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Senior Executives Establish the Value of Employee Safety

You may doubt the following observation only if you have not, as I have, been in almost every possible business and industry in hundreds of organizations all over the world. My observation is as predictable as the accuracy of a Swiss watch. A safety management system’s injury-prevention performance is directly related to the value (or absence of value) senior management place on safety. An important question addressed here is how should senior management demonstrate their support for safety as a value?

Senior management perceives usually perceives they are demonstrating involvement and support for safety when they are “looking at the organization’s data.” Unfortunately, as impressive as data analysis and presentation technology has become, providing senior managers with a method for reviewing safety data in a few seconds undermines the creation of safety as an organizational value and promotes the misperception that management supports employee safety. 

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The Best Way to Encourage People’s Performance

In the early seventies, I worked as a performance improvement consultant in many manufacturing facilities across America. One thing I heard repeatedly from frontline employees was stories about company founders that visited the plant every day. The founder would stop and talk with everyone. Employees would say, “He knew the names of everyone who worked here. He knew the names of employees’ wives and children. He knew the histories of their lives.”

Employees talked about this person fondly; his behavior encouraged them to do their best – not because of production goals or financial encouragements, but because they were performing in the context of friendship and mutual respect. Talking and listening to employees communicates and encourages a bond; the bond is one surrounding the accomplishment of performance objectives important to the success of the company.

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Human Behavior is the Bottom Line in Organizational Change: Part 1

I have always been baffled by the word “deep” when applied to a person. I think it is used to describe someone who says cryptic and abstract things about themselves; they use words and phrases that sound authentic but they are constructed to have an effect. “Deep” people are attempting to differentiate themselves from the herd; they want to sound exotic and mystical. They want the words they use to have multiple meanings that are difficult to pin down precisely.

The phenomenon that drives the confusion around understanding ourselves and others—the mysticism that surrounds romantic descriptions of personalities—is related to the language we use to discuss and describe what ourselves and others do. Complex words are really meant to summarize the observation of multiple human behaviors that are all similar and collectively can describe those similar behaviors. For example, 10 similar behaviors describe a supervisor’s statement, “Jim is unenthusiastic about his work.”

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Behavior-Based Safety Teams: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I pointed out the value of creating Behavior Based Safety teams to eliminate employee disinterest, demotivation, and disengagement in a Behavior Based Safety (BBS) process. A traditional BBS process creates functional silos—senior leaders, supervisors, support staff, steering committees, and observers all have specific tasks within the process. Restricting training and experience to specific groups eliminates the benefits of interdisciplinary, cross-functional development. Cross-training has for many years proven to increase the performance capital of employees. Employees who are not participants in any of these functional silos can feel excluded and disengaged.

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