Search Results for: Leader

SCnSP – Leadership Responsibility (Rot at Top)

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Feb 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.

     

The Rot Starts At The Top

Leadership responsibility in safety

Picture: conductor of orchestra

     

Leaders have to be like the conductor of an orchestra. They select the music, dictate the tune and tempo, and ensure that all employees practice the safety habits so that together they can deliver a masterpiece.

There are, of course, other aspects as well, like setting expectations, holding each player accountable, giving feedback and recognition, etc. Nonetheless, the leaders have to invest their most precious resource to do all of this, namely their TIME. They have to be VIP’s – Visible, Involved and Pro-active – to show their employees that they are serious about safety. This is a tough call because there are so many other issues demanding the leader’s time – costs, quality, productivity, customer service …

The leader is accountable for the safety strategy, for looking ahead to what will be done tomorrow (rather than what is being done today or, even worse, what has been done yesterday!), for thinking, visualising the goal and for formulating the plan of how to get there.

There are 3 key habits which the leaders have to practice in this regard:

  1. Leaders have to formulate and communicate the safety vision and strategy. This is critical. For employees to follow, they need to know where the leader is heading and how he/she plans to get there.
  2. Leaders have to ensure that a culture of taking ACTION, in terms of safety, exists in the organization. Nothing kills the commitment and engagement in safety as quickly as a lack of ACTION. When employees see that nothing is being done about safety incidents or observations, then safety will not be a priority for them either. Taking (safety) ACTION goes way beyond pasting the SHE Policy on the walls!
  3. Leaders have to review the safety strategy. If the desired / anticipated results are not being achieved, then doing more of the same is not going to help. The leader has to look for different ways of doing things and the review should be ongoing, not only once every two years.

ACTION

Here is my challenge to you.

Use the download from my web site dealing with “Vision & Strategy” to examine what you have in place in your organization in terms of your safety strategy. Use the technique in that write-up as a checklist to formulate or review your safety vision and strategy.

It is important that leaders understand that changing the SHE culture is a transformation process and not an event. It takes years to implement such a culture change on a sustainable basis. Most companies run these short-term campaigns like ZERO ACCIDENTS, SAFETY FIRST, NO INJURIES, etc., but do not have a strategy and long-term plan in place.

The first step in formulating a safety strategy is to do the diagnostics. Look at the links below for excellent examples of what I am talking about – plus an outstanding communication effort by the NPC (National Planning Commission):

BTW. As active, adult citizens you should take an interest in what the NPC is doing to shape the future of this country!

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SCnSP Safety As A Value – Leaders’ Roles and Responsibilities

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
May 2012

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety is an Issue for Most Companies, or, putting it differently, Things we Must Address if we Want to Improve our Safety Performance. This month we look at the role of the leader vs that of the individual, with a focus on the leader’s responsibilities.

     

Safety As A Value:

Leaders’ Roles and Responsibilities

     

It is a myth that leaders have to motivate their employees to work safely. No one can motivate someone else, because motivation is an inside job. At best leaders can inspire their followers to take safety seriously, not only at work or at home, but all the time and everywhere.

So how does a leader inspire?

By creating an environment which enables and empowers people to work safely. By providing the resources for safety – things like making time for and spending money on safety, as well as suitable safety systems and equipment.

The leaders have to become VIP’sVisible Involved Pro-active. They have to look to see, both the dangers and the opportunities. They have to listen to hear what those people ‘who push the buttons and use the tools’ are trying to tell them. The leader has to be a safety role model. People have to see that the leader takes safety seriously. The leadership behaviour in terms of safety sets the tone for the safety culture in an organization.

I have coined a new word, Peopology, to describe the art and science of moving PEOPLE into taking ACTION. Peopology is an art because it deals with the human side of life skills, often involving the so-called soft skills and emotional aspects of moving people into taking ACTION. Peopology is also a science because it is about the tools and techniques, systems and procedures, etc. which help move people into doing things – into taking ACTION

Picture: Jurgen Tietz's P-E-O-P-L-E Philosophy Model

Taking ACTION, in the peopology sense, does not mean an endless round of activities (meetings and so many other often fruitless corporate activities) that don’t produce results. PEOPOLOGY is about ACTION that gets RESULTS. Period!
(More detailed information about the model is available in my full article on Safety Culture.)

