In preparing a virtual presentation for the members of an electrical utilities association, I asked the organizing committee to survey their members with one question: what is the biggest issue you would like to overcome in safety in the next 12 months?Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More
The Safety Double-Down
When safety performance suffers, or complacency starts to sneak in, the typical response is to double-down on more safety. Increased attention on rules, procedures, meetings, reminders, inspections, audits. Maybe you see more generic safety posters, hear more safety shares, and sit through a video message from senior management.
It becomes pretty apparent that there is a push on for increased safety awareness.
And maybe it works … for a while. Then, life hits you: project deadlines, customer demands, production delays, weather issues, staffing problems. What is considered important (safety) gets nudged out of prime mindspace in favor of the urgent issues. And before long, you are back to dealing with the same safety performance issues you had before.
Traditional thinking has you convinced that you must double-down on safety. Except you don’t need more safety.
Instead, you need more people to buy-in to safety.Read More