Paul was an important part of this course. As it happened to him and not somebody in a DVD. It really brought it home accidents do happen to real people and not an actor.
The Opposite Veiw
Have you ever stood somewhere to carry out a task struggling to work out how to get that nut on, and then suddenly someone comes along and puts it on for you with ease, and you’re then standing there feeling a little silly, wondering how they did it?
With a smile on their face they tell you that they are left-handed and it was easy as they explain how to reach in and put it on.
Having been left-handed for 27 years, until I had a disagreement with a screw conveyor. I always had to take the opposite view on how to fix machines. It was natural to use both hands to carry out tasks around machines, I say that even though, since my incident I suffer from a condition called Retro Amnesia, I can’t remember being left-handed, there are some things that I carry out today that make me lean towards my left hand side, especially around sport.
2 years into talking to organisations around the country about that fateful day, it is or isn’t so, surprising that organisations still don’t recognise the importance that people see the world in different angles or views. And then carry those tasks out in a similar fashion, with Safety Advisors scratching their heads, with why would you want to stand there or get in there to carry out that task.
On average 10-12% of the workforce will be left-handed(1), a small amount, but a big enough amount that can cause issues when trying to understand why would someone would want to get in a position that would cause them harm.
The organisations that I have visited very rarely consider writing risk assessments or safe work procedures that factor in the left-handed operator, or engineer. This doesn’t mean that organisations need to rush out and write a whole lot of new risk assessments or procedures, but it will mean that an extra little time will be needed to think outside to box in how that left-handed employee will see that task and the hazards that they face that are not always seen.
That day when I had a simple task to clear that screw was complicated because to clear the screw I had to turn my back away from my shift mate to put my left arm in the screw, where a right handed employee would have kept their eyes on the same shift mate, as to put your right arm in meant turning their body towards the shift mate.
It would be interesting to see whether the left-handed employee appears more in accident books as research may suggest(2) that the left handed employee has less spatial awareness. It’s not all bad news employing that left-handed employee, according to Mensa(3) that 20% of its members are left-handed, so get them in that research and design department, to sort out that issue on the floor or new machinery.
In a recent survey from Lefthandersdat.com(4) left handed employees would prefer to be in your IT or Marketing Departments.
Finally, looking at the HSE stats(5) around 600 people a year suffer from an amputation of some kind (Finger/s or toe/s to full arm/s or leg/s) how many are above average to left handers is hard to say. One good thing that it is find left handed stroke victims(6) recover faster than right handers, it may be said that it could be said that amputees may recover faster as well. My own experience would say yes I did recover faster, as the world is set up for the right hander, so adjusting to a new life on the opposite side, was like a duck taking to water.
While walking the dog around where I live and seeing all the Christmas decorations up. It got me thinking about how Christmas traditions are created and evolved over the years to where they have evolved to day.
Take the humble Christmas tree, it sits in the corner of the living room decorated with everything that twinkles and other than the presents under it, is the centre piece of the festivities.
Do we really understand where the idea came from and how it evolved to what it is today? Some do, but most people haven't a clue or couldn't care less.
For Europeans Pagan's they have been bringing fir tree branches into their houses for hundreds of years (if not thousands), as it was believed that it would bring spring forward. For Britain and its relationship with the Christmas tree was started by George the third's wife Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in 1800. It wasn't until Prince Albert married Queen Victoria that having a Christmas tree up become popular, especially first with the upper middle class and then the rest of the population.
Now bring all that history and tradition into the organisation that you work for (even the industry) and relate it to your (and it's) health, safety and environmental culture.
There are questions that need to be asked and answered to really understand why things are done the way they are and how it has evolved over the years.
Take my industry (paper) when I started as an 18 year old, I was paired with the most oldest wisest gentleman who taught me everything he knew (the good habits as well as the bad). As a naive youngster just out of college how did I know any different (the past 13 years was play learning behind a desk)?
One thing did stick in my mind (other than the training), when I was told that I wouldn't be a papermaker until I had lost a finger! At the time you don't think anything of it (you have that embarrassing laugh), but as time goes by, I look back on that comment and think how bloody stupid! You start to wander, was it said so to cover his blushes and embarrassment or for mine when and if I lost a finger?
I'm glad to say that the industry that I still have a passion for has grown up and injuries are a fraction of what they use to be because we have matured and learnt from the past.
