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Safety Management Series – The 2nd Open Letter to the CEOs and Their Management Teams

My last Open Letter to CEOs and Their Management Teams About Safety Excellence was one of my most popular and most shared posts. So I thought I’d expand a bit on proven “activities” your Management Teams can undertake to actually manage Safety Excellence. Here’s how you do it:

1) Change Your Language

Leaders lead, followers follow and humans tend to try to accomplish what they are asked to accomplish. So if you want safe production of your corporation’s goods and services, it starts with asking for it! The way to do this is to change your leadership team’s language. During our day as leaders, it’s necessary to ask a few common and repeated questions. From the CEO to the shop floor we tend to ask these two important questions:

a) How much will it cost to get that accomplished?

b) How long will it take to accomplish?

In asking both of those questions (my guess is you asked that many times in the past week… maybe even several times TODAY) you are indicating to the people in your corporation that time and money is important to you. GREAT, it should be. It is why you are there. To be effective and efficient. That being said, here’s a better way to ask those two questions to add a safe production focus to the assignments:

a) How much will it cost to get that “safely” accomplished?

b) How long will it take to safely accomplish?

Seems simple enough. Try it, you’ll like the outcome but only if you do the next two steps consistently…

2) Show sincere Interest In Their Answers

Now that we’ve indicated that safe production is what you’re interested in, it will be a total waste of your time and theirs if you don’t follow up. When they answer your two questions… ask follow-up questions like:

a) What are we going to do to make it safe?

b) Is there anything I can do to help that happen?

3) Boss! We got it done!

OK now the final step in really impacting what your people do to make your corporation’s work safe! Provide some follow up and consequences when they tell you the work is done safely. Here are a few suggestions!

a) Great news on the project’s progress. I’m really interested in how we managed the safety of the process. Can you tell me how you were involved and if anyone should be thanked for going out of their way to make the project safe?

b) Have you got any ideas how we can improve our safe production of the next project?

I can assure you that if you haven’t had these conversations in your corporation on a consistent basis, starting to will have a huge impact. Your management team will start to volunteer the answers to your “safe production” questions before you even ask them. Why? Because you have demonstrated your true interest in safe production! It’s not magic… it’s called leadership!

By the way… STOP saying Safety is #1! Safe Production should be the focus! Don’t put safety and production into competition. They MUST happen at the same time!

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