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SCnSP – Action Speaks Louder Than Words

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Apr 2013

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies. One of the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance is the role of leadership.

     

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

Picture: Toolbox

     

I always say to people:

There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION
and nothing which is more powerful
than prompt, pro-active ACTION.

I then follow this up with:

Talking about the smart tools you have in your toolbox
is not the same as getting the job done.

We are masters at being re-active, especially when we have problems or if the old system / plan is not delivering results. We are good at:

  • Setting up too many initiatives and thrusts and over complicating things.
  • Talking and making new plans or setting up new systems.
  • Writing new policies and procedures.
  • Putting things on papers or posters (just a piece of paper).

Many years back, I had a mentor Jan Lys, who was a real “Staatmaker” (a person you can depend on). He taught me the following piece of wisdom:

Be the master of your deeds,
not the slave of your words.

Many of us are poor at:

  • Taking ACTION, pro-active ACTION – doing and implementing and measuring progress / results.
  • Breaking plans down into small doable stepping stones with milestones.
  • Communicating and engaging people and giving feedback.
  • Completing / finishing – “It’s done when you’re finished; it’s complete when it doesn’t come back to bite you for 5 years” Thomas Leonard
  • Perseverance, sticking to the basics and improving on the results.
  • Making our change efforts lead to real, sustainable transformation.

ACTION

In line with what I am preaching, here is something for you to do, but only if you are serious about taking ACTION.

Design a survey, best in the form of a ballot paper, to ask all your people what they think about the ACTION you are taking in safety.

It is most important that you ask those people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’, as they see the ACTION taken where it counts, namely where the rubber hits the road. Ask them to be brutally honest with you. Keep it simple and only identify whether the feedback is from a ‘player’ or a ‘coach’ and from which area or function.

When you are done, follow the 3 F approach – Feedback, Fast, and Fair. Tell your people what the results of the ballot are and, most importantly, what you are going to do about it = ACTION you are going to take!

SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

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SoSSB 10P 10 Pro-active Action

♦ SERIES ♦♦   SAFETY ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET   ♦♦ SERIES ♦

PRO-ACTIVE  ACTION

Safety Tip #10 in the series

  ◊  PREVENTION   ◊  PURPOSE
  ◊  PREPARATION   ◊  PEOPLE
  ◊  PROBLEMS   ◊  PAT-ON-BACK
  ◊  PLAN  ◊  PROGRESS
 ◊  PEN-TO-PAPER  ♦  PRO-ACTIVE

The purpose of this series is to give struggling-but-eager SHE professionals and practitioners, who are working for financially-constrained companies, pointers on how to get the safety awareness message across to both management and workers, on a shoestring budget.

“There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION,
and nothing which is more powerful than prompt, PRO-ACTIVE ACTION.”
Jurgen Tietz
Bias towards ACTION is what counts …
Bias for Action by Jurgen Tietz Safety Speaker
RE-ACTIVE vs PRO-ACTIVE

PRO-ACTIVE:
  “Acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”
   Synonyms: farseeing, forward-looking
   Antonyms: half-baked, shortsighted
   (Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary)

RE-ACTIVE:
  Corrective action is taken following incidents and investigations.
  Often  wait-&-see-&-hope-for-the-best  instead of  take-charge-&-own-SAFETY.

One of the problems is that safety professionals are swamped with admin and paper work. Reports, statistics, emails and then, of course, one of the number one time wasters: meetings.

ACTION:

Analyse your activities.
  How many fall into the re-active category?
  Most people do 95% plus in response to things, audit findings, requests, etc.

Analyse the decisions taken in your safety meetings.
  Which are re-active vs. pro-active?
  How many of those are actually closed out and completed?

Remember:
  Near Miss = Near Hit

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Will Rogers
This wiki has more on the basics of “Being Pro-Active”: http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Proactive.
If you would like more detail on “Using Leading Performance Indicators”,
or would like a copy of my story on Being A Mainstay, request it here.
Want to comment on this SIMPLY SMART SAFETY™ Tip or share your insights with me?
You are more than welcome to do so here.
© Copyright:Jürgen Tietz

Life EduAction – Out of Africa

Our future – especially in Africa – is all about education.

But without the action it leads us nowhere!

