It’s Wednesday morning and you know the question that is going to surface at your C- and VP-level leadership meeting. You are contemplating a political yet responsive answer that hopefully will yield the intended results: a safer workplace.
There are valid concerns jousting for position within your thought process: How can I achieve message delivery without significantly compromising relationships? What have we not tried and what is the organizational tolerance for a new approach? What are the costs of my suggestion? Who best can champion it? We are at world-class safety performance but have we reached the statistical noise level?
There is a strategy you can employ which will reduce the “what if” scenarios to a minimum and will empower your enterprise to think differently. I call it the “realization strategy.”
Organizations generally are driven by measurements and expectations of performance. “Importance” is defined as that which commands attention from your leadership. Those topics, those items, those visions that suspend time in high-level meetings act as beacons for the way the rest of the organization thinks and more importantly, behaves. Typically, the person who defines “importance” and has the most influence on organizational behavior is the CEO.
Realization strategies encourage desired organizational behaviors by planting the seeds of inquiry within the people who are the game changers: your leadership. The organization comes to the realization that world-class safety performance is not good enough and that a purposeful mission is required to bring it to a transformational level.
So, what question likely will pop up at the Wednesday leadership meeting? CEO: “What do I (we) need to do to help improve safety performance?”
Opportunity knocks, big time! Deploy the realization strategy.
These are the five safety questions your CEO needs to ask the leadership team:
- Is every employee and business partner positively and actively engaged in our safety program and if so, how and to what extent? (This sets the stage for ownership, diversity and inclusion throughout the organization.)
- Where is our next incident likely to occur? (This starts a structured risk assessment process.)
- How are we measuring our successes and are we focusing our safety program performance on the past or the future? (This encourages a goal reassessment process and places importance on leading indicator measurement systems.)
- In your view, whom can I hold personally accountable for assuring a workplace free of recognized hazards? (This inspires the acceptance of organizational accountability.)
- If I were to walk up to a member of your organization tomorrow and ask them who their safety champion is, whom would they name? (This motivates performance through expectation.)
All eyes are on you. You’re ready. Bring your team to the point of realization. It is just a matter of influencing the right questions on the right people at the right time.
Go ahead! Dare to think differently!
J.A. Rodriguez Jr., CSP, senior manager at Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC, is also an entrepreneur, a patented inventor, engineer, certified safety professional, professional speaker, member of the Industry Advisory Council at Western New England University, an elected Board Member of the national Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association, author of the book Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment, and an overall great guy.