The leader has to influence his or her followers to become active (safety) employees, because safety is not only a work issue. In fact, many more people are killed outside the workplace, especially on the roads. All have to become involved in safety and take an active part in making safety happen, rather than sitting on the side-lines and letting safety ‘happen to us’. Leaders have to convince their followers that they should not assume or expect that the company, government or someone else will do something to ensure their safety.

Therefore, although leaders have a key role to play, it is up to each individual to become an ACTIVE SAFETY EMPLOYEE.

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The Leader Sets The Tone – The Gyproc Lesson

Having talked at GYPROC for the third time, and taken photos in their plant, I can see the impact which a leader has on safety. 

Greg White is serious about safety!

He leads by example: 

His personal work space (office) is spotless, and this carries over into the plant.

 

The storage and stacking, good housekeeping, and cleanliness are World Class.

Everything is in its place, with a place for everything. 

He is committed to safety, and he drives safety.  

There are numerous and excellent safety systems and features throughout the plant. 

 

Safety is truly number one, and you can see that these are not merely empty words … which makes my task of holding up the mirror to the “bad” and “ugly” things so much tougher! 

Jürgen

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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.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

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

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

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 – Obsolete Safety – Part 2

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2017
     

Obsolete Safety (2)

the right people
+
the right questions
=
useful answers

communication

     

Ask better questions.
Ask the right people.
Don’t make assumptions.

These are some of the points I made in Obsolete Safety (part 1).
So here are some questions for you and your leaders.

QUESTIONS re SAFETY (the overall culture):

  • Who owns safety?
  • Who drew up the safety strategy / policy / budget and lifesaving rules ? Now: Ask the first question again.
  • What happens when your employees walk through the gate (both when coming to work and going home)?
  • How are you measuring safety, via the rear view mirror (looking at the past) or the windscreen (looking to the future)?
  • What keeps you awake at night, in terms of safety?

QUESTIONS re H&S REP’S specifically:

  • How happy are you with the contribution / engagement of your H&S Reps?
  • How proactive are your H&S Reps?
  • How happy are you with the people volunteering as H&S Reps?
  • Can your H&S Reps solve basic safety problems at the coalface?
  • How happy are you with the two-way communication in safety?

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

It’s easy to dismiss this with a “Been there, done that.”
However, I urge you to do it again and this time, ask the right people.

Run a few fully facilitated focus groups. Mixed groups consisting of EXCO members, managers, supervisors and H&S Reps work best, but your existing culture will determine whether or not you can do that. Take care to not fall into the trap of ‘analysis paralysis’, though. Talking to even a small number of people will quickly give you the answers.

Give serious consideration to the Disruptive Safety approach [1] to transform your workplace safety.

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

ESSENTIAL LINKS

Icon: Jurgen-Antzi with a mike

Disruptive Safety™ and 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 – The Weak Signal

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2017
     

The Weak Signal

signals

     

We’re surrounded by signals all the time, from radio, TV, mobiles and, nowadays, wi-fi. It’s getting to the point where there’s so much noise that we only hear the louder, specifically-targeted messages. The weaker signals just get lost, unless we move to a better spot so as to hear more clearly.

This analogy applies to many relationships, whether it is in the family through parenting, or in organisations through leadership, or in politics (Gupta). When there is power, or a hierarchy, at play, the situation often becomes one-sided. The one who is in power talks and expects the others to listen – a case of “Do as I tell you.”

In an organisation, the leadership has the strongest signal. They have direct access to wi-fi and call centres, while the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ can only use the much weaker signals. The wi-fi is made up of policies, procedures, papers and all sorts of instructions. It’s all top down, one-way communication and often complicated by conflicting and inconsistent signals such as “Safety First and Zero Harm, but meet the Production, Costs, Quality and other Targets first”.

