Success is a science
Zero ≠ Safe. Start looking for the conditions for success. Engage everyone in the discovery, learning and continuous improvement with that. Move risk up the delivery chain. Reduce variability on the sharp-end and harvest improvement in every aspect of your business. SafetyChangers, become BusinessChangers!
Last week I came across a delightful interview between Safety on Tap’s Andrew Barret with John Green (link to the interview at the bottom). John explains that he is a safety veteran with some 40 years of experience. And how he is moving away from mainstream safety management in search for a new approach. What I particularly like about John’s vision is how his quest for safety led him to breaking away from the focus on incidents and rates, the negatives. Let’s focus on why things succeed and how we can continuously improve the conditions for success. For that we need to engage into close collaboration between all levels and all disciplines in our organisations.
1. Zero ≠ Safe
The idea that absence of accidents implicates safeness is false. More and more organisations who seem to be successful in their quest for ‘zero’ find themselves surprised and shocked when serious incidents occur ‘against all odds’.
Alternatively, John explains, he is focussing on recreating conditions for success.
2. From Root Cause to Conditions for Success
Backed by his professional experience, he is focussing on recreating conditions for success, rather than incident analysis. Rather than focussing on incidents, their root causes and implementing improved ‘barriers’ alone, he suggests to shift focus to analysing the work as done versus the work as planned. Especially when we engage everyone between the ‘sharp end’ and the ‘office’, we will continually discover and learn as a basis for continuously improving the conditions for success.
3. Move risk up, away from the sharp end
On a more tactical note, he suggests that conditions for success generally improve when we ‘move risk up in the delivery chain’. Away from the sharp end’s ad hoc work sphere and towards the systemic arena where we decide on things like design, HR and procurement.
Let’s continue to engage everyone on the shop floor and the head quarter office to see, communicate and collaborate on opportunities for improving conditions for success.
Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result — Oscar Wilde
Bonus: SafetyChangers become BusinessChangers
From John Green’s experience, the result is that the quest for safety, via engaging everyone, leads to improved results in every aspect of the business. In John’s own words, safety is a ‘trojan horse’ to improving the work and the outcomes of that work as a whole. What an important bonus! I like that perspective: SafetyChangers become BusinessChangers!