Monday, July 13, 2015

Money Matters – Principles that work everywhere, including Safety

This blog is written by a guest author, Mark Dowsett. Mark is an Account Manager for Caterpillar Safety Services with extensive experience building relationships with customers on their safety culture improvement journey.

Those of us who have raised, or are raising children end up needing to have a conversation with our kids about money realities.  Such a conversation will likely go very deep if we are to ensure an understanding that leads to viable, responsible action. This includes sharing our own personal finances. Recently one of my children received the dreaded Overdraft notice and its $35 charge. This kind of trigger event needs to be a wakeup call for whoever it occurs to whether they are young or old.  It also needs to remind  professionals / parents about the importance of equipping ‘our flock’ with the ongoing training, execution and follow up which helps to ensure success in whatever activity / value needs to be learned.
This particular trigger event caused me to cover a host of items that could help our child manage their own finances. Our deep dive included things like; reviewing the cell phone bill, sharing my own credit card statement, acquiring their personal credit report, making sure to conceal the key pad when entering the passcode at the ATM, understanding pricing at the store ($3.99 vs. $4.00), understanding automobile insurance policies, budgeting and the list goes on and on. My goal is to equip them to take personal accountability to succeed, stay engaged on this topic and avoid paying (or me paying) unnecessary penalties in the short and long term. In the end, each of us, whether mentor or student, has a personal responsibility and accountability to do our own part.
And it struck me that a personal responsibility, accountability and maturity to live a culture of correct with respect to an individual’s finances is not really any different from how we should approach safety. It’s called Accountability and the same four key characteristics apply:
  • Define: Explain in simple terms your expectations and what measures will be applied to demonstrate learning, progress and excellence. Ensure any necessary training clearly maps to the defined value added expectations.
  • Train: Engage with others using tools which allow them to apply what they need to learn in a practice setting whenever possible (a video that delivers ‘check in the box’ training doesn’t count).
  • Measure: Check progress on defined expectations. This goes beyond observation and focuses on defined activities which lead to value added downstream results.  Asking open-ended questions is a process that always seems to work well (i.e., “Tell me about…?”)
  • Recognize: Deep down we all appreciate a little genuine recognition. When people complete tasks as defined, we need to take the extra minute to acknowledge their efforts.
I have witnessed firsthand as senior management demonstrates an authentic and visible approach to safety as a value and how this improves the overall safety culture.  This same authentic, visible feedback session works with our family finance issues.  In fact the same accountability model crosses any number of processes when working with family, or employees, or acquaintances who want to improve their performance no matter what the process. If we don’t follow this process, we are leaving it up to each person’s guess of what constitutes correct actions and responsibilities for important processes that affect our lives and theirs – does it matter?  You bet it does!

- Mark Dowsett, Caterpillar Safety Services

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ambassador – The safety pro at work

Business cards are an interesting and strange part of the global culture.  In the Far East business cards are carefully transferred from one person to another and likewise carefully analyzed to gain insight into the person before any business conversation begins.  In the West the business card is often tossed haphazardly onto a desk or table, then summarily dismissed as a business conversation gets into full swing.  I imagine many of us have business card collections that have hundreds of names, associated titles, pictures, languages and logos that we have collected over the years.

Are there any that attract your attention other than those with which you’ve developed a strong relationship? I have one that stood out to me; its title is simply “Ambassador.” And that brings to mind what an ambassador is:
·         A person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity
·         An important person who carefully and professionally represents their employer organization
·         An individual who develops strong relationships with their organization’s personnel
·         An individual who develops strong relationships with important people outside their organization; those people who can make a difference in improving the ambassador’s organization
·         A person who tries to improve another organization’s performance
I am sure you can add a few more characteristics of a good ambassador.  That said how can we in the safety profession be good ambassadors to the people of the world around us?

The Doc

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