Oh Would You PLEASE Shut the @#$& Up?

You loved his last article (well most of you did except the ones it was aimed at!) here is the latest exclusive from Phil La Duke. We publish his other provocative articles HERE and I highly recommend his blog: http://philladuke.wordpress.com/. I’m just the messenger! ENJOY!

Oh Would You PLEASE Shut the @#$& Up?

I’d like to think I don’t seek out things that will aggravate me but apparently I do. It’s not like I deliberately seek out the company of goofballs and mouth breathers. I don’t frequent laundromats and approach the dimmest of the creepy guys who hang around there seemingly just to watch women wash their underpants. So why do I find myself constantly in a twist with yet another pig-eyed, drooler with a superiority complex?

Why? because I talk about safety, specifically, because I write and speak about organization and culture change. Just as every engineer believes that everyone would have become an engineer if only they were smart enough, (I am yet to meet one that doesn’t believe that a Bachelor’s of Engineering proves that the one on which it has been so conferred is not capable of any and all other careers.) nearly all safety professionals seem to be convinced that they are somehow innately qualified to work in organizational change and culture transformation.

If you doubt me, check out the debates that rage in the LinkedIn groups devoted to safety. One I recently commented on (and in so doing exposed myself to an on-going torrent of dribble from the people who either can’t read or chose to ignore all that was written before on a LinkedIn Group discussion) a discussion entitled How Can I Create a Safety Culture? I answered, you can’t you aren’t qualified you need to hire an expert. That did little to dissuade the dullards who furrowed their brows in stunned incomprehension and typed out things like “me think safety talks good” and “my idea is…and then drone on about some sophomoric gimmick that they initiated that was way cool. My answer drew some support so instead of just letting the issue drop I posted a more in-depth response that talked in some specificity about why culture change could not come from the safety department and why there was no such thing as a “safety culture”; that too went largely ignored, after all, why let facts screw up a good conversation?

The discussion asked the seemingly innocuous question, “how do I create a safety culture?” Harmless right? Maybe, except that the person was asking a bunch of safety professionals. For me, who has successfully designed and implemented safety management processes that have resulted in profound and lasting safety improvements (my average one-year ROI is over $2.5 million USD) and have an extensive success in culture change, the whole discussion was fairly odious. I have a score of case studies that demonstrate the ability to create and execute change interventions that foster an environment where safety is viewed as a strategic business element that is owned by Operations; in short, I know what I am talking and I know how to spot a culture change poseur.

Because my default linked in notifies me whenever someone comments on a thread that I on which I have previously commented I have a running update on the latest sub-simian suggestion. (I know I can change that in my settings but I hoped in vain that some voice of reason might emerge amid the simperings of the not so great intellectually unwashed. I tried to explain that the people posting were no more qualified than the author of the average author of a Wikkipedia article on a boy band, but alas, the comments keep coming. Apparently everyone IS entitled to their opinion even when it is dumber than a bag of hammers. I am so tempted to flood the post with questions that this troop of baboons is equally unsuited to address. How do I pilot a dirigible? How can I neuter my cocker spaniel at home? How do I build my own centrifuge? Are blasting caps really suitable toys for children just to demonstrate how insane it is to have a conversation with the safety know-it-alls. So while it may be true that everyone has the right to his or her opinion, in the States everyone has the right to remain silent; in cases where one doesn’t have the intellectual standing to offer an informed opinion one not only has the right to remain silent but also the responsibility.

Phil LaDuke

Phil LaDuke

Principle and Partner at ERM
Phil LaDuke
Phil La Duke is a principle and partner in Environmental Resources Management (ERM) a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services. With over 140 offices in 40 countries and nearly 6,000 top professionals, ERM can help you wherever you find yourself doing business. At ERM we are committed to providing a service that is consistent, professional, and of the highest quality to create value for our clients. Over the past five years we have worked for more than 50% of the Global Fortune 500 delivering innovative solutions for business and selected government clients helping them understand and manage the sustainability challenges that the world is increasingly facing. Phil works primarily in the Performance and Assurance practice at ERM; a speaker, author, consultant, trainer, provocateur…Phil La Duke wears many hats. As an expert in safety, training, organizational development, and culture change, Phil and ERM can help you motivate your workforce, conduct safety performance assessments, help you to build robust training infrastructures, craft interventions to improve how your work place values safety, provide insights to your executive staff, and craft and execute business solutions. If you’re interested in what Phil La Duke and ERM can do for you, or if you would like to inquire about employment opportunites at ERM, contact Phil at phil.laduke@erm.com

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