The Suggestion box, BBS observations, H&S Rep reports and other tools and techniques used to connect with the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’, are the equivalent of the call centre. You hear clearly: “Your call is important to us, and will be attended to shortly … For quality purposes the call will be recorded … We are currently experiencing high call volumes … Please hold … ”. In the end, the call is logged but seldom leads to ACTION.

The weak signals are always there, if we care to listen carefully. Everytime there’s an enquiry or investigation into a serious incident or injury, we hear these weak signals clearly. They often start with “We” followed by “told; observed; reported; requested; asked; complained; warned you” and similar action words. Often the organisation’s culture weakens the signals further by virtue of the fear of speaking up or taking a stand, all kinds of threats, blaming and shaming, a lack of action and priority or being taken seriously.
These weak signals require little effort to pick up on at the time but, if lost in the noise, can lead to serious consequences.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take a careful look at the different signals inside the organisation. The Critical Success Factors for a better reception are:

  • Create a climate which rewards weak signals, even if they turn out to be false signals.
  • Make it personal with a name / photo.
  • Provide prompt, direct feedback.
  • Show that the weak signals are being taken seriously and are making a difference.
  • Give the people who ‘push the buttons and use the tools’ a REAL VOICE – a voice which will be heard and taken seriously – a direct line to the CEO’s or MD’s. The climate will change dramatically. All employees, without exception, own a mobile device, often even a smart phone and are using free apps like WhatsApp. So what’s stopping YOU?

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 – Running Like Hell and Panting Like Crazy

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Nov 2016
     

Running like hell, panting like crazy

What it takes to be a “top dog” …
… doing instead of talking

Picture: panting like crazy

     

Do you feel like you’re running like hell and panting like crazy … and getting nowhere? Then this one is for you, whether you are a CEO or a frontline manager. At each level, you are a leader in your own right. In fact, at home, in your family and in your community you are a leader, without appointment or position – merely by your actions.

There are thousands of books, written on leadership.
My take on leadership is simple and practical.

Leadership is what you believe, what you see, what you hear, what you read and learn, but, most of all, what you do:

  • the movement you create by the action you take (because words rarely change things);
  • the trust you create – envision, change, simplify, know and innovate;
  • the integrity you show – listen, respect, recognise, care and relate;
  • the way you deal with accountability – fix, coach, build, help, empower and expect results.

Leaders don’t wait for instructions – they provide direction.

If you are spending your time in meetings, instructing, prescribing, following up, chasing, checking, reviewing, supervising and, in general, trying to control what other people are or should be doing, then you are not leading, but managing [1]. You are most probably running like hell and panting like crazy.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Do work that matters.
Care about how what you do impacts on others.
Protect and grow your people, balance priorities with resources, empower your people, make them think and then get out of their way.

Stand back, take a helicopter view, educate and empower and move your people from dependence to interdependence.
Why? There’ll be less running and panting and definitely more positive results.

[1]    You manage/handle horses, not people! Manage comes from manege ‹ Italian maneggiare to handle, train (horses), derivative of mano ‹ Latin manus hand. Present use, to be in charge of, run, be head of, head, direct, control, preside over, lead, govern, rule, command, superintend, supervise, oversee, administer, organise, conduct, handle, take forward, guide, be at the helm of.

RELATED LINKS

Purpose” from the series “Safety on a Shoestring Budget

Safety as a Value – Leaders’ Roles and Responsibilities

Safety, for Safety’s Sake

Gupta Lessons

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

The Politics of Safety

Discipline and Passion

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D1STEM – The New Normal

♦ SERIES ♦    DO ONE SAFETY THING EACH MONTH    ♦ SERIES ♦
Aug 2016

THE NEW NORMAL:

For worse … or for better?

