Monday, April 12, 2010

Wrestling with Pigs

Behavior Based Safety—the ground war goes on. From articles and presentations I experience there seems to be a never ending mud slinging contest. The “debate” seems to center around “unmovable objects being subjected to irresistible forces.” They go something like this:
  • Management says it’s all about employee involvement in safety
  • Union representation says it’s all about management abrogating their responsibility for safety
I am sure that you readers have heard both sides of this story on multiple occasions. And there is another similar debate that usually gets included in the dog fight:
  • Management says injuries are the result of employee mistakes
  • Union representation says poor conditions are to blame
I am sure that you all have been chased around this tree forever as well. With this, and other seemingly endless debates, I typically fall back on the old parable that my papa once done told me. It goes something like: “Don’t wrestle with pigs! You get covered with ‘fecal material’ and the pigs love it.” Yes, I believe that there are pigs on both sides of this endless wrestling match.
So what is the alternative? These endless debates are all about level one and level two issues that just don’t have a chance of delivering a sustainable zero incident safety culture. Let’s bypass these firmly entrenched islands in our war to eliminate all injuries and concentrate on what can deliver zero: Continuous Improvement teams with employees from all levels of the organization that turn complaints into goals and then work relentlessly to solve the issues. Enough debate already, move on to value added actions.
Debates won’t stop the carnage, only adult leadership focused on achieving meaningful lasting results from all those involved has a chance of winning.
Change your culture from wrestling with pigs to leading focused, action oriented excellence.
The Doc

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