When it comes to internal motivation for a professional, I feel that safety has some unique aspects. The discussion last month was about Success vs Failure. I had a lot more questions than answers. When it comes to working in the safety industry our customers are varied and sometimes have very different ideas of what deliverables or items are important. Our company, our employees, the environment, and the community are just a few groups that rely on good judgement, proper ethics, and proper education from the safety person. When it comes to managing or understanding the cultures that make a safety person seek success or avoid failure, there are many aspects and variables that can be evaluated and understood.
The first step to managing is understanding. Something that I enjoy doing as part of a group activity or even as a method of self-reflection is to conduct a survey of defining success and defining failure. It has been my policy to share my results with the team and allow members of the team to share on a voluntary basis with others. I do required that I get to see the results either as part of a one-on-one or through a text correspondence, which ever make them most comfortable. I even allow typed sheets with no name to be left in my office. I will say, though, that has never happened. They should feel comfortable expressing their opinions. Your team should have a level of comfort and safety with you for this to be effective. If you are a leader of others, I have found this exercise to be insightful and value added in understanding your team and their principles.
By understanding and observing the team, it becomes more apparent of their grouping in success seeking vs failure avoiding. I hope this is helpful and insightful in better engaging and understand your team. There are so many impacts that affect the life of a safety person. Culturally, organizationally, and individually, the safety person is impacted. This shapes the response to issues, the implementation of policy, and general attitude. It is should be the goal of good leadership to observe and impact these variables when possible to create the most effective HSE process.
Here is the basic format of the exercise:
DEFINING SUCCESS ACTIVITY
accomplishment of a purpose lack of success.
A key component of a lean system to work towards a goal. This is usually phrased as “what does good look like?”
Once someone knows how “good” looks and is defined, the process can be changed to become closer and closer to good through improvement.
The same can be said for success. Unless we define success, we cannot know if we achieved it.
In this exercise, I am asking you to define success for you as an individual contributor to define what you see success is for the organization in EHS.
With every endeavor there is also a chance for failure, and that must also be defined. I am again going to ask that you to define failure for you and the organization around EHS.
For each question, there should be one to three answers that are no longer than a sentence long. Success and failure should be simple, gradable metrics.
These will not be shared among the group unless you choose to share them. I will use these as part of our one-on-one discussions to help us focus on where the direction needs to be heading.
ACTIVITY: DEFINE SUCCESS
1) Using only one sentence, create one to three definitions of what success is for you as an individual contributor to EHS.
2) Using only one sentence, create one to three definitions of what success is for our organization for EHS
ACTIVITY: DEFINE FAILURE
1) Using only one sentence, create one to three definitions of what failure is for you as an individual contributor to EHS
2) Using only one sentence, create one to three definitions of what failure is for our organization for EHS