Picture: Quote: Steven Covey: Leave the world a better place

The senseless killing we have seen over the last couple of years seems to be getting worse and worse. Now anyone (even teenagers) with one or other ideology or grievance and a gun, knife or explosives seems to think it’s okay to follow these “acts of terror” examples that are being set by groups and lone wolves. I can’t predict the future, but I fear it’s going to get much, much worse before we see an end to it. I don’t think there’s an instant solution. Even world leaders are at a loss as to what to do.

As unfortunate and worrying as this situation is, it needs to be put into perspective. The reality is that, in spite of the horror, these attacks remain isolated and involve the killing of a few people, not unlike lightning strikes. Without in any way downplaying or ignoring the pain suffered by the families and friends of those affected, I have to say that the way the media report on these events, you’d think we’re dealing with hurricane Katrina, which, by the way, caused hundreds of deaths and untold destruction. I’m not an advocate of SABC-like censorship, but some “breaking news” broadcasts tend to distort our perception of reality and significance. Another example in this category are air crashes. The number of deaths caused there pales into insignificance when compared to the approximately 3,500 people killed daily, worldwide, on our roads [1]. That reality isn’t making the headlines often enough, which says to me that we have just grown to accept that this is the way it has to be.

I don’t believe there are magical solutions to any of these problems. However, I am a strong believer in concentrating on your circle of influence, rather than your circle of concern [2]. So, my link to safety is this: Let’s not spend too much time pondering and discussing what we can’t change. Rather, let’s focus on the “everyday” mass killers – the road accidents and fatigue, HIV/AIDS, TB, diabetes, malaria, stress and depression (suicides), and the like. These are wellness issues where we can make a difference, right now. With the right life skills training at schools, I’m confident that we can re-establish a culture of tolerance amongst our children. Let this be our “new normal”.

ACTION

This month, look into how much effort, time and money you are directing towards wellness education at your company and in your community. A little can go a long way to making a real difference and showing that you care. It’s also well within your circle of influence and nothing is stopping you from spending a good portion of your budget on wellness [3].

[1]  “Number of road traffic deaths”, WHO 2013 GHO Data.
[2]  “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Steven Covey.
[3]  Green Card (recognition) goes out to Assmang Khumani Mine (and Susan Fourie in particular), for doing just that with their Peer Educator’s TB play.
[Picture]  Source: wikicourses.wikispaces.com

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SCnSP – Safety Is Not A Game

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jul 2016
     

Safety Is Not A Game

How are you pushing safety?

Picture: Give a thumbs up or pat on the back for a job well done

     

Work, especially in terms of safety, should not be seen as a game, with the key components of goals, rules, challenges, interaction and with mostly luck as a basis to create fun.

Unfortunately, I still see many, many companies treat safety that way. They run competitions and use safety results as if safety performance were a race with records to be broken. They hold year-end functions congratulating the winners, holding up the best of this and the best of that. The perceived implication, of course, is that all others are losers, although it is never put that way.

Companies need to look at the types of safety incentives they use and the unspoken message this sends to their people. To me, the most powerful way to motivatestimulate and inspire safe behaviour is by recognition and prompt feedback.

Establish a culture of ongoing recognition and incentives, not once a year or only when records are broken or only for the b-i-g achievements. The “green card” technique gives recognition, immediately, to the person observed doing the right and safe thing. Be VFL’s (Visible Felt Leaders) by making recognition visible and felt now, not later!

Keep a close eye on what is motivating you to give recognition – there’s a fine line between appreciation and manipulation and people are able to pick up really quickly on false praise.

ACTION

Giving recognition isn’t complicated and yet it is so powerful as it helps to create a motivating climate, but it does take time and effort:

  • Establish ownership.
  • Find at least one person you can give recognition to on each of your walkabouts, by searching for things done right or well.
  • Tell that person what they did right and that it has been noticed.
  • Encourage that person to keep up the good work.
  • Do it in the presence of the co-workers and supervisor.

RELATED READING

Your Safety Monument

How to Implement Your Safety Dream

Lessons From Cats

The Power of Gold

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