Organizations that struggle to get to the next level of safety performance, who are in a perpetual rut, who feel as though nothing is working, whose flat-lined performance is destined to remain the same are missing one critical element in their arsenal of strategies. That element is a focused organizational mindset on performance excellence.
I have witnessed teams of leaders demanding safety performance as a separate request from financial and organizational performance. Hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars are spent on initiatives and programs and giveaways to encourage safe behavior and better injury rate performance. While these types of programs do play a role in the overall injury reduction strategy, the role they play is often overrated and, unchecked, can lead to flat-line safety performance, at best.
An organization that focuses their human resources on performance excellence in everything they do drives desired and predictable outcomes in everything they undertake including delivering on outstanding safety management system performance.
A good way to think about this is mindset perseverance. It is my experience that a team that is accustomed to delivering excellence at every opportunity does so in every area of work performance including safety. So the key to driving safety performance to the next level is to work on a culture whose focus is on excellence. Period.
Develop an environment that fosters innovation through failure, clearly identifies common purpose and establishes it, creates an empowered workforce whose voice exhumes influence and meaning, does not differentiate between financial, quality, schedule, and safety performance, and that redefines the way the organization views how it performs its work.
Mindset perseverance is the psychology of safety excellence. The way work is performed is just as important as the final work product, its presentation and delivery to the paying customer. Transforming the focus from purely safety performance to overall organizational performance drives repeatable and predictable outcomes.
Leaders who undertake this mindset transformation encourage high performing teams whose focus is on overall performance excellence. Members of these high performing teams then go on to become transformational leaders themselves. What about the rut? Well, the wheels of excellence are now too large to even notice it.