Monday, April 23, 2012

Pro or Wannabe – Your personal performance realities

I recently had a chance to work with an excellent skier who gave me a great lesson in performance reality. Tom Petras loves skiing moguls and by his own standards is “pretty darn good at it.”  In an effort to improve his abilities he paid for coaching from a professional skier. Much to Tom’s chagrin the pro’s evaluation of his “pretty darn good” technique and ability came back as “a closely linked series of recoveries.”  We all had a good laugh and then discussed another acquaintance who decided to become a pro golfer even though he never really played golf until later in life. His professional coach advised a need for 10,000 hours of concentrated practice to raise his skills to a point at which he could make a valid decision whether or not “to continue to try to become a pro golfer.”

Tom and our group reached some conclusions out of these dialogues about professional performance. You need dedication, practice, drive, ability, good technique and a relentless pursuit of excellence to even come close to the execution levels of professionals who daily achieve measures accomplished by the best of the best.

Is there any parallel in safety performance? You bet! Those organizations that routinely go years without lost time or medical incidents all have a leading-edge engagement culture that has their whole organization focused on dedication, practice, drive, technique and a relentless pursuit of zero errors (incidents). Every day they practice models of process excellence and are always in search of ways to improve their performance. They do the fundamentals well and then go way beyond the basics. The rest of the pack of safety professional wannabes who have safety cultures that are pretty darn good seem to just live a culture where there is a closely linked series of recoveries.
The Doc

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