If they’re not giving you safety, it’s because you’re not giving them what they want.
To paraphrase a quote, the secret to getting what you want is to help enough other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar said that. He wasn’t wrong. Help enough other people get a win for themselves and they are more likely to help you get your win.
Focus on the plan to improve the things you're not already doing. Not the goal.
Once upon a time, in the mid-90’s, I was working in a sales job. At the start of each month, our sales manager would assemble all the sales reps in a room and ask each of us for our specific sales goal for the month. He wasn't asking us what our plan was to make more sales. He was asking for a number.
A safety system by itself doesn't make the organization any safer.
Driving instructors have a system for teaching people to drive. Sports coaches have a system for improving player performance. Almost everything in this world has a system. There’s even a system for generating your paycheck. But, the system doesn't pay out unless someone tells it to.
To improve employee participation in the safety program, clear communications are key.
If you are going to communicate something in safety, what do you want to have happen? How exactly do you want your people to participate?
Informing people isn’t enough anymore. Your people are already bombarded with, on average, four thousand marketing messages each day. Everywhere they look, they are getting access to another message – competing with your safety message - even as recently as this morning.
But let's say that you are above-average in compelling and engaging your people’s attention during a morning safety meeting, as soon as they leave the meeting, they are faced with hundreds more messages that all compete for attention. So, to combat this, you have to be clear.
It seems like your people don't care about safety, but they do. Yes, your people do care about safety. They just don't care the way you care about it, because they see safety differently than you do.
Everyone cares about something. However, what's appealing and motivating to you is not always appealing and motivating to someone else. Your goals for safety improvement may be important to you, but your people need to have a benefit in working harder to reach those goals.
“Sending people home safe” has become an all too familiar phrase. It has become that thing people say when they used to say "safety first." It's a phrase that rolls off your tongue in an effort to prove that you have a commitment to safety. But there's a problem with it.
Sending people home safely is actually the least you can do. It’s what employees expect you to do. They show up at work expecting to go home safely. But truthfully, anyone simply enforcing rules can get people home safely.
Safety is a shared responsibility with each individual being accountable for their actions.
On a recent LinkedIn post about accountability, I was asked the following:
Hi Kevin, I'm constantly engaged in discussions around accountability and responsibility with all levels of hierarchy within the business as almost no one understands the difference. What's your experience?
Awesome question. I too, used to think they were two interchangeable words. In fact, the dictionaries interchange them at least once on each word. So, it's not surprising that your clients and colleagues struggle with it. But to me, they are not interchangeable at all. In fact, each word has very specific differentiators.
This post will help you to arm your colleagues, employees and clients with a new and unique way to understand accountability and responsibility, to use them more effectively, and to be able to align themselves with each word personally and within the scope of the safety program.
Be forewarned, these definitions may not be the classic dictionary version of the words.
In PeopleWork, Kevin Burns presents his M4 Method of people-centered management for safety. Practical, how-to steps that frontline supervisors and safety people can master to promote a relationship-based culture focused on mentoring, coaching, and inspiring teams.