This book teaches the life skills and techniques for doing both

EDUCATION and ACTION

… motivating people to become active

Dear visitor,

This 3rd edition has seen the book change its name from “Anecdotes on Life Skills – Out of Africa” to a new title which, in my opinion, far better reflects what the book is about and my hopes for what readers will gain from it. A few extra chapters have been added, and I have brought the reader up to date with what has happened in my career since I first wrote it. It is my sincere wish that each reader will put this book to full use, since I believe that   “The only reason we have anything is to share it. Anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given.”

Jürgen

An ACTION Testimonial ... SENMIN gave each site manager a copy of Jurgen Tietz' book on Peopology

Photo: SENMIN gave each of their site managers a copy of Life EduAction

“I should let you know that I enjoy opening any page and reading a section, which brings up a kind of message for the day.” 
Tumi Tsehlo

“… very excellent book! … I could not put it down.” 
Pieter Botha

“… with the bit I have managed to see in your book, I feel I need to spend more time with it, and I think it will be one of my best investments to make for myself.” 
Metse Mphelo

“Thank you very much for the gift of your book, apologies for this late response. It is due to my bad habit of complete task orientation. From the short perusal of your book this morning it will assist me in finally beating this bad habit of mine. I really appreciate the gift and all the excellent work that you have done at our operations. As you probably know, I deal with hundreds of consultants and there is but a handful that understand / ascribe to the principle of good faith. It is a privilege to know somebody like you with whom one can interact and do business in good faith and trust.”
Joe Schoeman

“If you really want perspective on how to deal with day to day issues and also want to enhance your self esteem & broaden your horizon I recommend you buy yourself this book. I won it in a competition and am halfway through it. The problem is that it is so “d**n” interesting that you can’t put it down. The references are also something you will not find easily.”
Theo Fourie

“I have finished reading your book. Cover to cover. I am not a great fan of these types of books … your book, on the other hand, I tremendously enjoyed and read effortlessly. I loved the invitation to use a pen and a highlighter and really liked the way you structured the book – like reading a short story compilation. Your humour adds flavour and life. The summaries at the end of each chapter help to put a frame around what you are saying and I took the liberty of adding my own notes and references. Every time I thought you were going soft on us, the educator shines through “tough as nails”, compassionate but strict. I felt like I was spending time with you. Thank you.”
Petra Bierberg

” … I am enjoying your book “Life EduAction” immensely and often refer to it for guidance in tough situations.”
Chris Oosthuizen

“Excellent book that I will treasure for years to come!”
Trevor McAdam

“A love for people and simple lessons from industry and life. A vast field with an astonishing variety of stories. What shines through is the author’s personality and credibility.”
Rod Prior

“The author’s passion for people is obvious. The lessons are profound and he teaches them through interesting stories and in simple language. The skill and discernment that earned him the reward for the ‘Most Practical Ideas’ at an international conference has not eluded him in this honest book.”
Boet Coetzee

“The stories have a “Oom Schalk Lourens vertel” flavour. I found ‘Fight for Your Bones’ to be a deep and very mature piece of work; far more serious than oom Schalk would have been able to ‘vertel’. Throughout the work your honesty and integrity shines through.”
Dr Graham Edwards

“Busy reading your book and enjoying the simplicity of it but what I have come to learn in my short 14 years in the SHE field – it is the simplistic things that are hard to implement …”
Letisha v d Berg

The book makes for a perfect corporate gift or award. Also available to be customised with a foreword of your company’s choice and/or your company logo, subject to quantity ordered.

Enquiries for hard copies or eBook orders can be made here.

Safety in Action

I’ve said it before, and I’m going to keep saying it: I love it when I see safety in ACTION. To me the key to ACTION is *doing*, not talking-about-doing. Too many companies (i.e. people, because companies are made up of people doing things) take ages to make decisions and get into gear.

I recently had an experience with ESKOM Gauteng Operating Unit which set a new record for me. (Northam is now a close second). I got a call at 10h00 one morning to do a safety talk to new employees the next day. So, within 24 hours, I prepared and customised my talk for this particular audience and was on stage knocking-the-socks-off the new ESKOMITES.

I could not have done this without the most efficient and prompt help of some people from the Gauteng Operating unit. Just goes to show again, if you are SERIOUS about Safety, you do take ACTION !!!

 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

Jürgen

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PRO-ACTIVE ACTION in Safety:

What it means and How to get there

I believe

“There is nothing which moves people more than ACTION,
and nothing which is more powerful than PRO-ACTIVE action!”

