Search Results for: Time

SCnSP – I Don’t Have Time

♦♦♦   SAFETY CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE   ♦♦♦

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 to look in the mirror and honestly assess the importance of safety.

I Don’t Have Time

The Number 1 Excuse For Not Getting Things Done

This is one of the most frequent excuses used by all of us, because we always have more things to do than time to do them in.

So, what determines whether or not something on the To-Do List will get time?
What gives one item the edge, the higher priority, over another item?
Compliance deadlines and fear of penalties or suspension of business?
Sure.
Hooray for  The  Fear  Factor.

But we all know that The Fear Factor will only get you so far. Though we may not want to admit it, there is no doubt in my mind that, busy or not, if something is important to you, you will “find the time” to do it. And that brings us to the subject of the other motivators –   Need  and  Desire.

picture depicting possible drivers fear and passion

The challenge for most Safety Professionals is how to move people from behaviour which is driven by fear to behaviour which is driven by need (fundamental) and/or desire (passion). Coupled with that is their (often) difficult task of getting management to invest valuable production time and other resources to achieve that objective.

When it comes to safety, fear will always be a motivator, to an extent. Who wants to die or be severely injured, or even handicapped for life?
Wouldn’t it be great, though, if the time we allocate to safe behaviour and practices and coaching was driven by a deep-seated passion to keep our employees and our peers and fellow-workers (and ourselves) safe from harm? To keep our environment and resources safe from harm?

Do you have the time for safety? How important is it to you? How passionate are you about creating and/or maintaining a safe workplace, home, community? Is safety in your company driven by fear, or is it driven by passion for people and the environment … or more by one than the other? And is it enough to make your co-workers invest personally in safety if you aren’t willing to invest the time?

… it’s never too late to change …

“If the past was not bright, then polish the future.”
Heather-Lynn Roberts

ACTION

  • Think before you use the “I don’t have time” excuse. All it says to people is that, although you say “Safety Is No. 1”, it really isn’t, thus wreaking havoc with your credibility.
  • Review your personal motivators for Safety. Plan your time to deal with the important things every day rather than get swamped by all the urgent stuff.
  • Review your co-workers’ and decision-makers’ motivators and find ways to move yourself and the people you work with from compliance-driven to passion-driven. Make sure that the adrenalin-junkies and risk-takers know to keep those drives out of the workplace.

RELATED READING

Stop Hiding

Politics of Safety – Time

So Many Meetings, So Little Time

Excuse List” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

“Waiting at the Doctors – Time & Priorities” – from the book Life EduAction by Jürgen Tietz

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SCnSP – Politics of Safety (Time)

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Mar 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 Politics of Safety

Your TIME to build the safety culture

Picture: Madiba

     

As the leader you have to be a VIP – Visible, Involved and Pro-active. Like a politician meeting with his / her constituents, you have to see and be seen, talk and listen. However, unlike so many politicians, you have to back up your walk and talk with ACTION. Your employees look at how much TIME and money you spend on safety and what ACTION you take to fix safety issues.

You have to use part of your personal TIME, your 24 hours, to meet with your employees and recognise safety performance. This goes way beyond merely signing achievement certificates and making a guest appearance at the annual award function, or worse – only setting foot on the plant to visit an accident scene or the injured in hospital. That kind of crisis management does the safety culture more harm than good. You have to manage safety on your feet and not on your seat.

In my book, I quote Jan Carlzon, CEO of SAS:

“ I walk around and see my people, because just to walk around and dare to be strong, dare to give, is much more valuable than any decision I could make or any report I could read. What I give away is mental health to the organisation. The most unproductive time we have is when we sit at our desks. Because the only thing we do is read history: what has already happened, what we cannot do anything about. When we leave our offices and start to walk around and talk to people, that’s when we make things happen. You give your thoughts; you get thoughts back; you draw conclusions; perhaps you even make decisions. ”

ACTION

Here is my challenge to you.

