Not a new BIG idea
Just read an enjoyable article Posted by Loren Murray on the Safety Differently Blog. This is by no means a new concept and I don’t know why it required the involvement of a University to trial and implement but the outcome and the learnings are the important bit. I discovered this concept in the early 90’s as a green Uni graduate chucked into a management role. In a nutshell, I learned that “I work for them” not the other way around – I wrote about it here a few years ago: Get out of their way.
A couple of years later I renamed our safety committees: “Safety & Health Improvement Teams” (SHITs). Our new team creed was: SHIT happens! They were given training in basic risk management and problem solving. They were also given unprecedented empowerment and their own large budget to spend on whatever they liked, no questions or justifications required (woaaahh and didn’t some of the traditional leaders struggle with that!). The results were amazing! Not only were there massive, rapid cultural improvements (not measured just perceived) but many ongoing safety and production issues were solved or went away and the budgets never needed to be spent, with smart, effective ideas generated by free, creative thinking and frugality. Anyway, enough trumpet blowing and reminiscing…….enjoy the article:
BIG on ideas
A few years ago a truck driver asked me “when are you going to do something about the delivery docks, the reversing lines are so faded it’s hard to position our trucks?” Like all good managers I nodded caringly, made sure I had a suitably interested look on my face and told him I would talk to his manager and get it sorted. During my career I have had this conversation and probably the same look on my face countless times. Like a good employee the driver told me his problem and I was happy to oblige. After all I am the manager, it’s what’s expected of me, I fix problems, I’m paid to take on challenges and make the decisions….right. Somewhere along the way this paradigm about what a ‘manager’ and what an ‘employee’ does started to bug me. I asked my safety colleagues what they thought their roles were. Most said they make decisions, fix problems, are responsible for protecting the business and the people in it and ‘keep’ people safe. What does a worker do then? They responded a worker is responsible for themselves, looking out for their workmates, following instructions, attending training and complying too the rules. Logically then safety managers get to where they are because they are committed, intelligent, educated, and willing to take on all challenges. So does that mean employees never really made it? Didn’t try that hard. Are perhaps content with their lot in life and look to us to fix things for them? READ MORE