Read the rest of my latest SAFETY TIP …

3 people like this post.

Change -> Action -> Progress

 

Because of the reality of CHANGE,

we are faced with the necessity for ACTION

action that requires PROGRESS to be made.

That’s the subject of my latest Safety Tips for “Safety on a Shoestring Budget” (posted here).

Jürgen

2 people like this post.

SCnSP – Without A Safety Clue

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 2018
     

Without a Safety Clue

(Urgent vs Important)

Habits and planning

     

A sailboat without a sail might float. For a long time, in fact.
But without a sail, it can’t go anywhere, can’t fulfill its function.
Floating is insufficient. [1]

This brilliant little statement clearly defines the difference between success and failure in any endeavour, but especially in SAFETY. Good safety is not merely compliance, which is the bare minimum (floating). Good safety requires making time for the IMPORTANT stuff (setting your sails), i.e. making time for ACTIONS which will make a difference, which will grow the team, which are PRO-ACTIVE. Successful teams have developed the HABIT of doing this really well. Efficient teams know how to deal with the urgent stuff, quickly and effectively, so as to make time for constantly moving safety to a new level – to a DISRUPTIVE SAFETY™ level. By the way, educating and empowering your H&S Reps is part of “setting the sails”.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

  • Ask a simple question: “Is this urgent or is it important?”
    Don’t fall into the trap of labelling everything as urgent and important!
  • The acid test is another simple question: “So what?” … So what if this doesn’t get done today, now, or not at all?
    If you don’t have a convincing answer to this question, it might be urgent, but definitely not important.
  • Finally, ask: “Is this a new problem or is it an old problem?”
    Old problems tend to appear to be urgent simply because they have never been dealt with in an easy way!
    Be ruthless with old problems – kill them once and for all.

Our handbook, The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide, deals with this important habit in a number of topics.

[1]   Godin, Seth. “Without a Sail”, May 2017. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/05/without-a-sail.html

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SCnSP – I wanna lend a hand, send me

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

“I wanna lend a hand: send me”

(Matemela’s Call)

I wanna lend a hand send me

     

I have yet to find a company which doesn’t put “Safety First” or something similar, like “Zero Harm / Injuries”, as one of its core values. They all do – nobody disputes that safety is central to running their business. However, when it comes to putting these slogans into practice, it’s a different story.

Imagine you are an H&S Rep who volunteered or was appointed, without compensation, to represent the workers in terms of safety. Amongst others, your functions are to inspect the workplace, identify potential hazards, investigate complaints and link up with management. You’re really keen and you “wanna lend a hand” to improve safety in your work area, but all you can do is inspect the work place, report the safety issues and attend safety meetings. Other than that, most of the time, you have to go back to your co-workers empty-handed, armed with just the excuse of: “We don’t have the time and /or the money” … to fix this or improve that, implement that suggestion, do more training, or a litany of other issues which co-workers may have raised.

What does that say to your H&S Reps and their co-workers?

In leadership, honesty and complete integrity are absolutely critical, because people only follow someone they trust and respect. To earn trust and respect you have to show honesty and integrity. People know and see the truth. They can handle the truth, even if it isn’t good news.

Employees look at the time and money you spend on safety to judge how serious you are. Don’t say “Safety First” and then in the next breath “We are freezing our safety expenses”. Admit it. Companies always find the time and the money for what is truly “first” or important to them.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Heed the call of your H&S Reps, which our new president, Matemela Cyril Ramaphosa, has so aptly verbalised in Parliament: “I wanna lend a hand, send me“.

Give them the “balls and tools” they need to make “Safety First” a reality. Get them educated and empowered with our in-house workshops.

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The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

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SCnSP – Bums on Seats

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Bums on Seats

getting bums on seats at the right safety training does affect the bottom line positively

The Bottom Line

     

I’ve been thinking lately about the eternal question of the ROI (Return On Investment) for safety and safety projects in particular. My conclusion is that there is no direct ROI for safety. What one can expect is a reduction in incidents, resulting in a lowering of costs in terms of losses (medical and damages). Most industries and organisations use the rear-view-mirror approach to determine the ROI for safety projects using injuries, lives lost (fatalities) and, often, loss of reputation (safety record) as criteria.