Get your top team to accept that they have to spend TIME on their feet, over and above the scheduled management audits, to build and maintain the safety culture. When doing this, they should look for the GOOD, the bad and the ugly, but mainly the GOOD. It is a tough call, to make TIME and to focus on finding opportunities to connect with and to recognise people! Get into the habit of arranging regular work stoppages, where the whole operation takes TIME out to focus and reflect on safety. The top team should ‘sit in the font row’ for the duration of these events and not only make brief appearances. This is THE most important business: shaping the safety culture of your organization!

To help your leaders with TIME MANAGEMENT, download my article on this topic.

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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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SCnSP So Many Meetings, So Little Time

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Aug 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. Under the microscope today is our effective (or not!) use of time, in particular when it comes to meetings.

     

So Many Meetings, So Little Time

Picture: Panel of experts in a meeting

     

All of us have to deal with meetings in one form or another and, to a larger or lesser extent, for all of our lives. Especially in safety, meetings seem to be a primary mode of operation for many companies. If they have a safety issue / problem / incident, they organise a meeting.

Meetings can be a blessing or a curse. A blessing, if they are well run, productive and achieve the results we are looking for and cannot otherwise achieve. A curse if they are not necessary, turn out to be a waste of time, involve mostly hot air (talking), create confusion and do not lead to people taking responsibility, especially for ACTION.

Most people suffer from the meeting paradox: “We don’t have time to prepare for effective meetings, because we spend too much time in ineffective meetings.”

Time is the most precious resource we have and, the more senior your position, the more precious it becomes. We all have this finite resource of 24 hours, relentlessly ticking by. That is why it is such a tragedy that people waste it in unproductive meetings. If you do not believe me, have a look at this short video for some horrifying facts and figures around meetings.

I believe that every company would greatly benefit from employing a

meeting “PIMP” = “Performance Improvement and Measuring Professional”.

In terms of the law (OHAS ACT 85 OF 1993 S17 – S19 and MHAS ACT 29 OF 1996 S25 and S35) we have no option. We MUST have safety committees and therefore meet. However, how we do this and how well we use this time is up to us.

The biggest problem is that we do not prepare for these meetings and that the members of the safety committees (this applies equally well to other committees and meetings) do not play their proper role in these meetings.
As a general rule, 50% of the time should be spent preparing for the meeting (including thinking time), 20% attending and partaking in the meeting and the remaining 30% to take action and follow up on and close out agreed actions.
Furthermore, we do not make it crystal clear who owns the action, what the result should look like and by when the action should be completed. Often, it is not even clear who owns each item on the agenda.

ACTION

Resolve TODAY to take the necessary action to transform your meetings from a curse to a blessing.

My guidelines for effective meetings will assist you with this.

free
Download

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Graham Edwards for planting the seed and so inspiring me to write about time vs meetings in relation to safety.

ON OFFER

Picture: COOL TOOL Facilitation Playing Cards
COOL TOOL™ Facilitation Playing Cards

These playing cards encourage thinking and participation by all during meetings and when planning critical work. Cards are a fun medium with which everyone is familiar and do not require special skills, thus removing barriers to use. The 52 cards cover Communication and Understanding, Thinking and Shortcuts, Attitude and Recognition, Responsibility and Planning.

Enquire here

Why not let me be the “Meeting PIMP at your next safety committee meeting at the EXCO level.   To take advantage of this offer, answer my 10 Questions about your operation’s safety needs and send them to me.

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MyTime

So many safety professionals complain about too many meetings and too much time spent in meetings.

In my latest group mail, I talk about this meeting paradox: We don’t have time to prepare for effective meetings, because we spend too much time in ineffective meetings. Here, I want to share a different perspective.

Before I was retrenched in 1998, I too had a severe case of “meetings overdose”. Now that I am self-employed, I have taken control of MyTime – the time which I spend in meetings. I realised that a large proportion of the meetings I was involved in were my own doing. Now, when I get a meeting request from a client, or, before I set up a meeting with someone, I ask myself a few critical questions:

  1. Will the meeting make or save me some money? What is the business potential?
  2. Do I have a clear purpose? Can this be achieved without a face-to-face meeting using some other medium (telecon, Skype, e-mail, etc)?
  3. Do I have to establish, refresh or reinforce a relationship or trust with the other party?
  4. Do I have to demonstrate or share some of my COOL TOOL™ or showcase what I can do?
  5. Who is going to pay for my time ‘out on the road’ and travel & accommodation expenses?

