Monday, May 19, 2014

Itch – Solving safety issues

As I was growing up, my Papa would sit me down to discuss reality, philosophies and other aspects of life.  He would often pose questions that forced me to think through to a conclusion.  As I grew older, the questions he posed grew in complexity and difficulty.  Inevitably, there would come a time when I was stumped and took a guess. I, of course, didn’t always guess correctly. 

At this crossroads, he didn’t belittle me for an improper answer or give me the correct answer. Instead, Papa would engage in an interactive process that built my ability to solve the evermore complex issues he posed, and those I would inevitably face  later in life.  His technique was to ask, “How does this scratch the itch?”  The resulting give and take discussions not only lead to a plausible solution, but it also taught me the value of digging deeper and working with others to deliver stronger solutions.

As safety leaders, we are often confronted with situations that are challenging to answer and require real depth to get to the correct solution.  I have found it helpful to ask how the initial solution that is posed truly scratches the itch that needs to be addressed and fixed.  The resultant thought process and discussions always seem to deliver a better scratch to the itch we need to resolve.

The Doc      

1 comment:

  1. Every one has a need that must be adressed. How we listen determines if we are eliminating the itch or agravating the itch.
    Communications can be compared to the housekeeping on a job site.Every body has an interpretation of what should be organized and the level of importance.
    As safety leader's, the task at hand appears to be seeing to ensure that the itch is clearly understood in order to identify the cause. The term someone dropped the ball occurs only when any attempt to have a matter adressed stops dead in its tracks by failing to communicate and follow up.
    What typically would be common sense to clean up a job site or process of operation snowballs into "someone else can do it". Apathy does not just appear. It is a situation that was never handled and like the itch swelled, created heated friction and has now infected the area (s) of work.
    Listen, document, explore suggestions to remove itch. Try out and refine methods to ensure the teamwork does not deteriorate into delegation.


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