Avoid Seeking the Impossible

3 Santa Believe

There seems to be a theme lately in the Safety World – Humans intellectually looking for impossibly high reliability where there is none. Seeking perfection where none exists. Seeking Anti-fragile (I really don’t like that artificially created non-word) in a fragile reality. Looking for predictable outcomes in a random world.
We can only know what we know. Until of course we create perfect “future vision” and/or ”time travel” the unexpected is to be expected. We can only do what we can with what we have. Wishing and hoping for insight we can’t possibly have (expecting perfect Risk Assessment and Management for example). It is certainly interesting and increasingly frustrating to watch the safety community spin.
I prefer to focus on excellence with expected and predictable occasional failures. Reality is real! :O)

It’s not like listening to athletes who have just won something and explain that they gave 110%. Of course it’s not at all like believing in Santa!

Merry Christmas To ALL

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational


I believe to participate in discussions (on-line or in person) with other professionals is essential to one’s growth. Often when involved in these discussions I run across some who just don’t present a rational position. There are many innocent reasons for this irrational very human flaw. Try not to be victim to these cognitive biases. As they say ‘the first step is to realise that you may be a victim of your own biases.” Self-reflection is difficult. Good luck with the growth! Here’s a thought-provoking article I stumbled across on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Enjoy.

The 12 cognitive biases that prevent you from being rational

How we tell the difference between reality and fantasy – Verification

quote-with-insufficient-data-it-is-easy-to-go-wrong-carl-sagan-263897Any one who has studied the history of science knows that almost every great step therein has been made by the “anticipation of Nature,” that is, by the invention of hypotheses, which, though verifiable, often had very little foundation to start with; and, not unfrequently, in spite of a long career of usefulness, turned out to be wholly erroneous in the long run.— Thomas Henry Huxley

What My Boss Is Interested In…I Find Fascinating!

I’m often asked to help companies improve the safety results they are achieving from their efforts. I always find it interesting to see what they are currently doing to “create safety.” I’ve long abandoned the focus on prevention and taken the more positive approach that people working safely don’t really need to prevent anything.
To that end it’s important for organizations to re-enforce the classic ideas that they no doubt are already using within their organizations to create production. Let’s take a look at a few:
What My Boss Is Interested In… How Do they Know What That Is”
Most organizations work hard at letting their employees and customers know what they are interested in. These “interests” are often described in detail on the company website as “Mission, Vision, Values” statements and the “About Us” tabs. If you look you’ll see statements of “intention.” These statements of intent are basically how we what the organization to operate and what we want to accomplish through our efforts. To be successful, companies need to expand the message of how they want their company to be into daily communications and demonstrated actions from the organization’s leaders. If they aren’t supporting their intentions with actions, their intentions are only as good as a poster on the wall.

“What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
This turning intention into action is going to require planned and regular communication of clear messages about what is important to “the boss.” When our leaders take the time to ask us questions it is clearly communicated that the questions are something the boss is interested in…or why would they be asking the questions?
In most organizations these questions focus on How much is that going to cost?” and “When will that be done?” Both REALLY great questions and clearly communicating the Time and Money are important to the leaders.
“I Am Fascinated In…What Gets Measured Gets Done”
Asking questions is the first part of the formula. The second part is ensuring that the information is gathered, analyzed and acted upon. Reaction to the answers also communicates the importance of the subject to the leader. There are many ways to communicate the outcomes of these questions. Typically we gather statistical evidence of our activities (meetings held, inspections done, customer surveys completed) and the outcomes of those activities (customer satisfaction results, issues resolved, actions completed).
“What Gets Rewarded Gets Results”
This requires a detailed communication of what is expected of your corporation’s leaders from the CEO to the employees. In Safety Excellent Cultures, “everyone” becomes a leader. Then a system of measurements of the successful completion of those assigned responsibilities and tasks needs to be developed and implemented. The old assignment of “don’t get hurt” becomes “create safety.” The expectation is that everyone is working together to create safety and it’s no longer delivered to people like a pizza that they didn’t order!

A measurable and “nested” Accountability & Measurement System needs to be developed and implemented. The key to safety excellence is in the activities people do. Many of the activities typically associated with safety management are probably already identified implemented in your company. What needs to happen to improve your results is that everyone’s “boss” has to show interest in the completion of those measureable tasks.
Simple questions can become part of the daily conversation and should be asked and answered by everyone in the organization (Including the CEO):
1) What did you do today to make safety happen on your worksite?
2) What did the people who work with you do to make safety happen today at your worksite?
3) How do you know that they did these activities?
4) What happened to them because they did the work to create safety?
4) What happened to them because they did the safety work?

Thank you for reading my post. I regularly write about Creating Safety Excellence and how making your Safety creating efforts look more like your successful business will get you fabulous results.

If you would like to read my regular posts then please click ‘Follow’ and feel free to also connect via Twitter and my Blog.

When I am not writing, I spend my time assisting companies dramatically improving their safety results.
For more reading on creating Safety Excellence check out my books at the Safety Results Ltd. Website.

Other Linkedin articles you may be interested in:

Evidence VS Emotional Based Knowledge
Buzz- Buzz – Buzz: The Art of Total Miscommunication
Accident VS Incident
Time to Replace Common Sense with Gained Common Knowledge
Developing a Common Knowledge
Unsafe Acts & Unsafe Conditions Go Hand In Hand – Sorry Heinrich Was WRONG!
An Open Letter to those Not Yet Fatally Injured Workers

When in doubt…there’s always “the evidence.”

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Carl Sagan
“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.” Blaise Pascal
“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.” Isaac Asimov
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens

Developing a Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge2

As my readers will know, I’m not a fan of the illogical term “Common Sense.” The term is most often used in an insulting statement. Usually delivered by an arrogant person who believes they “Have It” and the targeted insulted party “Doesn’t Have It. There is absolutely NO evidence such a magical sense exists.
What we do know exists and can be cultivated is a “Common Knowledge.” In the world of managing organizations Common Knowledge is essential to our success. Communication of ideas and the development of knowledge and skills is a purposeful act that can be managed and GETS RESULTS.
So how do we actively work on a Common Knowledge? Here are some approaches that work:
Get the Best of the Best to Train Others
This is the age old Trade/Craftsman approach. Those who can do, teach others. Anyone who has been involved in this type of training will know just how productive it can be. A word of caution, make sure you pick the right trainer! Trainees can be damaged forever by being taught by the wrong “expert.”

Make it OK to be a Fallible Human
When developing new people to have the knowledge and skills necessary to be GREAT at their jobs the last thing we need is arrogant perfectionists as leaders/trainers. People need time to gain knowledge and develop skills. Impatience from mentors is NOT helpful. It takes time to learn new things. Pick trainers/coaches to help the new people learn and who can remember where and how long it took them to get GOOD at their jobs. They will be the best trainers/coaches/mentors. Select wisely.

So the next time you’re motivated to use the term “Common Sense” PLEASE DON’T…It makes you look uninformed and frankly a bit “arrogantly superior.” Let’s face it, we’re all in this together and being patient and kind with each other will win the day!