Search Results for: Near Hits

SCnSP – Illusion/Paradox of Control

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time we re-examine the “power to influence” (control) as opposed to the “capacity to have an effect on” (influence) with respect to Safety Behaviour.

The Illusion / Paradox of Control

(Are we in control of Safety Behaviour?)

Illusion and Paradox of Control text as a graphic

I have written about this before – the issue of control and influence. It is such an important aspect of our work in safety that, when I read Seth Godin’s post[1] on the subject, it stimulated me to put a safety spin on what he wrote.

We have this “idea that we are in control“, that through policies and procedures we can ensure zero harm. It drives our Safety Management efforts. It fuels our “compelling belief” that this year we will reach our safety targets. It opens the door to consultants who try to convince us that if we just use their system, we’ll get exactly the silver bullet we have been looking for.

It’s like we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. I mean, the reality is that “we’re never in control, not of anything“. Instead, we should strive to view all our efforts as a means to try to influence safe behaviours. As in the “service business“, this is “a tough sell” for the safety professional.

Seth ends his post with these punchlines:

  • When the illusion of control collides with the reality of influence, it highlights the fable the entire illusion is based on.
  • and
  • You’re responsible for what you do, but you don’t have authority and control over the outcome. We can hide from that, or we can embrace it.

I would like to end my post with these thoughts:

  • Control contains a peculiar paradox. The more you impose control, the less control you have, because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place. [2]
  • and
  • When you no longer push the buttons or use the tools, you should become a servant to those who do! [3]

ACTION

Think about what you do.

How much of what you and your team of safety professionals do is:

  • Tell, command, prescribe, lay down the rules / policy / procedures, set the standards, …
  • Audit / police against the above.
  • Collect, report on information to justify what already has happened.
  • Reactive to incidents, accidents, near hits (misses), short cuts, …
  • Sitting in your office behind a desk.

Or are you

  • Embracing the reality of influencing with trust and integrity.
  • Listening, supporting, helping, caring, recognising, respecting, empowering those you serve.
  • Encouraging them to take responsibility for their own safety at work and at home.

[1]  “The Illusion of Control“, by Seth Godin

[2]  from “Beyond Management“, by Etsko Schuitema

[3]  from “Life EduAction“, by Jürgen Tietz

RELATED READING

“Year-End Take Safety Home Message”

“Influence of Frontline Personnel”

“Your Safety Dream”

“People”

“Safety as a Value”

“Fire! Fire! Fire!”

“Ukuhlanya”

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SCnSP – Lessons from Cats

♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. The “Trust Factor” is one of those fundamental things.

Lessons from Cats

(Near Hit and Incident reporting)

graphic depicting cat - trust - expose soft belly

My wife and I love animals. We have two large dogs and five cats. It is my act of love to brush the cats every Saturday. Lula, the oldest one, is full of trust and flops onto her back, exposing her soft underbelly without any problem. Pippa, on the other hand, would never do this voluntarily and will only expose her underbelly in an all-claws-out fight!

So why do these cats behave so differently? The answer lies in one word – trust.

Lula was born on our bed, showered with care and love for the entire 16 years of her life. She has no hesitation to present herself in the most vulnerable position. Pippa, on the other hand, is one of our rescue children and grew up somewhere in the gutters of Benoni. She had to fend for herself, got ‘raped’ at six months of age and was left with a litter of kittens. Who knows what else has happened to her? Her deep-rooted mistrust throws her into sheer distress when I turn her onto her back to brush her belly.

The link to safety and, indeed, leadership.

Do your people trust you enough to expose their soft underbelly to you?

By that I mean:

  • Do they trust you enough so as to disclose all the near hits, incidents, cuts and bruises, breach of rules and procedures and mistakes, not only in terms of safety, but also in quality, costs, human relations, and …
  • You expect them to report these occurrences, but what have you done to earn their trust? Is your company culture a “Lula” experience with reliable care and love? Or is it a “Pippa” experience of wariness, where people get penalised for mistakes, feel they have to watch their backs and have learned to trust no one?

