♦♦  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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