Safety Culture v. Company Politics – Implementing Keystone Changes

As we discussed in Part I of this article, the goal of the safety department is to save lives while reducing risk and cost to the company. Often, company politics run contrary to safety culture.

Safety culture requires a cooperative spirit from everyone; company leadership must set the example.

  1. Company politics typically result in each department protecting its responsibilities and becoming defensive if attacked.
  2. They often don’t see the bigger picture and are more concerned with production than safety.
  3. They consider safety to primarily be the responsibility of the safety department.

Leadership on all levels have to buy in to safety culture; otherwise, resistance prevails. Jumping in and making lots of changes, especially if many supervisors don’t see the benefit or feel that there isn’t really a big enough problem makes creating change almost impossible. This is why keystone changes are so important.

Keystone Changes: Identify one key change that:

  1. Is simple
  2. Is easy to implement
  3. Leadership will cooperate
  4. Will produce a great result
  5. Is trackable

If the change you propose is simple and easy to implement, it should be met with little resistance. It requires very little effort for others, especially leadership to cooperate. Figure out that one thing that can make a big impact and when everyone sees the results, they will say, “Wow!” In the future, they will be more open to taking another step with you. Some people need data, so if the change implemented is data driven and you measure the progress, you can use that data to show everyone the impact that they helped to make. Helping others to see that they are part of positive change that makes an impact will also make them more eager to cooperate with you in the future.

To Illustrate:  For a long time, I have tried different diets.  None of them worked for me. I tried the gym but could never stay motivated. I tried making a daily food journal but found myself too busy to stick with it.

After learning about keystone habits, I decided to commit to doing one easy thing every day. Every morning when I wake up, I stand on the scale and see how much I weigh. Standing on the scale in the morning is simple and very easy to do. It is trackable because I could see my weight every day.

When I did that simple action every day, something began to happen. I was more conscious of my weight and not in a good way. I began noticing that suddenly, I was making healthier food choices. I didn’t want to waste my calories. Little by little, the scale reflected some weight loss.

The motivation from the progress caused me to make the next key step. I downloaded an app that made it simpler to follow my eating. With this, I was able to make decisions about my food when I began to reach my calorie goals for the day. In the past I tried a food journal but it didn’t work because for me it was too much commitment. This time however I found a simpler way and I was motivated by a measure of success already. The weight continued to drop slowly.

Afterward, I started taking long walks and feeling more energetic. Now I continued to track not only my slow weight loss, but also my increased vitality. Long walks led to some jogging, which led to biking.  I then found myself signing up for a sprint triathlon, adding swimming to the mix.

By the end of the triathlon, I had lost over 25 pounds and felt better than ever! All this started with one key simple habit change that created domino effect of positive changes resulting in a huge impact!

Each company is different. If you want positive safety culture change, you must identify that one simple, easy to implement, measurable change that leaders will likely support and has potential for continuous, positive, chain-reaction transformation.

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