Over the years we adapt something introduced to yourselves until it becomes ours, we own it and it's now our tradition to hand down to the next generation. Who will take what they like best and works well for them and then put their twist on the tradition to be handed down again. The flow just keeps going as trends come in and out again like the tide of the sea.
Organisations and Industries are evolving every minute of the day to make things their own, so it fits into their view of the world. This is very much like trying to get health, safety and environmental policies, risk assessments and procedures to fit in with the organisation and its culture (traditions), sometimes you can't use a genetic one fits all situations, you adapt each part to fit best the need you have at that particular time.
With this in mind we now have to move the situations to the sharp end, when things are not going so great and tempers are getting a little short because the flow in work is not progressing like it should, things start to get adapted to get the work done. Once it is done once, the genie is out the bottle for every time the flow is disrupted the adapted solution is used. This is when tradition is established and evolves for every new generation, until someone draws a line in the sand and has the courage and conviction to say 'STOP! Can we please look at this as I think we can do this in a safer manner or there is a piece of equipment that will help improve the task'.
Wishing you and your families a peaceful Christmas and a new year full of opportunities!
IOSH Food and Drink Conference
I had the pleasure to attend and speak at the IOSH Food and Drink Conference last month, being a baker in a previous life, before this change in direction into Health and Safety, it was interesting to hear the issues and solutions from a different sector of industry (normally construction and manufacturing).
Actually, when you listen to the speakers presenting and start talking to the other delegates the issues the sector has to deal with are no more different from other industry sectors.
The only thing different are the way solutions that are put in place to get the buy in and enhancement to a better health and safety culture.
At the end of last week, I received my official feedback from the conference, as it is always good to see where you can improve and the general comments generated about the speech. Well, I could not be more pleased with the results on the presentation, with the delivery score coming out as 92% excellent and 96% with the content being excellent.
Comments that followed were:
· Paul Mahoney was inspirational
· Paul was excellent
· Paul Mahoney's presentation and attitude was very good, we will be asking him to attend and present to our site (Allied Bakeries London)
· Paul Mahoney was inspirational to be able to stand up a recount what happened takes guts, you could hear and see the emotion, we would bring him to our sites to speak to our teams (Allied Bakeries)
· Paul Mahoney's presentation was very inspirational
Therefore, what is my secret to delivering a presentation? That would be telling and successful people do not give away their secrets do they? As far as I am concerned, there is not no magical secrets, just some basic rules to follow.
· Get yourself a mentor/coach that you can bounce ideas off, because they can see and feel if it is going to work with your audience.
· Use pictures as much as possible, as most people are visual and relate to pictures more than words. What is that saying a picture paints a thousand words?
· Use the odd video to break up the speech, as people have an attention span of 8 seconds to 8 minutes (according to new research). If need be get them involved in an exercise, to break the speech up..
· Make it sad, make it fun, but make sure people join you on a journey through the speech (remember the speech is a story start, middle and end)..
· Be passionate about what your subject is going to be concerning.
Do not hide behind the lectern, come and face your audience. They want to see you not an upper body behind a box.
Over the last 4 years, I have travelled to Buffalo, New York and even Adu Dhabi in the UAE, plus all around the UK talking about how a group of workers and managers (including myself) missed the signs that we were heading for disaster and the after effects.
It has been brilliant meeting some fantastic people and seeing how things are made on site visits, and I am not knocking this because at some level there has been an impact in getting people to work and live that little bit more safely and healthy. This is where the shooting star part comes in, as with some people I must come in as a meteorite (shooting star) in the night’s sky. I show up as a bright streak across the work site sky and then disappear over the horizon.
Yes, while I am visible it makes an impact and people think about their working conditions. What they should change or wish they could change, but then they go back to work and most is forgotten because reality kicks in because they believe it will not happen to them or their pressure to the delivery of the job takes over, does management (senior/middle) really want it.
Actually, I am not just describing myself, but trainers across the country. The impact is there (but, how long and/or deep is that impact on delegates?). Only by asking individuals will we know. What it does mean is asking them (learner/delegate) not just after the course, but in the future (months later).
What is required (my opinion) is that repeated presence where regular visits are set up with people to remind them the importance of health and safety, plus the significance of their behaviour on keeping the standards high in achieving the organisation’s health and safety targets.
It is a bit like a comet, it circles the sun every 50 years or so and when it gets so far from the sun it starts to leave a trail across the night sky. This trail stays in the night sky for some time, before it disappears from sight, but not before it has left a deep impression on the memory (I can still remember seeing Halley’s Comet as a 14 year old in 1986).
