Positive Influence:

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

Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part 3

Positive Influence Requires Positive Interactions: Part 3
Interpersonal Skills Training

A question that looms large is whether leaders, managers, and supervisors can be trained to be interpersonally effective.  Interpersonal skills training has been implemented by enlightened human resource and training departments for many decades.

Although an abundance of training has been delivered, the trained skills were perceived to be elective rather than mandatory. Few companies have codified interpersonal effectiveness as a condition of employment. It is seldom measured, tracked, and used as a basis for decisions about pay raises, promotion, and employment or used in recruiting and hiring practices.

Society and People ValueAmerica was founded by individuals who sought to escape the unfair practices of those in power. Today's culture views oppression of the powerless by the powerful as an evil.  We seek to correct abuses of power, prejudice, and disrespect. Organizations are becoming increasingly mindful of their social responsibilities and their public image. They are taking pains to advertise the benefits and perks they provide to their employees - recognizing that the public is aware of a financial relationship between employee welfare and treatment and sustaining organizational profitability. Yet an awareness of the public's disapproval of employee mistreatment has not become the foundation for influencing  management's behavior with subordinates. In most organizations, there is no accountability system in place to monitor respectful and emotionally mature treatment of employees. The public  finds out about employee dissatisfaction by informal communication channels - at the super market and at back yard barbecues. There are now websites that collect and present rating systems for companies as employers. These websites allow direct quotes from employees about working conditions and supervisory behavior. How an organization treats its employees, is now quite visible.The SolutionEstablishing People Value as a corporate value requires a few simple steps.Including language that describes the importance of individual respect and dignity on all   documents that define the organization,  its core principles and practices.Provide a workshop event that reviews many of the issues mentioned here and the systems that will monitor and maintain management and organizational practices and align them with the value of people.Align all Performance Management systems with behavior and practices as defined in #1.  Align performance evaluations, promotions, bonuses, hiring, recruiting and performance metrics with People Value.Create a leadership agenda around establishing and supporting People Value in their conversations, presentations, and performance discussions. The things leaders talk about the most are the things people attend to the most.There are many organizational performance factors that can be linked to the state's of mind created by abusive and bullying manager behavior. Safety is one of the most obvious. Employees who are emotional because of unfair or disrespectful treatment are distractible and have a diminished ability to maintain  focus and vigilance - making them vulnerable to hazards and risky behavior. Employees who are angry and resentful because they have been talked to disrespectfully are much less likely to exhibit discretionary. More importantly, even average levels of performance are likely to move below historical levels. Employees who interface with customers are less likely to behave in sensitive and mature ways while handling the sale process or responding to product issues and complaints. Having a People Value system in place does not mean that you change your disciplinary practices or that you ignore poor performance. It means that when these issues are addressed they are handled in a mature, respectful manner. Politeness and consideration are important when providing negative feedback and when disciplining or severing an employee. ConclusionIn spite of the progress we have made in recognizing the importance of employees as valuable assets, there is still a culture of bullying and disrespect evident in business and industry. A recent article in USA Today,  entitled "Bullying doctors endanger patients by distracting colleagues from work," underscores the existence of dysfunctional management styles at every level in our organizations. Until our senior leaders are prepared to promote People as a Value, they will continue to reap the performance deficiencies created by the absence of that value.
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When Rewards Don't Work

When Rewards Don't Work

Everyone has read a book or an article on "how to deliver positive reinforcement." In most cases the author has provided the rules of reinforcement; a list of potential reinforcers - tangible, intangible, social, symbolic, etc. Or the KISS rule - keep it simple stupid - for delivery.

Many of the rules suggest things to say and when to say them. Using one of the many formulas for selecting what to say, or which tangible to use (cup, t-shirt, plaque), includes an element of risk - the risk that for that person, that form of verbal or non-verbal reinforcement is not effective.

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Fatal Flaws #2: Employee Participation

Fatal Flaws #2: Employee Participation
Currently, there are 3 areas where even the most sophisticated organizations are failing to perform. By failure I mean performance improvement opportunities are being ignored because of these 3 flaws.

1. Behavioral Technology

2. Employee Participation

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Fatal Flaws That Cost Organizations Billions in Lost Profit

Fatal Flaws That Cost Organizations Billions in Lost Profit

Currently, there are 3 areas where even the most sophisticated organizations are failing to perform.  By failure I mean performance improvement opportunities are being ignored because of these 3 flaws.

1. Behavioral Technology

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How Safety Professionals Can Increase Organizational Profitability: A Conversation

How Safety Professionals Can Increase Organizational Profitability: A Conversation

I recently had a conversation with a Safety Professional from a Fortune 100 company. I repeat it here so that you can draw your own conclusions.Jim, before you implemented behavior based safety did you have a well designed safety management system?Jim said, "Oh yeah, we thought it was world class."Then why did you implement BBS?

"Many reasons; we had more recordable injuries than we thought we should and we knew that a high percentage of them were caused by behavior - employee behavior, supervisory behavior, and leadership behavior."So it wasn't because you had a weak system?"Oh no, the system was good; people were not following the system, the procedures, the rules - they weren't doing what they were trained to do." So the issue was not the system; it was behavioral?

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Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention

Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention

The first is that organizations with BBS processes are continuing to see serious injuries and fatal incidents occur. And second, that much of the world is experiencing this epidemic, but at a much higher frequency than the United States and Europe. There is an important safety issue facing organizations seeking world class employee safety.

The last 30 years have seen steady improvement in job safety for the average American worker. Increased leadership commitment has advanced  job safety from a situational priority to a corporate value. Organizations have discovered that safety is good business.

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