I have learnt to say NO to a meeting request/meeting setup thought if the answers to these questions do not give me a “YES, HAVE A MEETING” sign. I have also developed my 10 Questions to get the information I need from a potential client, without having to meet ubuso ngombuso, i.e. face-to-face.

I hear you say, “BUT in my situation …”

Think about your meetings as if you were running your own business and it will change your perspective. You will drop the meetings which do not further your business interests. You will learn to say NO to your involvement in meetings which do not meet the above criteria.When you own your own business, you quickly learn to become as tough as nails about wasting MyTime, or you go hungry. 

Next time, I will share the best and worst reasons for setting up meetings.

 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

Jürgen

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Be the Master of Your Time

Being self-employed means I have to make sure everything gets done. However, that doesn’t mean I have to do everything myself. It is a poor investment in time if I do things which someone else can do for me – steals time from those things which only I can do. I have to focus on those things I do best and for which I have the skills and expertise that others do not.

Usually, this isn’t a big issue in a corporate set up, because there are many service and support functions. Nevertheless, we should all examine how and on what we spend our time.

So often we get to the end of the day, tired and exhausted, because we have been so busy ‘doing things’ – but what have we really accomplished? Often, it turns out we could have finished some of the important things if only we had not been caught up in all the ‘urgent’ things others could have done for us.

For example: Instead of me driving across town to collect or deliver an item, I make use of a courier company. Sure, on the face of it, it costs me more. However, the savings in time and effort alone are priceless.

 Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,

Jürgen

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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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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]

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SCnSP – The Snooze Button

♦♦  CULTURE   &   SAFETY PERFORMANCE  ♦♦
Jan 2018
     

The  Snoo-zzz-zzz-e  Button

Delaying action

clock ticking countdown tick-tock

     

Growing up in Namibia, I spent many of my holidays on my grandparents’ farm, which is in the arid areas of the country. There was no electricity and every drop of water had to be pumped from a borehole. This didn’t worry my grandfather in the least. Regardless of the season, he was up every morning before sunrise, when the old cuckoo clock struck four, and in the kitchen making coffee, before heading out to attend to the work of the day.

He didn’t press a snooze button. In fact, I doubt he ever set an alarm clock. His motto was: “Today, Not Tomorrow”. He knew that when it’s time to plough, that’s what you do, because the rains don’t have a snooze button. The same went for the cows. When they came into the kraal in the early morning, it was milking time. No hitting the snooze button.

The snooze button is an invention which encourages the poor habit of delaying unavoidable action. Pressing the snooze button buys one a few extra minutes’ sleep, but doesn’t make a difference in the long run. Instead of hitting the ground running, we fall prey to this folly of delayed action, which often results in things taking longer in the end. Every time we choose “I-can-do-that-later”, we waste time picking up the thread and re-focussing.

In safety, there are a number of things that, like the rain and milking cows, don’t have a snooze button. Opportunity and risk are two examples. Opportunity normally has a short timeframe and if you press snooze, in most cases, you will lose. The expression: “There will always be another opportunity” is loser’s language. The same goes for risk. Once you have identified it, you have to deal with it, because you can’t put a risky situation on hold. Actually, if you don’t take swift action you will likely create an even bigger risk by breeding complacency.

Picture: Disruptive safety call to action icon

Take time NOW to think about your personal snooze buttons.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • What (and why) will you put off this year?
  • How often do you say to yourself: “I don’t have time now, I’ll do it later”?
  • How often do you allow your work to be disrupted?
  • How frequently do you allow yourself to be distracted from what you are busy with?
  • Have you ever taken note of how many times you use your Inbox, or phones, or meetings as snooze buttons, thereby delaying making decisions, taking charge, seizing an opportunity and choosing to take action?

ESSENTIAL LINKS

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

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