Therefore, with this in mind the trainer needs to become an envoy to the organisation. For me it would start with my talks and then split the slides up into team clusters where Q&A sessions are held in their working environment to discuss at a deeper level to the how and why things are done around here.
A fresh eyes approach can be employed (good and bad situations and behaviours) and reported to the safety committee at their meetings. As well as promoting health and safety standards internally within the organisation alongside the health and safety department.
The envoy promotes the organisation at conferences and how having an external agent increases the standards because they bring new thinking to the organisation and increases the communication about health and safety practices and behaviour, as they are an independent agent.
The envoy is not the person that drives the enhancement in a safer and healthier culture; they are an agent in helping that enhancement in culture because to get to a higher safer healthier standard the drive has to come from the people within any organisation to want to grow.
‘I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog’. - Joichi Ito
Just by looking around we can actually draw inspiration, in how to improve the culture we live and work in.
This time the humble snail can help us in the next step to a better culture. So why the snail? Well, it goes back a few weeks while reading the Telegraph and one of Michael Deacons articles and he was saying about have you noticed that when the heavens open the humble snail comes out and is then crushed under foot or wheel because the desire to be out in the rain is too much! They seem to be the only creature to go against Darwin law of evolution and evolve.
Well isn’t that a bit like some work colleagues we have worked with or still do. No matter how the rest of us learn and move forward to an improved culture. Somewhere in a dark corner a person will emerge and do what they have always done because it works and it doesn’t need improving because that’s how it is and always will be!
What they don’t see is that giant foot hoovering over head as they do it their way. Now they will in all probability get away with it and never get crushed by that giant foot. Yes, they have the near miss, but hay that’s life these things happen. They accept that accidents happen and we just need to move on.
They think that the shell on their back will protect them cos they are a man. They know what they are doing. They even argue that we have gone too far the other way and the modern human doesn’t like risks.
The trouble with being a safety professional we need to get that right balance of getting the snail to evolve, but also to encourage that culture to push the boundaries in a controlled manner, but how do we evolve without risk?
My speech is evolving all the time because I pick up on things said or wrote and think that play with that and the only thing if I know if it will work is to test it on my next audience. It’s a bit like the new facilitation course that I believe will help improve cultures, as it will explore a new way of getting the answers that are out there, but are kept under wraps because the person thinks no one wants to know or listen.
My coach and mentor Dan Terry is in the same situation with his coaching and leading course. It’s new for a start because the whole idea of the course is to draw out the leadership style you display and bring the coach out to. While your on the course it’s challenges you mentally and physically. The whole idea is for the course to challenge the delegate because how do we evolve and grow, if we are not challenged?
Health and safety is not about wrapping people up in cotton wool. Health and safety should be about managing the hazards and getting people to evolve and grow to recognise the hazards around them and encourage ownership of their workplaces.
I had an enquiry at the end of the week about the possibility of running a Lego Serious Play Facilitation session at a conference. During the phone call the gentleman asked the very question that all people involved with health and safety are looking for. - 'What does health and safety look like?' The only issue was he couldn't see what it would look like using Lego. I could not answer that question as it was a phone call and the limit of communication via a phone line is the lack of visual interaction.
Well, I thought I need to answer that question? The answer is in the bricks (while training we were always told trust the bricks). So while I sit in my hotel room near Chesterfield on a Sunday night, I decided to build my answer (using the bricks available in a window exploration bag. Not all bricks used).
You can see the answer in the attached picture below (built in 3 minutes, any longer and you start to question the question and build what you think other want). So let me explain my answer.
Health and safety is about getting everybody to see the hazards and identifying where they are. It's about providing a barrier to keep them safe. All the time being transparent what they can and can't do, and being clear why this is the case. Finally, it's about getting everybody to have ideas of their own, and own it as well to how health and safety can be improved in the workplace.
What would you build? And Why? It's not just about your model that you built, it is what others build too. And getting that shared model that everybody can commit to, in improving that culture where everyone goes home and returns to work everyday.
So if you want to explore what your lads and lassies would build for a healthier and safer culture then get in touch. By the way why not build and share your models and lets build a better culture together.
It is sometimes weird where them moments of creative thinking comes from! I have just had one today from the most unlikely sources the film Revolver. Actually, tell a lie it started yesterday evening, I was watching TV and the adverts were on and a tune accompanying one of these adverts was a haunting tune and I knew that I had heard it from the film Revolver, but couldn't remember the name of it.
