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The 3-Step Process to Improving Safety Culture

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 28, 2020 11:15:00 AM

Fifteen years ago, I was conducting a leadership workshop with a group of senior managers at an oil and gas drilling company. At one point during our meeting, one of the senior managers began lamenting the recent departure of one of their drilling rig managers to a competitor.

Three months previous, the rig manager left for another drilling company. And his departure was still being felt.

I was confused as to why there seemed to be so much concern and discussion at the loss of a single rig manager still after ninety days. Then I was informed that over the three months following the rig manager’s departure, each of the 8 members of that rig manager’s team had also handed in their resignations. All left to join their old boss at the new company.

The company hadn’t lost just one person. They had lost nine – the whole crew.

My first thought was, “wow, we need to create more of those kinds of supervisors.”

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Focus on Safety Benefits, Not Numbers

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 14, 2020 11:15:00 AM

Numbers don't sell anything.

The furnace in our house is 96.1% efficient. The water softener regenerates every 1000 gallons. The home office workspace is 350 sq.ft. The sound-reducing acoustical-drywall treatments have reduced ambient noise from 47db to 26db. Converting to LED bulbs throughout the house reduced energy consumption by 25% in the first month. Want to buy a house?

Numbers don’t sell houses. Mileage numbers don’t sell cars. You don’t lead with numbers to sell anything. In fact, in a Real Estate listing, you will find the numbers in the footnotes. Vehicle mileage and fuel economy numbers are found on the back page of the brochure.

Truthfully, people buy emotionally and justify their decision with logic and facts. People buy-in to things and ideas that will improve their lives in some way (safety included). They use numbers to support their decision.

Let's use the example of Real Estate. A compelling Real Estate listing does not lead with numbers. It leads with a quality-of-life benefit statement - something that evokes an image or an emotion.

  • Skip the commute and work from home in one of two offices.
  • Enjoy expansive mountain views on three floors.
  • Relax with a glass of wine watching the most spectacular sunsets.
  • Take advantage of the peace and tranquility of near-country living.

When you lead off with benefits to the buyer, you create a more compelling statement. These are the kinds of images people want to envision when they are looking for a place to settle their family. The best statements use words that evoke a vision, a feeling, an emotion.

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Your Next Ideal Supervisor Must Include These Traits

Posted by Kevin Burns on Oct 7, 2020 11:30:00 AM

A supervisor who cares about their team, cares about their safety.

A 20-year trades ticket or 20 years of job experience essentially becomes useless the moment a frontline employee becomes a supervisor. Not that 20-years of experience will no longer be needed, but largely a supervisor does not do the frontline work anymore.

They now supervise frontline work. And that requires a completely different skillset.

Effective supervisors need coaching skills, communications skills, people skills, management skills, leadership skills. Eighty percent of a supervisor’s day is spent coaching, communicating, managing, leading, and dealing with people.

So, when companies promote one of their frontline employees into a supervisory position, are they setting that supervisor up to win?

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Why do we expect they know what to do in safety?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Sep 30, 2020 11:14:00 AM

We promote frontline employees into supervisory positions without ensuring they have skills development in coaching, communications, safety, and empowerment. And then we expect that they will know exactly what to do?

Fifteen years ago, while awaiting a flight, I had a conversation with a frontline supervisor who was working at an oilsands site in Northern Alberta. John had a commanding presence with his loud, gravelly voice. He had been supervising a team of 16 for several years at that time. He was proud of the work he did and prouder of his team.

I have my electricians’ ticket, my plumber’s ticket, and a steamfitter’s ticket,” he beamed. “My dad always said to me that they can take your job, but they can never take your paper. As long as you have your paper, you can always land somewhere.

I tell my team to get paper for themselves. To become the best in their field because when you’re the best, you’re more valuable,” he smiled. “And I want my guys to not just be looked after, but to exceed me.

John also admitted that since becoming a supervisor, he didn’t use much of the knowledge gained from getting his tickets. He knew that the skills he needed most of all were good coaching skills, a caring demeanor, good communication skills, and a genuine desire to help his team exceed even his own skill-level.

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Create A Positive, Motivated Team in Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Mar 4, 2020 11:00:00 AM

How many of your safety meetings are focused on benefits of safety instead of being focused on rules? Let’s look at some of the benefits of safety.

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Are You The Safety Leader Your Team Needs?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 19, 2020 11:15:00 AM

What would it take for your team to perform better in all things including safety? And are you the person who can get them there?

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Do You Know Your Real Safety Role?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 12, 2020 11:15:00 AM

What really is your role as a supervisor, a manager or even a front-line safety person? Knowing that role and accepting it can dramatically increase your effectiveness, help to overcome complacency and build teams who care about each other.

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What Old Teachers Can Teach Us About Safety Leadership

Posted by Kevin Burns on Feb 5, 2020 11:15:00 AM

How did you get to where you are? And who were the people who you depended on to help? The answers to those questions can help you become a better safety leader.

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Senior Management Doesn't Support Safety

Posted by Kevin Burns on Jan 8, 2020 11:15:00 AM

Have you ever said out loud (or secretly wished) that senior management would openly show their support for safety so that the team would perform better in safety? Well, it turns out that you don’t need their help. Here’s what to do instead.

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Do You Want To Lower Safety Numbers or Improve Safety Culture?

Posted by Kevin Burns on Dec 4, 2019 11:15:00 AM

You know that you want to improve your safety culture. You just may not be going about it the right way. So, let’s give you a tip on where to start to improve safety culture the more effective way.

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