In 1983, Prochaska & DiClemente theorized that there was process of making behavioral change. This five step model was developed while evaluating how people changed from unhealthy to healthy behavior. From a safety standpoint, there are many similarities in how behavioral change is made. Safety is about choices and behaviors that come with a healthy approach to the workplace and risk.
Stage 5: Maintenance(monitoring)
People at this stage changed their behavior more than 6 months ago. It is important for people in this stage to be aware of situations that may tempt them to slip back into doing the unhealthy behavior—particularly stressful situations.
It is recommended that people in this stage seek support from and talk with people whom they trust, spend time with people who behave in healthy ways, and remember to engage in healthy activities to cope with stress instead of relying on unhealthy behavior.
From a lean standpoint, this is the part where continuous improvement is key. There is no such thing as having the perfect safety program. For any program, if it is stagnant; it is not functioning correctly. The safety culture has to be continually reviewed and improved. This is part of a plan-do-check-act process.
A culture has been establish, the focus changes to more of finding small ways to continually cultivate the culture and behaviors.
Over time, there are time of great cultural improvement and then times where the culture has to be maintained. After a series of gains and sustainment, the process finally yields a culture that the organization wants. This would be a self-actualized team. From the graph above, the line stays close the the desired culture but it is slowly rising. When zoomed in the gains are very similar but more on a micro-scale. There is still a series of continual improvements.
Like any other behavior or culture, safety is a series of small improvements overtime. Maintenance on a culture is not maintaining the behavior but finding incremental ways to continually engage and motivate the team.