Well, searching this morning for the name of the tune (Gnossienne "No.1" (from Erik Satie performed by Alessandra Celletti). While reading about how the film was panned by the so called critics. I also read that Guy Richie was inspired by Kabbalah to make the film, so like you do I clicked the link and came across this story on Wikipedia.
'Four men entered pardes — Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher (Elisha ben Abuyah), and Rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma looked and went mad; Acher destroyed the plants; Akiva entered in peace and departed in peace'.
This got me thinking about the characters at in an organisation and how they react to things happening especially when the business wants to improve the culture.
These are the four characters across all levels of the organisation. Even though they are spread across the business, you will find that some are more visible than others in the many layers and departments.
But what makes them tick to act the way they do? Well, looking a bit deeper into Kabbalah and I came across the type of approaches (Wikipedia)
So, if we break it down to the following questions, then answers will appear in helping enhance the culture that has evolved over time.
Sometimes its not about new thinking that drives improvements, but reading old texts and revamping them for the modern world to make them fit in the environments that we encounter everybody.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A COURSE that will deliver something new, inspire the participants to the next level and get them to commit to what is said in the training course. Then the answer could be Lego Serious Play.
So why use Lego Serious Play? The methodology has 4 benefits over other traditional courses.
The course methodology is 'HARD FUN' it's not about people building models out of Lego and going back to their childhood. It's about drawing out the answers within the participant that has not been talked about before, as they have not had a chance or believe that they would not be listened too. While the answers are explored within the group, which can be hard. It is fun too, as the team work together building individual and team models.
The methodology encourages people to explore and navigate around the model built by asking questions about it and not interrogating the person. The participants involved in the course are encouraged to negotiate a shared model or landscape in which they can all commit to in helping them move forward and develop further as a team.
'USUALLY THE WACKY PEOPLE HAVE THE BREAKTHROUGHS. THE 'SMART' PEOPLE DON'T' - Burt Rutan
Several Videos from YouTube (these open in new window)
So, if you would like a taster session to see if it would help your employees (whatever their level) in encouraging a safer, healthier culture. Get in contact to arrange a session.
This week I attend a facilitation course to run Lego Serious Play, you may think how can this make a difference to my organisation?
Well, it changes the way people get involved with the questions being asked, especially with cultural change. The methodology of the serious play thinking is that everybody is involved in the session as they lean in, building their ideals in real time and giving that out of the box answer.
As everybody is involved it can stop that poor survey response because the session becomes the survey and everybody has to be involved and respond. As the other members of the session questions the model, not the person. So, a strategy evolves in front of your eyes and in your hands.
Health and safety can benefit and be improved as well as instead of people sitting around, arms crossed and looking at either the floor or ceiling, they get involved as they are invited to take part and express their views.
There is no PowerPoint, no flipcharts and no sitting around listening to someone teach a subject,. It is lean in, involving everyone and fun with a goal in mind.
Plato said 'You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation'. Nearly 2500 years later we are starting to see how right he was. A session can last a few hours to a couple of days depending how deep you want to go.
Play brings the best out of us and it gives a new light to areas that have become stale and run out of ideas. It allows people to join in where before there were not involved or felt part off the process. It makes ideas easier to see as they are there on the table staring us in the face.
As most people are either visual or kinaesthetic when they learn a large majority of employees are involved straightaway, the auditory learners are still involved as they are included at the storytelling and Q&A. It is a very much win - win situation when it comes to moving things forward in the right direction.
Other uses for the Lego Serious Play to help the organisation can be coaching and mentoring employees (any level) or mindfulness sessions to unlocking employees stress,
If you are interested in developing employees and/or the organisation then please get in touch to discuss your requirements in going to new frontiers.
I love chess, its a game that gets you thinking not just about your move, but that of your opponents as you try and second guess what their next move is and maybe the next couple after that.
One of the biggest moves in chess is the queen sacrifice, where you give up the most powerful piece on the board. It takes a great player to do such a move, because most will hang on to the queen for as long as possible, hoping to win or draw a game with it.
Sometimes for the good we have to sacrifice something at work, even though at the time it looks a weird move and everybody is thinking have you finally, lost their mind.
This is where a great employee differs from the rest. To change a culture (especially, for a healthier and safer one) everybody has got to learn to sacrifice a little something to help change things for the better. If they don't things will never change and more than likely in the end they will lose everything, as they try and hold on to everything the got.
