♦♦  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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