At a mining camp in Canada's Arctic, a team of big city consultants was dispatched to determine the effectiveness of the safety messages throughout the mine site. The walls at the mine were plastered with so many mixed messages that the employees nicknamed them "the wallpaper." Too much noise, too many competing thoughts.
First, let's admit it—generic messages like "Safety first" or "Be safe" don't cut it. They become a punchline, undermining the real priority. And in the end, the mission gets lost in "the wallpaper."
Safety is a marketing problem.
Daniel Coyle's research for The Culture Code reveals that less than 2 percent of employees in 600 companies could name their top three priorities. Let's do the math. That means 98 percent of employees cannot name their own company's top three priorities. But there's more...
Franklin Covey's research showed that of the 15 percent who could identify just one of their company's goals, only half were committed to it. 81 percent felt that they needed to be held more accountable against the goals, and 87 percent had no idea how to help their company achieve those goals.
Your team doesn't understand the mission. Because the mission gets muddled up in the "Clash of the Clichés" - safety's desire to get cutesy instead of effective.
Buy-in to the safety mission requires clarity, and clarity needs communication. It is supervisors who are best suited to deliver clarity in communications. It is an employee's frontline supervisor who interacts and communicates with their employees most often. Supervisors can engage employees in on-on-one conversations using communication styles that employees respond best to. And, they can also ensure that the employee understands what is being asked of them.
Are the goals clear to your team?
If the team doesn’t understand the goal, how can they operate as an elite team? They will fundamentally be prevented from buying-in to the mission because they are not aware of what the mission is. This is a communication breakdown that needs to be addressed by the supervisor. Without clear communication between supervisor and team members, it is impossible to achieve elite-level performance.
To remove the uncertainty of performance, invite your team members into a conversation. Invite your team’s opinions, ideas, and suggestions.
No team meeting should end until every member has had the chance to speak and to be heard. For a team to be able to trust each other, they need to know each other, to feel equal among each other. An elite crew becomes elite together, all voices, all opinions.
So, supervisors, create clarity, build trust, and lead your teams to elite-level performance.