It's about letting people see the bigger picture and see that the little sacrifice being made will benefit not only the business, but themselves as well. It's that win-win situation for all concerned.
None of us like to wear PPE (mainly because its uncomfortable and at times makes the job a little awkward) but that little sacrifice will help us be safer for now and healthier in the future.
Most of us know the story of the great Anglo-Saxon King Cnut sitting in a chair on the sea shore trying to stop the tide rising passed his chair, but it still came in getting his shoes and legs wet. So, why has this got anything to do with modern day health and safety?
The answer is loads, as the health and safety advisor is like King Cnut, each day they go to the sea shore and try and command the rising tide to stop and go back. And this is where most fail because they command the tide to go back, they don't work with the tide.
The tide can be seen as the workers out on site, they come in each day and go out again. Sometimes they are whipped up by poor morale, commercial & peer pressure and what is happening at home. So things become unpredictable and dangerous as minds are not where they should be.
The role of the health and safety advisor is changing, it's not about pointing the finger and shouting the regulations, its now about working with and listening to the people out on site to clear the issues. The health and safety advisor needs to use the people as the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) they are the ones who will help guide a business to a healthier and safer culture.
You can't stop the tide, but you can work with it. If only King Cnut had a local tide table.
Paul Mahoney wrote this blog as a response to when he attended the IOSH North West Tri Branch conference in Widnes at the beginning of June.
Before you start reading this blog, NO, it is not an early Christmas cracker joke. It relates to slides in my presentations inspiring other to work in a healthier and safer manner.
So, starting with the fish, what does that relate to concerning H&S? It relates to peoples working environments. There is a West African proverb that states, ‘Fish are the last to recognise water’ It is true the fish is the last to recognise that it is swimming in water. It is not until you hook the fish out onto the riverbank that it realises that it lived in water.
Now take people at work, they are the last to recognise the working environment they work in every day. This because over time things that once were considered dangerous or unhealthy merge into the background and disappear from sight.
This loss of environmental awareness now leads on to the loss of fear. In his book VALUE-BASED SAFETY PROCESS – Improving Your Safety Culture With Behaviour-Based Safety. Terry McSween states ‘Complacency refers to the loss of the fear of injury that typically motivates employees to work safely.’
Now say that exact quote to a person who has worked on the shop floor for 25 years without injury or a near miss. What would be the normal response? It would be probably be a roll of the eyes and the internal voice saying not this again.
What about if I now rephrase that quote into this question ‘When did you lose the butterflies at work?’ So, what would the response be now? First, you would get a look that says sorry, but are you MAD*? Moreover, yes, they are right, but it is said to *Make A Difference to a healthier, safer culture. Especially, if it gets the person thinking differently about the job they do.
We all more or less remember our first day at work, especially if it involved being trained around machinery. You had a tight ball in your chest, you was not sure where to stand to operate the machinery or the button/s to press to operate it. Now, fast forward to now, the question has to be when did lose that tight ball in your chest? I am going to guess you cannot remember.
When we were kids and we had that tight ball in our chests, our parents would say more often or not that we had butterflies. Over time we grow up and we just call it ‘being nervous’. That nervous feeling actually keeps us alive; it keeps us on our toes, as we are stay aware of our surroundings. As time ticks by that nervous, feeling disappears, just like letting butterflies out of a jar.
The final animal is starfish. Anybody who has listened to my presentation would of heard me use a story concerning starfish washed up onto a beach. If you haven’t heard the story. I use an adapted story like the one below.
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,” I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along
You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied
“Made a difference to that one”
Health and Safety should not be hard to put into place; it helps actually makes good organisations great because it is where people want to work.
Sometimes as the people who make that difference to people’s lives at work, as we put in place the health and safety regulations, we need to take a step back and think out the box, to get that little bit more buy in from the people we are affecting in their work environments. We have to be a little crazy sometimes.
Talking of crazy, how many people thought that Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons were insane showing a video to an audience and asking them to count the passes?
Now, how many Health and Safety professionals show the video to see if their delegates spot the…
If it means looking at Health and Safety through the eyes of a child to get that, buy in or take us back to our childhoods, then so let it be. Every little step helps improve a safer working culture. It is normally the little things in life, which has the biggest impacts on that life.
