Positive Influence:

Cutting Edge Ideas on Behavior-Based Safety, Quality and Leadership

Predictive Analytics and Human Resources: The Prospect of a Dangerous Combination

Predictive Analytics and Human Resources:  The Prospect of a Dangerous Combination

In a recent USA Today article by Rodd Wagner entitled “How Your Boss Could Be Spying On You,” Mr. Wagner provides a convincing discussion of the risk and liabilities a company faces should they decide to use statistics and computers to make decisions about their employee’s performance. It all looked so simple in the movie Moneyball; a statistician provides the coach with historical data on aspects of player performance behavior that more closely correlates with winning games than batting averages and home runs. Worked like a charm. Player on-base statistics provided a much better measure of winning than other statistics.

The analysis and prediction of human behavior has been practiced for many years and applied to many environments. Past shopping behavior has been evaluated to anticipate future product development and inventory.  Similarly, manufacturing decisions and raw material acquisition can be managed using predictive data derived from consumer purchasing behavior. There is little doubt that predictive analytics has been helpful in many aspects of improving business decisions.

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How to Identify the Behaviors That Lead to Success

How to Identify the Behaviors That Lead to Success

What is a “behavior analyst?” Behavior analysts are psychologists who specialize in arranging (designing) physical and social environments to elicit useful, productive, value-added human behavior(s). Behavior analysts are experts in changing human behavior. When I use the word behavior, I am referring to something a human says (verbal behavior) or does (non-verbal, physical behavior), and behavior analysts work with fine grained, very specific behaviors when the situation requires them to do so.

In business and industry, behavior analysts help organizations improve human performance. The core purpose of quality initiatives and management development efforts is to change employee behaviors. U.S. corporations spend billions of dollars trying to encourage their employees to do things differently (change their behavior)—to come up with new ideas, work more safely, improve interpersonal effectiveness (talk to employees in a manner that encourages engagement and commitment to the company’s performance goals), and do things to eliminate waste.

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Employees Don’t Want to be Praised; They Want to be Noticed

Employees Don’t Want to be Praised; They Want to be Noticed

The conventional perspective on positive reinforcement (words like recognize, acknowledge, compliment, reward are incorrectly uses as synonyms for positive reinforcement) is that you approach someone with a piece of positive information about something they have done and say, “John, you really did some good work on that job.”

It sounds great but unfortunately does not take into consideration the reality of the workplace. A manager or supervisor who has a history of being negative or has spent no time getting to know the employee such that they have no relationship, can create a negative employee reaction. The statement seems contrived and manipulative; that is, it is perceived to be provided with the objective of wanting something additional from the employee. At best it is perceived to express an underlying agenda. Often these kind of statements contradict the employees own sense of self-worth.

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The 3 Critical Requirements for a World Class Safety Culture

The 3 Critical Requirements for a World Class Safety Culture

Number 1 – All Employees Participate in Safety ManagementWhen Behavior Based Safety (BBS) first appeared, it was often referred to as “Employee Driven Safety.” Many consulting companies implemented a process that was completely installed and administered by frontline employees. Although the idea was new to safety professionals, the employee participation movement had begun years earlier with Quality Circles and rapidly matured with additions from the Toyota Production System – referred to as TQM (Total Quality Management).

Although the value of employee participation was presented as an epiphany for Senior Leaders, organizational development professionals had actively promoted the use of human capital to improve quality, productivity, and profitability. The migration of this strategy to safety was just a matter of time. In the beginning, safety had been managed by one or two safety professionals using lagging indicators and crisis to prompt action and the attention of leaders. This is safety management by reaction and is basically indefensible as a strategy for preventing accidents and injuries.

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Performance Enhancing Conversations are Being Implemented with Safety and Quality

Performance Enhancing Conversations are Being Implemented with Safety and Quality

The shelves of America’s largest bookstores are overstocked with new books about leadership. It has become a national preoccupation keeping management consultants, corporate trainers and public workshops on leadership very busy. America is hungry for leaders and there appears to be many different interpretations of what a leader is. There is no consensus about what a leader “is,” and almost nothing about what a leader is supposed to do.

This confusion is created by the large number of leadership theories being promoted by theorists, publications, and consults. Any company seeking to turn its managers into leaders is going to find a consultant or workshop that suits their taste.

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Situational Awareness: Defining It & Enhancing It

Situational Awareness: Defining It & Enhancing It

Has your mind ever wandered while you were driving down the highway? Have you ever been so lost in thought that you drove right past your exit ramp? When I ask people in safety workshops to raise their hand if they ever zoomed past a highway exit because they weren’t paying attention, I typically see 100% of the people raise their hand (and the people who don’t raise their hand were probably not paying attention to the question!)

Do you realize that in this kind of situation, your mind is an obstacle to optimum performance and safety?  We sometimes get so distracted by our thoughts that we miss our cue to exit even when the exit signs and lane markers are in place. The external-world distractions cannot be blamed for that kind of mistake; rather, it’s the internal-world that is the primary cause of this safety problem. Our minds get led away from paying attention to what is happening here-and-now and put us at-risk for neglecting important signals for action.

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