Safety Leadership Team – Team Approach to Safety
Last month we started talking about the Essential Components of a Team Approach to Safety. Essentially, the Team Approach provides the framework to build a lasting safety culture and rests on four pillars:
- The Safety Leadership Team
- Safety Team Members
- Safety Administrators
- Safety Professionals
While all four components are equally important to achieve a consistent culture of safety, the Safety Leadership Team is vital to direct the culture. Stephen Covey, author of the bestseller 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once said “If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow.” The Safety Leadership Team has the unique opportunity to water the flowers they want to grow – but first, you must define those flowers and determine ways to water them. In other words, good people (and the team) are only as good as the systems they work within.
Here are 5 steps to Build a Safety Leadership Team to Shapes the Culture of the Organization:
Select Safety Leadership Team Members from Varying Departments
Having a cross-functional team means the unique needs of each department can be represented. This typically looks like selecting an executive manager, operations manager, finance personnel, maintenance supervisor, human resources member, and a safety professional. These members may have hundreds of employees who report to them or just a few. No matter the case, they have the leadership seat on the team and buy-in, thus the ability to influence employees.
Set Clear Objectives
As mentioned earlier in the Stephen Covey quote, “you have to water the flowers you want to grow,” but what if you don’t know what the ‘flowers’ are? Taking the time up-front to determine what you want to see happen will give employees an understanding of where the organization is going.
Listen to Safety Team Members and Administrators
Safety Team Members and Administrators are typically hourly workers who have strong credibility with the whole workforce. Since they’re the ones who operate the machinery, use power tools, or operate in hazardous conditions, and many times are the unrecognized experts in the field and likely to know what needs to change. It’s important for the Safety Leadership Team to talk with these employees regularly to garner feedback on what needs to change. Listen closely when talking with them, take their recommendations seriously, and invest in them.
Meet Regularly – and Frequently
The separation of time and space will weaken any process, thus the Safety Leadership Team is only effective if it meets regularly and frequently. Set a schedule for a regular meeting time (this could be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly) and stick to the schedule. Meeting on a regular basis allows for current issues to be discussed together and solved in a timely manner, which leads to the next step…
Execute, Execute, Execute
This technology and methodology is proven over decades, the real challenge is execution. Don’t just talk about the problems, build and implement practical, process driven ways to solve them. Be prepared on where this can be delegated towards – perhaps a Safety Team Member, Safety Administrator or Safety Professional. No matter the plan you determine, the point is this: don’t let ideas stay in the conference room. Execute on the ideas and continue to bring the culture of safety to everyone in the organization.
Implementing these 5 steps can produce dramatic results in the organization you lead. If you haven’t yet developed a Safety Leadership Team, start thinking about individuals who would operate well as team members. As we’ve implemented the Team Approach to Safety in client companies, we’ve seen incredible changes in the culture of the organization. However, producing those changes takes time and it all starts with Leadership.
Interested in implementing the Team Approach to Safety? Contact us to start a conversation today!