Key management concepts in OHS

More classic stuff from George – please don’t read this if overly sensitive or think you are perfect already. Read more of Georges stuff here: SAFETY REFLECTIONS

Key management concepts (These concepts have come mainly from working with wise leaders on major change projects and critical reflection on personal experience)

Management focus is the key to quality safety performance. Like all other management functions highly effective leadership is essential in OHS.

A compelling vision creates a culture of greatness.

Challenging the status quo is very satisfying but needs to be approached with sensitivity in some environments.

The motto of the Australian Special Air Services Regiment (S.A.S.R.) is “Who Dares Wins”

The greatest motivator is not money. It is the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, to contribute and be recognised.

Learn the context, culture and past before trying to make changes. Unless a crisis situation is apparent realise effective change requires a lot of effort and time.

Kotter speaks of 8 steps for successful large scale change- Increase urgency, Build the guiding team, Get the vision right, Communicate for buy-in, Empower action, Create short-term wins, Do not let up, Make change stick.

Trying is just a noisy way of not doing something.

Use the advantages of a quality approach, particularly the continuous improvement philosophy.

It is just as important to manage up and sideways as down.

Be tough on the task but gentle on yourself & others.

People judge you by what they see you doing not by what you say you are doing.

Reward loyalty or you will lose good people.

People do not need to be managed, they need to have their potential unleashed.

Admit your mistakes.

Strategy is important but make sure you spend sufficient time in the field that you do not lose sight of the reality of how the organisation is being managed. Manage by walking around.

Theory is important but constantly ask yourself if this will work in the real world.

It is often the relationships you build not your technical skills that determines success, network for success.

Catch people doing good and make a fuss of them, routinely thank people for their efforts.

Build your support coalition including informal leaders and influencers and the old timers.

Learn what others expect of me, particularly what my boss wants, help my boss succeed.

Meet with the safety team individually and collectively, develop an enjoyable focussed team building activity in association with your team, adventure based activities should receive consideration. Encourage team members to discuss issues, including work and personal problems with you. Adopt the roles of mentor / coach / advisor as well as team leader.

Learn the skills of reflective listening and appropriate self-disclosure, will help with interpersonal relationships.

Use face to face communication whenever possible. Produce and expect succinct documentation When reading your correspondence the reader must say “Wow” in the first third of the page. When listening to your presentation the listener must say “Wow” within the first 3 minutes. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE in a way that inspires.

A major sin in business is long, overly complicated policy, procedure and other written documentation. Busy people do not have time to write it and busy people do not have time to read it. Keep it simple and ask yourself if it is too much like hard work to read. Use 1 page max. for routine correspondence.

Have huge but realistic goals.

Do the simplest thing that will work.

Remember the 6 P rule-Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

Be a life-long learner and encourage those in your team to be the same, I see an important part of my role is to help those in the safety team to develop their skills.

Ask for and give regular feedback.

Communicate your expectations.

Good amounts of quality time for you, family and friends is essential for high performance at work.

Concentrate on the things that give the biggest bang for your buck.

Get out of your comfort zone. When you are out of your comfort zone you are already growing by default.

Persist until it pays off. Never give up.

Excellence is deliberate, not something we stumble onto.

Be conscious of “catastrophising”. Some people put undue weight on the bad aspects of their life and let that overcome the good aspects of their life. This makes it difficult to develop strategies to move forward.

Use learning needs analyse to guide development of targeted learning. Use Action and Experiential learning models and avoid lecture style presentations unless very short.

Develop objectives and goals for what you do, if you do not know where you want to go you cannot go there.

Concentrate on the MUST DO’s.

When initiating change remember “People support what they create” Initiating change is difficult at the best of times, if you do not involve those affected by the change in the change process it is unlikely to work.

It does not hurt to relax and do something silly occasionally, include your team.

Celebrate success.

Identify and separate customer needs from want, the customer is king.

Get some runs on the board quickly, particularly what your boss wants.

Whatever you do must be based on a needs analysis.

Project teams with defined deliverables, timelines and milestones can be a great way to drive change.

Carefully define the scope of any project you take on

As a leader it is more important to be respected than liked.

Hard work brings luck.

You do not know what you can get away with until you try.

Produce a service that is useful to others.

Focus on the solution not the problem.

More focus= Less stress.

Keep you promises to others and yourself.

Do it-Do not procrastinate.

Do not be scared to go against the tide.

Do not give into anger-Out of control anger is not toughness.

Do not associate with negative people.

Stretch your people.

Demand high standards.

Get a mentor.

Continually challenge yourself.

What does not kill you makes you stronger..

Expect criticism.

When you are on top you are a natural target.

Hang out with positive people.

Do not give excuses.

Set the bar even higher.

Win-Win is bull-dust, you have to win, other has to lose.

If you cannot solve a problem it is because you are playing by the rules.

It is kind of fun to do the impossible.

The only place you find success before work is in the dictionary…

Aim for simplicity not complexity.

Sell the benefits not the product.

.Do not be shy in self-promotion.

Know your unique market proposition (what benefits you provided that are different from your competition)

Leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in everything we do, the number one job of a leader is to transmit and embed high value standards.

Remember when thinking about leadership-Ducks quack, Eagles soar.

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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