ACTION

  • Don’t brush this off as another sermon about the soft side of business. This is a fundamental issue. If you don’t really listen, respect, recognise, care and relate to your people, with integrity, you cannot expect them to expose their underbelly to you in full trust.
  • Analyse your emotional balance sheet – penalty vs praise. We are experts at holding up the red card and hardly ever show a green card – the pat on the back, a genuine thank you for doing the everyday things, for sticking to the rules, for ideas, for their commitment, for finishing the project, for …
  • Allow your subordinates to hold up the mirror to their / your leaders, without fear or favour.
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.” — Seth Godin
    I am not a big fan of surveys, but an anonymous, simple survey might help you?

REFERENCE MATERIAL

“Trust and Respect” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

“Care and Growth” approach by Etsko Schuitema

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GM – Out of the Blue

♦♦♦   ROAD SAFETY   ♦♦♦

Out of the Blue

accidents are caused

I have been preaching: “Accidents don’t just happen – they are caused by someone choosing to do the wrong thing or choosing not to do the right thing“. This could be via design, maintenance, use, disposal, or an outright, deliberate choice to break the rules or to take a short cut.

But, what if you are the victim of such action, an innocent passer-by, in the wrong place at the wrong time? Here is a story of a young couple on holiday in the USA:

“Tonight we had a really, really close shave. I was driving and we’d just pulled up to a petrol station, when, I kid you not, literally a few seconds later, an out of control car came hurtling out of nowhere from the intersection, smashing us into the petrol station pump. The driver, it later turns out, was very high, drunk and out of his mind. Some very nice gentlemen from the Louisiana State Troopers got hold of and arrested him a bit later.

We got out of the car ok. Jess, being on the passenger side, is a lot more bruised than I am, but luckily no battery sparks or the like and luckily the pump’s fail-safe kicked in and the flow of petrol, except that from our car’s tank, was automatically cut off immediately.

It was very close though … the terror of having yourself and your wife slammed into a petrol pump by an oncoming car. Also, I can now fairly confidently say, never rent the cheapest cars that are short a safety feature, airbag or reinforced side door here or there; and please award a Nobel Prize for the person who invented side airbags.”

Photo showing the vehicle smashed into the fuel pump at the gas station

Accidents happen every day. The reason this particular accident touched me deeply is because the young people involved are my son and his wife.

As with so many road accidents, natural disasters / events or crime incidents, they can (and do) happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone, for no reason at all. There is little that the ‘victim’ can do about it. Well, let me rephrase that: there is little the ‘victim’ can do about preventing the random event.

You can, however, take pro-active measures to minimise the impact of an incident and the ‘luck factor’ [1]. Unfortunately, unless you’re with the Navy Seals or have access to sophisticated behaviour modification training, there is little effective training to deal with being a victim of such an event. Thinking and being aware are your best defences. Of course, there is no fail proof solution, but here are a few things we all, as individuals, can do:

ACTION

  • Think about ‘What If’ scenarios, the consequences and what you can do to minimise the risk should any of those scenarios materialise.
  • Look at your ‘Near Hits’. Ask what happened, why it happened (dig down by repeating this question a number of times) and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent it from happening again – or at least to reduce the damage or injuries.
  • Be alert to your surroundings and actions. Use the traffic light rules:
    • Be aware of your green = safe situations, like being at home and relaxing in a safe environment.
    • When leaving home and getting onto the roads your awareness level should change to amber = pay attention, slow down and look for possible danger.
    • When drawing money at an ATM or approaching a hijacking hot-spot or in a crowded area, you should be at a red level of awareness = eyes in the back of your head.
  • Don’t be merely a ‘passenger’ – speak up when you see someone taking a chance or breaking the rules, like going down the killer road of F-S-D = FATIGUE-SPEED-DEVIATION (including drink / drugs).  
    “The mirror we hold up to the person next to us is one of the most important pictures he / she will ever see.”
    — Seth Godin
  • When buying or renting or merely borrowing someone else’s stuff, consider the safety features of that piece of equipment – guarding, trips and fuses, alarms, isolation features, air bags, etc.

