Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

A well trained (in safety, in customer-centrism, in sales, in process improvement, in kaizen, or lean six sigma...) workforce is... a well trained workforce. A well trained workforce on X is not equal to a culture of X. In Viral Change™ book I use the model of input and output. In business management terms, if you reinforce (spend airtime, money, focus...) input (training in safety, in customer-centrism, in process improvement, in kaizen, in lean six sigma ) you do so because you expect output (safety culture, processes improved, customer satisfaction, sales etc...)

In behavioural terms, if you reinforce input you get more input. So, yes, a well trained workforce on X is a well trained workforce on X. Traditional management is very good at managing inputs – this is where most money management goes. Not that good at reinforcing outputs, the greatest of them being behaviours. If you want behaviours, reinforce behaviours, not the communication plans that explain why you needed those behaviours. Yes, you need to spend some resources (money, time, people) in delivering the message but, once this is done, if what you want is behaviours, you need to change channels! Behaviours, incidentally, spread virally and via imitation - just for the record!

The following is a little one page summary of the above with safety in mind. (Unapo0logetically, the parrot in me repeats those arguments again...)

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

" Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated to safety training in major corporations in the oil and gas industry, mining, transport etc. One death is too many. Accidents can be avoided. The cost of time lost due to incidents considerable.

Safety training is needed, but it does not necessarily create a culture of safety. Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. A culture of safety is not one of well trained (on safety) people but one where safety behaviours are the norm. These two things are not the same"

Continue reading this one page

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