Monday, March 28, 2011

Choices: Where to focus our efforts

I have received a lot of good advice in my life. Near the top of the list is “Life is not made by the dreams that you dream, but by the choices you make.” Your life today is the sum of all the choices you have made up to this point.
We need to embrace the things that are excellent. In any given situation we have a whole continuum of choices – ranging from really rotten choices, to the mediocrity of average, to good and then those that are truly excellent. How can we move across this continuum past our natural impulses all the way to excellent choices?
Often it’s challenging to make the most excellent choice, especially when there aren’t many others joining us. Sometimes the process of making the right choices may feel as if our own desires and freedoms have been suppressed. However, in our personal life choices that are focused on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control seem awfully good standards for which to aim.
And in the work world I like sincerity, honesty, engagement, process excellence, integrity, self control, humility, respect for others and the energetic work needed to accomplish what we are paid to do.
What would you like to add to this list to make it personal for you?
The Doc

Monday, March 21, 2011

Crutches: Realities of injured employees

What do crutches bring to your mind? I remember things like old jokes about “rubber crutches” or some dated cartoons showing old guys racing on crutches. Recently my perspective has changed a lot! Right after posting the blog article “Crotch Rocket” which deals with personal risk assessment, I slipped while skiing, dislocated an ankle and broke some leg bones. The old jokes just didn’t seem to be funny anymore. As I have had to live and travel while on crutches, I have discovered things like transportation security agents’ need to pay closer attention to anyone with metal parts. Then there are the realities of the collateral affects of pain meds. Or how about the surprising care shown by all kinds of people who will try and help those who are in need? Ahh, what a pleasant surprise!

These significant personal lifestyle changes caused me to consider in greater depth the fateful realities of our injured employees. They get to live with the pain, the inconveniences, the medication side effects, and the family and acquaintance relationship realities that just shouldn’t have happened.
We will all continue to be exposed to tribulations in the current world in which we live. And with this in mind, what are the risks in our workplaces and lifestyles which we need to take a determined leadership role in delivering permanent solutions?
The Doc

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fork Your Own Broncs – Taking Responsibility for the Problems Facing You

Both the past and the current culture of living on a farm or a ranch is that of self sufficiency.If your horse is hungry, no one else is there to feed it.You have to fork (feed hay to) your own broncs (broncos or horses). 

For many years I earned a living helping organizations escape bankruptcy and become profitable. Obviously improving safety was an important part of the turn around necessities. These sick companies continually looked for someone else to solve the problems they had created. They were trying to live in a world of “The government should do... The union should… the management should…. The engineers should…This never worked.

The “Theys” of the world had to become the “us” that had the problem. We had to learn to fork our own broncs.  To paraphrase Michael Topf; “You shall not ‘should on’ anyone.” The expression I use in these circumstances is; “Count on them for absolutely nothing.” In other words, what can we do within our own resource limits to solve the problems we have? 

Instead of looking for excuses that keep us from solving problems, we need to list the barriers we face and begin breaking down those barriers with the resources we can control. And from a safety profession perspective I have learned that I can count on the many and various OSHA organizations for ‘absolutely nothing.’

In troubled organizations, once we began the process of taking responsibility for our own actions we could begin solving our own problems.  To achieve this kind of culture requires a team approach that gets the organization using all its personnel resources.  The Lone Ranger approach does not work.  We need a team of dedicated people, with diverse talents, relentlessly tackling the problems that face us.  And it takes time to build the team, to learn the skills, to solve the next wave of problems, to operate ‘Autogenously’ (an engineering term for self sustaining fire).  Just like on the farm, it takes time to learn how to fork our own broncs and all the other activities that are necessary to survive and excel.

What are the safety broncs you need to start forking yourself and not waiting for others to do so?

The Doc

Monday, March 7, 2011

Make My Day – What challenges you

On occasion my brother-in-law shows up with some dated movies he would like to watch with us. Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are some of his favorite actors to watch. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard Dirty Harry say “Make my day!” 

Well of course this has some kind of safety implication.What Dirty Harry is really doing is challenging his counterpart to give him an assignment that utilizes his unique talents to solve a problem his counterpart is struggling with.  Now I bet you never thought of this in that way, did you?

My challenge to you all is to go out and find those issues in your workplace and its culture that can “make your day!”  What does your organization have that fits your unique talents and training and would benefit from your engagement?  Your involvement and leadership in these issues will not only make your day personally, but will also make for many more safe days for your organization and its people.

The Doc

Credit: Image 1

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