In a future safety tip, I will deal with due diligence, HIRA and the topic of building safety into the design of plant and equipment.

 

[1]  Luck and safety don’t belong in the same equation. You cannot drive your safety efforts by relying on luck.

RELATED MATERIAL

Taking your eye off the ball / road / task

It’s My Mistake

Road Safety – Take Safety Home

Walking the Circle of Safety

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GM – Oscar’s Defence

♦♦♦    Oscar’s Defence    ♦♦♦

for Safety Incidents / Accidents

 

Leaving the question of the extent of Oscar’s guilt and the consequent sentencing aside – that’s Judge Masipa’s job – one cannot ignore that this case is a classic example of not taking responsibility and of making excuses and assumptions.

This “disease” is too often mirrored in people’s behaviour when it comes to safety. We find people giving excuses instead of acknowledging their role in mishaps, which would help us to find the root cause of incidents or near hits (not misses!).

Excuses often given include:

  • I did not know / think / ask / hear / see . . .
  • I assumed . . .
  • I didn’t do it on purpose.
  • I can’t remember
  • Before I could think, I had . . .
graphic with words I'm Responsible

Accidents don’t just “happen”. They are the direct result of someone choosing to do the wrong thing or to not do the right thing. This includes thinking of the consequences of one’s actions before taking action!

Why do people make excuses rather than owning up? In some companies, it is because there is a culture of intimidation and / or people fear being penalised.

Incident reporting is mandated, but companies also want to know about near hits – this information is critical as an aid to finding and fixing root causes permanently, so that similar incidents don’t happen again.

To encourage disclosure and ownership, one needs to promote a safety culture of focussing on the incident and not making somebody pay for what happened. Of course, there will always be exceptions to this principle, as in a situation of deliberate sabotage, pure negligence, tampering with safety devices and equipment or blatant contravention of safety procedures.

ACTION

  1. Review your policies and procedures, so that there will be no penalty when reporting or owning up to a genuine mistake.
  2. Contact me for a Simply Smart Safety™ Power Survey to help you understand what the current safety culture looks like in your company.

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Time for Gratitude

thank you,ke a leboga,ke a leboha,ngiyabonga,ndo livhuwa,ro livhuwa,siyabonga,enkosi,dankie,ngiyathokoza,inkomu

 

As leaders and safety professionals we forget to show GRATITUDE. We are looking in the rearview mirror, focusing on what went wrong, why we missed our targets and, often, who to blame.

At the end of the year, it is time for us to be grateful for what we have and to count our blessings. Think about the number of activities and tasks that are being completed by all your people, without any incident or mishap. They run into the millions. Let me put this into perspective.

The vast majority of these activities are done out of habit (routine), without conscious thought. That is where your training and systems are paying off.

Consider a simple task, like driving a vehicle. I get into the seat (hopefully after walking around the vehicle and doing my pre-start check), fasten my seat belt, check the mirrors, start the engine, switch on the lights, engage the reverse gear, look left and right, release the handbrake, check the mirrors again, apply gas, steer the vehicle to the right and left and turn, apply the brakes and then take a breather — all this just to get out of my driveway at home!

To complete the task of getting to work safely, I will have to perform hundreds of activities such as this and more (using indicators, changing lanes, accelerating, braking, keeping an eye on the traffic, stopping, etc.). Each one of these I accomplish successfully, without incident and without conscious thought, but each one has the potential of leading to an occurrence which could result in damage, an injury, a fatality and, most definitely, lost time.

Now, multiply these hundreds of activities by the tenfold of tasks or jobs that each of your employees completes every day, by the number of employees, contractors and visitors on your site every day, and finally, by the number of working days this year, and you will have to add a large number of zeros to your figure of gratitude.

This also puts into perspective why ZERO HARM is such a tough goal to achieve.