However, the bottom line impact is not any of the above, but culture. Safety is part of the overall culture of an industry or organisation. Safety is not a stand-alone entity. Safety means doing things in a safe manner, doing it right, first time and every time, avoiding injury, loss and waste. Safety means engagement, it means ownership of the process, rules, operation and controls, amongst others. You cannot get safety right without rubbing off on other aspects of culture, like behaviours, teamwork, problem-solving, a bias towards action, productivity, quality and so on. That is why the real ROI for safety is its impact on the bottom line.

There are many ways in which the culture in an organisation is established. Leadership visibility, by living out the vision and values, especially in terms of safety, is one of the most important. Another one is education and training and, therefore, empowerment. It is imperative to get bums on seats, especially with safety training and, again, here leadership support is imperative.

At Disruptive Safety, we focus on the frontline to influence the culture, by educating and empowering H&S Reps in terms of safety.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Dr Cathy Key, for inspiring this safety tip by her use of the line “Getting Bums on Seats, the Bottom Line”.
[www.confmanager.com]

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide  –  what it is and why you need it

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

Search the S.H.E. ATM  –  for safety and wellness answers, tools and methods

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SCnSP – Rework Your Safety Approach

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 2018
     

Re‘-Work Your Safety Approach

Including your H&S Rep Training

Empowered Safety Rep

     

Let’s re-examine the real reason why safety is important.

We want our employees to return home to reunite with their families, every day. We want our assets and plants to remain in a safe and productive state. We want to re-use our resources and be relentless in reducing waste and effluent. Our operations need to be refined to reach the goal of reliably producing environment-friendly products.

Often, one of the causes of problems with safety is that we repeat old mistakes, over and over and over again. We need to recollect and learn from the past. One of the ways to do this is by conducting managerial reviews as part of our management system and standards.

The ‘RE‘ words

These are really important for safety because they’re action words and safety is not a once-off exercise.

RETURN  to the basics of safety.
REDISCOVER  the power of people – driven by a safety vision.
REQUEST  involvement and participation by all in safety.
REVIEW  your safety approach – reactive or proactive?
RECONSIDER  your safety recipe – approach.
RENEW  your safety systems and approach.
REFRESH  your approach – no papers, posters and pamphlets.
REINVENT  how you engage your people in safety.
REFLECT  on your attitude towards safety.
RECOGNISE  safe  behaviour and results.
REINFORCE  safe behaviour.
REWARD  Disruptive Safety[1] – better, faster, cheaper, safer.
RECHARGE  your safety efforts – our safety batteries are limited.
RETHINK  the repercussions of taking chances.
RECALL  incidents and remind employees of the consequences.
REVISE and REWRITE  your procedures to include safety.
RE-EXAMINE  what is preventing safety success.
REMOVE  causes of / reasons for unsafe behaviour.
RECTIFY  unsafe conditions promptly.
REPAIR  broken or damaged equipment or assets.
RESTORE  safety equipment and devices.
REPRIMAND  reckless behaviour.

Note

The word REACT is not in the above list because that is the most important behaviour / action to avoid in safety. A reactive approach focuses on compliance and corrective action only, rather than on prevention and doing the right things.
Also note that the words REVIEW, RECONSIDER, RENEW and REFRESH are all key to Disruptive Safety™ and that is why we have created The Safety Rep’s Survival Guide and are running in-house workshops.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Ask yourself and your team:

Are you giving your internal customers (company employees) what they need or ordered, or are you merely flogging them stuff you think they should have or do, i.e. things they didn’t ask for, don’t understand or accept, can’t use and don’t value?

Don’t brush this off. This is a critical question if you want to get buy-in from the people you serve. It’s easy to assume that co-workers / employees don’t know what’s required in order to keep them safe. How do you know what it is that they do or don’t know if you haven’t asked them?

Listen and respect the input from those who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’. Accept their recommendations and legalise their actions = make them safe. This is where your H&S Reps play a critical role, provided they have been properly educated and empowered.

[1]   Disruptive Safety™ promotes a futuristic approach to safety which shifts the safety paradigm from ‘Preventing wrong’ to ‘Ensuring right’. Read more

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Nigel Risner, my international professional speaking colleague, who granted me permission to adapt the ‘RE’ concept for purposes of this safety tip.
[www.nigelrisner.com]

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

Let me help your staff reflect upon, recommit to and be responsible for championing your safety culture.

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