by John Holt (first Published Here)
Next Generation Safety Leadership: From Compliance to Care by Clive Lloyd
- First edition published 2020 by CRC Press
- Available CRC Press: Next Generation Safety Leadership
The beauty of a life spent reading is this: there is always the possibility of witnessing or being present at the right reverberation being struck at the right time. This may very well be the right time. After all, timing is everything.
As I mentioned in an earlier post – “And So It Begins…” the opening salvo and tone setting for “Next Generation Safety Leadership” is launched straight from the first paragraph of the foreword by Tim D’Ath – which is worth repeating here:
“Safety as an industry is in crisis. For reasons that escape me, Australia seems to be clinging to out-dated, culture-eroding, fear-driven ‘traditional’ safety models and theories that we just can’t seem to shake. We have trivialized what it means to ‘be safe,’ adopting punitive approaches to safety built upon weak foundations of words on paper, tick-and-flick exercises, PPE, and ‘catching someone doing something wrong.’ And the scary thing is that the majority of managers, people leaders, and even safety professionals I come across genuinely believe this approach is the right one.”[i] Tim D’Ath.
That post generated a storm of response – perhaps, when I say ‘storm’, read more an outpouring of relief and agreement – we are now in peak (pique?) plateau of perceived ineffective safety performance, outdated and tired management tropes and too oft on occasion, simple outright disrespect. D’Ath’s opening paragraph resonated with many. Yet it triggered for me this excerpt from another book:
…Newman said that only about three weeks previously when they were raising a ladder at another job he had shown the rope [which had snapped] to him, and Misery had replied that there was nothing wrong with it. Several others besides Newman claimed to have mentioned the matter to Hunter, and each of them said he had received the same sort of reply. But when Barrington suggested that they should attend the inquest and give evidence to that effect, they all became suddenly silent[ii] and in a conversation Barrington afterwards had with Newman the latter pointed out that if he were to do so, it would do no good to Philpot. It would not bring him back, but it would be sure to do himself a lot of harm. He would never get another job at Rushton’s and probably many of the other employers would ‘mark him’ as well. “So, if YOU say anything about it,” concluded Newman, “don’t bring my name into it.”.[iii] Robert Tressell.
Robert Tressell writing in the early 1900’s, perfectly captures what Historian Joseph Melling called “The Risks of Working and the Risks of Not Working.”[iv]
And very simply and succinctly lays bare the role and the use of fear in the workplace, and the critical role that trust occupies.
Review in a nutshell? Just buy and read this book. Simples.
Why? Because in Lloyd’s accessible examination (and associated learning guides and tools), for what D’Ath describes as an “…industry in crisis.” demands ‘the industry’ now moves beyond the polemical, and sadly deep-rooted ‘debate’ on the ‘best’ approach to making a better, safer, workplace for everyone.
Unfortunately, workplaces are either simply disregarding this factional stooshie, have no interest, or at worse just ignoring us and carrying on as before. Fortunately, this is where Lloyd has stepped in to a middle ground of sorts and in this short and punchy work, with real-life examples, not only addresses real-world issues but also, critically, splits the book into two working sections, in effect:
- Section 1 – Why psychological safety matters in our workplace; and
- Section 2 – Practical ideas, skills and those real-life examples about what we can do next…
I believe a fear that we all face as safety professionals and practitioners and teachers, is the fear of irrelevance. That organisations and workers will simply move on without us, and if we do not support the demands of the modern worker and their workplace; or fatally, we no longer add value, then that is a fair call. Then we probably deserve to be replaced by an App, after all, why pay for an extra salary when an App checks, lists and corrects as you go?
But will an app engender a sense of Trust? Will it help you develop and maintain key relationships; will an App kick the tyres with you and work with you to help figure out a better way through structured brainstorming. Perhaps, but not yet, ..not yet.
At the end of the day, this book is a book about Trust in all its critical forms, as Lloyd explains the solution is simple, easy, readily available and mostly free:
“There is, however, a strong and consistent predictor of safety performance that is readily available to be harnessed by all organizations and leaders, one that any safety initiative depends upon for success, and yet one that has largely been overlooked by the safety profession. This is a book about trust. Without trust (and its cousin, Psychological Safety):
- People don’t speak up.
- Teams don’t fully engage.
- Metrics don’t reflect reality.
- New initiatives don’t gain traction.
- People don’t admit mistakes.
- People don’t share ideas.”[v]
Remember that excerpt from Robert Tressell’s book I cited above?
Tressell wrote that 120 years ago. It would appear that “Timing is everything”, after all.
Perhaps it is time for a change. This book helps mark that change.
The last words I leave for Clive Lloyd, and the right moment for the right reverberation:
This book has reflected a great deal on what great safety leaders actually do, yet to me such actions are more a reflection of who they are: values-based, authentic people, with the courage and humility to be vulnerable, drop their masks and genuinely engage with their people.[vi] Clive Lloyd
[i] Lloyd, Clive. ‘Next Generation Safety Leadership’ (p. ix). CRC Press. Kindle Edition. 2020
[ii] Emphasis added.
[iii] Tressell, Robert. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (p. 330). Kindle Edition. (accessed 2020)
[iv] Melling, Joseph. The risks of working and the risks of not working: trade unions, employers and responses to the risk of occupational illness in British industry, c.1890-1940s. CARR Discussion Papers (DP 12). Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. (2003)
[v] Lloyd, Clive. Next Generation Safety Leadership (p. xiii). CRC Press. Kindle Edition. 2020
[vi] Lloyd, Clive. Next Generation Safety Leadership (pp. 83-84). CRC Press. Kindle Edition.