Please count your blessings and let your people know how indebted you are to them for having done so well, as you cannot even express this ratio:

number of incidents and near hits
number of activities completed

Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

Jürgen

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Jump Starting at Grootvlei

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean ‘jump starting Grootvlei Power Station’. 😆 Auke Maas, the SHE manager and his team are switched on. I mean jump starting my Harley Davidson motor bike at Grootvlei. Yes, a Harley Davidson, “nogal” (= “on top of it all”), with a reputation of being a super-reliable bike. But let me explain.

I was late for my meeting with Auke and his team  😐  and, in my haste, I forgot to switch off the Harley’s ignition. As a safety feature, the main light is always on when the ignition is switched on. So, when I left the meeting, I proudly started, er, rephrase, tried to start the bike, because Auke, Arno and Peter wanted to hear the engine. NOTHING. Not a click.  😳 The battery was DEAD.

There I stood, far from home and miles from a service station.

Fortunately, I had the support of the Grootvlei team and, with the help of Arno, who got some tools, we opened the battery compartment. In the meantime, Peter, the chief fire master, got the portable jump start unit from the fire station. In no time at all, the Harley was running, and I was on my way home.

A helping hand from the folks at Eskom Grootvlei

What are the safety lessons?

  1. Even when in a hurry, take the time to follow the correct procedures and do the right things, one step at a time (stop the engine, switch off the ignition and lock the helmet, panniers and bike.) Doing things in a hurry often leads to incidents = NEAR HITS.
  2. Be prepared. Have a set of tools in your vehicle for emergencies. A small fire extinguisher is a good idea too.
  3. Have a backup in place. The portable jump start unit is a brilliant idea for emergency vehicles. One cannot have an ambulance or fire engine not starting because the battery ran flat.
  4. Establish a root cause, even if it was a near hit with no injury or damage, and make the necessary change to avoid making the same mistake again. In my case, it required a behaviour change – I make it a habit now to switch off the ignition to stop the engine.

 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

Jürgen

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Value-Adding Segments and Products

 

 

 

Safety Clock

The SAFETY CLOCK

Safety never stops. Safety does not take a break / holiday. Safety continues around the clock.

The hand-out which accompanies this segment depicts 12 safety icons instead of the numbers on the face of the clock.

The icons and segment are based on the life saving / cardinal rules of the respective client.

 

 

SIMPLY SMART SAFETY Magazine

This personalised and custom-branded magazine contains a number of toolbox talks and other safety articles.

The front cover features the photo of an individual whom you want to recognise.

The editorial on the inside is a feature about the person – his/her achievement(s) and the reason(s) for the reward.

This novel and unique magazine is a most powerful tool for recognising achievement and motivating people.
It is a meaningful and educational gift that others will want the next time.

 

 

Vusi and Fred share lessons learnt

TALKING TO THE DEAD

This video is based on the fact that we often have to make assumptions about what really happened when an incident leads to a fatality!

This is an interactive video, with the presenter establishing a link to Fred and Vusi and speaking with them to find out the root cause which lead to their deaths. When Vusi and Fred share lessons learnt with us and what they would do differently if they had their life over again, the message is clear and unforgettable.

Check out the feedback on this powerful segment.

 

 

The SAFETY SONG

At most events we need to drum up energy and enthusiasm.

Music is an ideal tool, which fits in with our African culture of song and dance.

Originally composed by Alain d Woolf, the Safety Song is a customised, easy-to-sing-along song which can effectively be used to build up team spirit and a “brother’s/sister’s keeper” safety culture.


listen to snippets of the song
or
watch a live performance

 

 

watch the Safety Man video

The SAFETY MAN

This technique effectively demonstrates the many roles and responsibilities of the SHE Rep.

A number of props are ‘loaded on the shoulders’ of the SHE Rep to illustrate the workload, such as upholding standards, adhering to legislation, fixing and improving things, reporting incidents – near HITS, hazard identification and risk assessment, protecting the environment, fire prevention and first aid, motivating and encouraging … the list goes on and on.

SCnSP – When is the safety battle won?

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jul 2017
     

When Is The Safety Battle Won?

