A Caution for Those Enamored by International Safety Standard Compliance Systems

There are some very important messages here about creativing VS compliance.

“Participation is not a choice. We have no choice but to invite people into the process of rethinking, redesigning, restructuring the organization. We ignore people’s need to participate at our own peril.”

“A second principle also derives from life’s need for participation: Life always reacts to directives, it never obeys them. It never matters how clear or visionary or important the message is. It can only elicit reactions, not straightforward compliance.”


Once you’ve forced compliance with “the system” that’s been inflicted using historical “management systems”…you’ll need to evolve to the next level where the work process system is developed and breathes with the participation of the very people designing the process…the people doing the work.

Feel free to disagree…and then list ten CEOs who are rewarded because they have complied with last year’s “system”…well you probably could but they don’t work there any more. :O)

Understanding Safety Culture is an art not a science so…

“Define and measure what you can and seek to understand the yet undefinable and currently unmeasurable through the evidence as it presents itself through thoughtful observation.” Alan D. Quilley CRSP

If we don’t get practical (even though we maybe technically and philosophically somewhat incorrect) we won’t be able to help anyone with changing the outcomes.

Our knowledge and abilities to measure “culture” may indeed be limited today. We need to continue our “attempts” to define the, as yet, undefinable factors that we “think” may be at play here. Over time, some of the many truths about culture will appear and what seems mysterious and hazy at the moment will become clearer and hence more manageable.

The adventure continues…when you’re standing a few inches from the trunk of a large tree, so close that you can see nothing else but you are hearing birds singing, feeling the humidity and smelling pine, it’s difficult to KNOW that you are in a forest…but it would be a good guess!