Positive Influence:

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

Applications of Behavioral Technology - Before BBS: Part 1

Applications of Behavioral Technology - Before BBS: Part 1

Behavior-based safety (BBS) processes, borrow heavily from the science of behavior analysis, using behavioral tools to decrease at-risk behavior and increase the frequency of safe behavior. Many behavioral tools, included in but also in addition to those used in BBS, enable organizations to influence the behaviors that drive overall business success. In fact, the tools of behavioral technology have been applied in a wide variety of business and industrial settings, consistently improving human performance by at least 20 to 30 percent.

It is time for organizations to fully utilize the behavioral technology that is the foundation of their behavior-based safety processes. Organizations could and should maximize the investment made in BBS by expanding, adapting and applying behavioral technology and employee observational skills to the company’s strategic operational outcomes – productivity, quality, Six Sigma, Lean Principles, Wellness, and so forth.

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Reviving a Struggling Behavior-Based Safety Process: Use Observational Capability to Improve Quality and Productivity

Reviving a Struggling Behavior-Based Safety Process: Use Observational Capability to Improve Quality and Productivity

Sooner or later you hit the wall; your process becomes routine…your observers are going through the motions…they may be pencil whipping out of boredom. Employees have lost interest; it is getting harder and harder to keep the steering committee interested in meeting.

Anyone who is involved in Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) for any length of time is going to go through this down cycle and hear other companies voice these same complaints. The answer is too simple to get much attention: Apply trained observer skills in other areas of organizational performance.

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Using BBS Observation Skills for Emergency Preparedness

Using BBS Observation Skills for Emergency Preparedness

If you are implementing behavior-based safety correctly, you have taught your observers what a behavior “is,” or “is not” – meaning they know a behavior from a non-behavior. A behavior can be observed; a non-behavior, like “thoughtfulness,” (the word implies a state of mind, not directly observable behavior) cannot be directly observed.We can only observe behaviors (something someone says or does); we use the word “thoughtful” when we later summarize all the specific behaviors for someone else.

So when I say Bob is really “thoughtful,” I am usually summarizing my individual behavioral observations, perhaps over time and in different circumstances, rather than say, “I saw Bob open the door for a female coworker, send his wife flowers on their anniversary, phone a sick coworker, help a kitten out of a tree, and visit his neighbor in the hospital.”

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Put Some Energy Back into Your BBS Process through Employee Initiated – “Lean” Observations

Put Some Energy Back into Your BBS Process through Employee Initiated – “Lean” Observations

I’m not advocating that you discard the 30 minute observational audits you have come to know and love. Of course you need a thorough assessment of the work setting to encourage a thorough assessment of risk, but everyone knows that after a few years – even months – these things get pretty routine and uninspiring.

I’m continuing to advocate putting some sizzle back into your behavior-based safety process by encouraging employees to carry observation cards in their back pocket and to perform spontaneous, brief observations of their peers – when their peers ask for the observation.

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Overcoming Objections to Behavior-Based Safety: Let Employees Initiate the Observation

Overcoming Objections to Behavior-Based Safety: Let Employees Initiate the Observation

When I wrote my last blog about this, I expected a rush of responses about how this idea would transform the ethos surrounding BBS – that the idea would create insights and epiphanies. I expected corporate safety managers and BBS facilitators to gush about the empowering possibilities it released.

Maybe I did not make myself clear: Employees initiate safety observations with their peers; the idea of protecting your coworkers is taken to a new level.You hand your personal safety card to a coworker, supervisor, or BBS observer and say, “Hey…check me out.”

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Behavior-Based Safety Evolution: Employee Controlled Observations

Behavior-Based Safety Evolution: Employee Controlled Observations

Thousands of companies around the world are performing employee observations – the same way. You design an observations system, you create an observations checklist then you perform an observation and record the data.

One big problem is that many people don’t like being the object of an observation or the company culture does not favor people watching each other and giving feedback – even if it is positive.

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