Engaging hearts and minds

Heart = OwnershipMind = Commitment

     

Many centuries ago, a Roman general was leading his legions towards the enemy in a swampy country. He knew that the next day’s battle would be fought on a certain plain because it was the only dry, flat place for miles. He pushed his army all night, marching them through a frightening and formidable swamp, so that they reached the battle site before the enemy and could claim the high ground.

In the aftermath of victory, the general called his troops together and asked them, “Brothers, when did we win the battle?”
One captain replied, “Sir, when the infantry attacked.”
Another said, “Sir, we won when the cavalry broke through.”
“No,” said the general. “We won the battle the night before – when our men marched through that swamp and took the high ground.” [1]

So, when is the SAFETY battle won?

Not when the rubber hits the road, or the airplane is at cruising height, or the construction is in progress, or the plant is operating on full steam. Not by analysing the statistics, reporting ‘near misses’ and investigating incidents. Not by paperwork and audits. Not by being reactive.

No … because by then it’s too late. All you can do then is police for compliance. I mean, can you imagine if the general in the above story had used that approach – having to check (audit) that his troops are actually fighting and using the correct combat tactics, rather than leading them in battle?

No. The safety battle is won long before any of the items mentioned above. It is won when we manage to get safety into the hearts and minds of all our people. It is won when we have succeeded in getting people to make safety a habit, in everything they do. Before they tackle each task, while they’re carrying out the task and after they’ve completed the task. It is won when the safety ABC is in place – individual safety Attitude, Behaviour, Choice. It is won when our people are no longer complying out of fear of being caught and disciplined or because the boss is watching. The safety battle is won when our people are thinking ‘Safety Assurance’ as part of the preparation for everything they do. It is won when individual perceptions of risk include thinking about consequences.

Finally, the safety battle is won when we all are looking at continuous improvement and best practices and sharing how to work smarter and safer. It is won when our people are not afraid of failing and treat every ‘near hit’ as an opportunity to improve productivity and safety.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

As safety professionals, we should strive to support the business by improving productivity safely!
We should be the first port of call when people are thinking of taking a shortcut or reporting a ‘near hit’ or ‘failure’. And it should be because they know and trust that we will help them do it safely, instead of blaming, and crucifying them for pushing the boundaries.
Safety Always.

[1]   Pressfield, Steven. The Warrior Ethos. Black Irish Entertainment LLC (2011). 978-1936891009.

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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SCnSP – Ukuhlanya

♦♦♦  SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦♦

In this series, I share with you my thoughts on Why Safety Is An Issue For Most Companies and the Things We Must Address If We Want To Improve Our Safety Performance. It’s time to tackle the  safety dilemma / paradox  of our times with a  disruptive approach to safety.

UKUHLANYA[1]

(Safety Paradox and Disruptive Safety)

How do you review your Safety Plan?

Let me give you some essential background before I suggest the actions.

It started when I realised that, for most of our plans, it is a case of insanity i.e. doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result[2].

Expectations have changed drastically, both for employers and employees. Employers expect more skills and competencies and at the same time more engagement and contribution from employees. Employees want more freedom in how they fulfil those expectations. It’s time to “acknowledge that the old method of productivity, of being a good employee by obediently doing what you are told, is obsolete. Our job is to figure out what’s next and to bring the ideas and resources to the table to make it happen.”[3]

graphic depicting lack of einspruchsrecht i.e. consultation

In addition, people have a much shorter attention span in these times of hashtags, selfies, iPhones and iPads. We have distorted the priority scale with the habit of responding immediately to the ring / tweet / vibration of the hand-held device. We have developed an attitude of “I want it and I want it now!” and people’s behaviour has changed accordingly. People are tired of posters, pamphlets and papers. The old systems of toolbox talks, presentations and preaching procedures no longer work that well. There is a new generation of employees who demand “einspruchsrecht”[4] and full engagement.

The Safety Dilemma.

