.  OSHA’s crackdown on incentives that could potentially suppress reporting of accidents drove many organizations to base their incentives on these activity metrics rather than simply not having an accident.  

When behavior-based safety became the rage, the measurement of behaviors from observations came to be thought of as a leading indicator. As safety culture became a buzz phrase, perception surveys gained in popularity and came to be considered another potential leading indicator.  The search for meaningful leading indicators goes on because no one of these has proven adequate in predicting and preventing injuries.

Where none of these alone succeed, all of them together potentially can.  A balanced-scorecard approach in which the metrics not only complement, but predict each other has proven quite effective in proactively predicting how to prevent accidents.  When you measure how much activity it takes to change perceptions, how much of a change in perceptions it takes to change behaviors, and how much behavior change it takes to change the lagging indicators, you begin to truly measure the effectiveness of safety efforts.  Just as balanced scorecards have revolutionized strategic management, with our most successful clients, balanced scorecards for safety have proven to have a transformational impact on safety management. How balanced are your measurements? 

-Terry L. Mathis

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.



Tags: Behavior Based Safety · Safety Management · Safety Measurement · Safety Observations · Safety Communication · Organizational Safety Culture · Safety Training · Performance Management · Change Management · Articles · Lean Behavior-Based Safety · Safety Incentives and Rewards · Leading Safety · Safety Culture Assessment · Behavioral Quality · Behavior-Based Quality · Behavior-Based Safety Software · Behaviour-Based Safety · Safety Culture and Performance Excellence Strategy · Safety Culture Excellence · Psychology Safety · Behavior Science · Leading Indicators for Safety · Safety Excellence Strategy