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Re-energizing Your Behavior-Based Safety Process

Creating a successful Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) process is a challenge, and companies around the world are addressing that challenge as you read these lines. Barriers to success include:

  • Leadership’s failure to “behave” supportively – that is they do not say and do things that convince employees that safety is value #1 – and their priorities and decisions do not support the BBS process and the removal of systems barriers to safe behavior.
  • Trying to implement “off-the-shelf, packaged” BBS processes that are not adapted to the culture of the site’s country, business, work group, and specific job functions.
  • An inability to transfer ownership of the BBS process to middle management, frontline supervision, and frontline employees or create a partnered process with Leaders.
  • Dysfunctional observation processes – the result of poorly trained observers, checklists that are too generalized and not specific to the individual and work groups, and unsafe conditions and systems that are not identified and translated into action plans that are immediately addressed and resolved.
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Incentive Programs: Manipulative Quick-Fixes That Destroy Employee Engagement

Oddly, in this “unmotivated” world, it’s difficult to find anyone who really is unmotivated. Whenever I ask someone if they are motivated, they say yes. Yet, everyone believes there are a vast number of unmotivated people out there, even though no one admits to being one of them.

This view is reflected by the fact that when a company is having a bad sales year, the management team instantly starts shopping for motivational programs for their salespeople. If production is down or product quality is poor, the first step on the problem-solving agenda is to blame lackluster performance on unmotivated employees.

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The Most Powerful Tool for Positive Influence: Attention

What is the most effective tool that you have to influence the behavior of others – whether you use it purposefully or by accident? The answer is so simple that most people can’t believe it. It is your attention – eye contact, grunting, nodding, giggling – any response you make to another person’s behavior affects that behavior.
Anything and everything someone in your presence says or does is being influenced by your reaction, your eye contact – even your obvious attempts to act disinterested are an acknowledgment that has an effect on the behavior they are engaged in.

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Positively Reinforce a Behavior: Recognize Accomplishments and Results

There are some critical misunderstandings that cause a great deal of confusion when discussing different ways of acknowledging employee performance. The first is the reciprocal use of the term “positive reinforcement” and the word “recognition.” Positive reinforcement describes the outcome of an interaction between manager and employee that occurs while the employee is doing or saying something (behaving) of value. It describes a real time relationship between something an employee is saying or doing and an immediate positive experience or effect created by a management verbal behavior.

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