In this age of disruptive change, we have to do things better, faster, cheaper and safer or risk going out of business. We have to have people on board who think and create safety improvements. We have to let them experiment – try it, fix it and make it work. We have to make information-enabling technology available so as to free them up to do what they do best, like thinking, creating, etc. The technology must engender independence not dependence, dependence being when you get what I call the “auto pilot syndrome” = pilots who can no longer fly themselves out of an emergency.

At the same time, we want people to manage the risks and to not take chances. We want people to look-to-see and listen-to-hear. So, we have to enforce our cardinal or lifesaving rules and, in the process, pile on a myriad of procedures, instructions and standards. For example, to avoid traffic accidents, keep to the left, drive a road worthy vehicle, be a competent, licensed driver and obey the road signs are non-negotiable!

Ultimately, for most, safety becomes a compliance issue: measure injury rates, deviations from procedures, near ‘misses’, non-compliant behaviour, etc. When the fear-based compliance manifests, we are unhappy. We want people to do the right thing because it is the safe thing to do, not because they’re going to be caught and / or fined.

We want to keep it safe and simple but we still need to be in control. It is a tough balance to strike.

Control contains a peculiar paradox.
The more you impose control, the less control you have,
because it removes accountability from someone who should own the responsibility in the first place
.”[5]

The Safety Plan.

In most organizations, there is a fear of failure and thus things take too long, changes are analysed to death, projects are too intimidating and the approval levels are far too high up the hierarchy. The end result is that people get ‘busy’ with activities like meetings, investigations, proposals, etc. which do not actually produce an outcome. At the end of the day, the “big change” project on the safety plan just gets stuck – the ‘elephant’ cannot move, despite the best efforts of the ‘rider’. The ‘path’ becomes muddied.[6]

To get around this, we need to shrink the changes into smaller, bite sizes and rally the herd to drive safety forward. If we can invent, launch and complete projects in days, instead of weeks or months, its way more likely that these projects will be more relevant at the plant / team level.

If you want your employees to get enthusiastic about safety, give them something ‘they can take home’ and be proud of = something they accomplished. One hundred small projects, completed at this level, are worth much more than one big project battling to get traction.

ACTION

  • Instead of a grand revision of your safety improvement plan, go for a  Just Do Something SAFE™[7]  safety culture. Get your teams / plants to create their own safety projects. Carry out campaigns themed on “any cause, anytime, anywhere” that are safety-related, within their means and can be completed within days.
    I am not going to give you a template or a hundred examples, as that defeats the object of you owning this disruptive safety approach. I will, however, share with you a few trigger ideas: paint the workshop floor, erect a handrail, review and renew safety signs, clean out the store room, spring clean ‘my own work space’ week.
    Your challenge is to rally the herd using suitable encouragement and recognition.
  • If the above approach is too disruptive for you, then review your safety plan, but do not use the “Moses Approach”.[8]
    Consult your key stakeholders in safety, including SHE Reps, at their place of work – a kind of “Road Hear” (not “Show”) or “lekgotla”. Get them to tell you about their safety expectations, key safety issues, any quick hits and what they want to see happen. These sessions should be facilitated by a skilled, independent person and the outcome should be communicated back to all stakeholders, within a week or two.

ps. I am able and willing to facilitate either of these actions for you and to share some tools and techniques to manage the process. (T&C’S apply)

REFERENCE

[1]   “Ukuhlanya” = “insanity” in isiZulu

[2]   Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879-1955)

[3]   Seth Godin – sundry, thought-provoking posts

[4]   “Einspruchsrecht” = “the right of people to partake in decisions which affect them”, a German expression

[5]   “Beyond Management”, by Etsko Schuitema

[6]   Analogy from “Switch”, by Chip and Dan Heath

[7]   Spring-boarding on DoSomething, which is a stellar success, a fast-growing non-profit that’s engaging with millions of young people around the world.

[8]   “Moses Approach” = where leaders huddle together in the boardroom to work out the new vision, strategy, plan or some other directive, based on assumptions, and which they expect the troops to eagerly embrace without having been consulted about what is actually required.

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