From time to time when I am introduced in public, I get questioned about the three initials that follow my name—PhD. People in my community seldom know I have such a degree. The few that do know sometimes give me their humorous definitions of what the three letters mean to them: Piled Higher and Deeper, Push Harder Dummy, Post Hole Digger and the like. You may very well have some others to add to this humorous list.
I notice I have a tendency to over explain what I am saying to the people in the audience. “Mike, please just give me the Cliff Notes version” is not an uncommon comment. Recently, I spent some time working at UTEP with Roger Gonzalez, the department head of Leadership Engineering at this Texas university. Roger has quite a number of academic credentials that go way beyond my PhD. As members of the group we were working with began to wax eloquently, Roger piped in with some words of wisdom, “Tell me what I need to know versus what you know.”
This caused me to reflect on all the conference presentations, project report outs, safety committee meetings, briefings, and one-on-one talks that we have all endured for endless hours. It also caused me to think about the safety professional discussions that have often gone way beyond what is needed. This kind of ad nausea download truly decreases our effectiveness when it comes to the needed, value-added safety messages we must deliver.
Before you or I launch into the next long monologue diatribe, let us consider and deliver what is needed rather than piling it higher and deeper.