♦♦  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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