If you hadn't notice the last couple of weeks there has been lots of people trying to put 4 years of hard work to good use as they hope that at the end a gold medal is placed over their neck.
4 years seems a very long time to most people, as they hope most of the time just to get through one year at a time. It is nearly 4 years since I took that little step in front of my first audience to tell them about that day and the affects and effects since.
It wasn't the most brilliant of talks as I stumbled over my words, as they disappeared from my mind. I was also challenged by one of the delegates as he said he wouldn't or none of his colleagues would do that stupid thing that I had done. He was right it was a stupid thing to do, diving in trying to get a machine up and running again. What he couldn't see was that he was doing the same, as he described why he had scares down his neck because he scrapped the slag off the molten metal.
I'm getting off track (no pun intended) when I look back now it must be like all them sports men and women out in Rio, they must of faced times when they could just of turned their backs and walk away from it all, but something drives them to keep going and beat the challenge ahead.
That's how I look at the challenge of inspiring others to work safer and go home everyday to their love ones. There is at times going to be that hurdle just a little bit to high and you just can't see a way over. You start to get angry as the more you try the more you fail. The challenge looks like its got the better of you, but then one day you see a different way of doing things and the hurdle appears tiny and you power ahead to the next challenge.
What I have described is the challenging person in the room, the one who wants to point a finger at me and tell me I'm stupid for doing what I did. They are right I was and if only I could turn back time, I can't as much as I wish to be in my little mill doing what I was good at.
Actually, they need to point the finger at themselves as they need to tell themselves they are the stupid one because so, far they have been the lucky one not to end up in hospital.
My way of dealing with addressing the challenges of getting that healthier safer attitude is to go off at a tangent. Why as it gets people thinking as I know that one slide, one story could get the result I'm hoping for a family not receiving that phone call or knock at the door.
How to build that better team?
At the moment I reading a great book by James Kerr on the All Blacks called Legacy. It explains in basic terms why the All Blacks have been at the top of the Rugby Union world since they were formed.
Basically, everybody buys into the philology of the All Black and they accept the responsibilities given to them to be the best in the world. It's about accountability as well, where things go well they celebrate as a team and if things don’t go well they all take it on the chin.
So, what defines the modern All Black outlook to being the best in the world 'BETTER PEOPLE MAKE BETTER ALL BLACKS' it's as simple as that if the All Blacks are to be the best they need the best people, and to do this they need to invest in people.
It's not about a few leaders driving the team forward or followers gathering around a leader and going with the leader's thoughts or opinions. The All Blacks believe everybody should be the leader and in that case everyone drives the team forward.
It's not just about the present, it's about the future as well and the All Blacks have a mind set about leaving the jersey in a better place.
So, what does the All Blacks teach us about better teamwork and the bigger picture of better health and safety? The All Blacks as stated earlier in this blog, all accept the responsibilities and are accountable to the performance they put into each training session and games played.
Organisation's need to look to enhance the mind-set of the person at the sharp end and improve their teams. To do this the organisation needs to ask the following areas.
Influence - who has, who do they and why
Standards - where do they set them and why
Legacy - what do they want to leave - the organisation and at home.
These three areas have been overlooked by many because lots of organisation concentrate on the product, whether the production of it or delivery. There has been a shift recently towards people and their understanding of the world, but does the safety manager or say the production manager really know what drives the team or the members of that team separately.
I'm not saying that persons in a management role need to be a councillor to everybody or Sigmund Freud getting each employee to lay there and bare their soul. It's about understanding what inspires each member to delivery their best. (I didn't say motivate because the only person that can motivate someone is the person themselves.
So, what should the manager (leader) do to drive the team forward and leave a legacy to be proud of? I would say that for one, we need to look at Herzberg Theory on Motivation. With his study the best way to motivate (inspire) or what motivates an employee are these areas achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility and promotion. You notice that money (salary) plays very little in driving the team forward.
What Herzberg is stating is the leader (manager) needs to hold regular team meetings to praise the team with the achievements they have reached, give the team responsibility to delivering the results needed and finally, invest in the team to so they can be promoted within the organisation. Richard Branson put it best about employees at Virgin, 'we train our employees to leave Virgin, but we give them the desire to stay!'
It's about developing a team spirit where good habits are formed and where the team self-police themselves in working in a healthy and safe manner, where the organisation gets it products to market and the team have a sense of achievement and are recognised for the work done.
The leader (manager) is in a hard place because they have to balance the needs of the organisation and those of the team, and especially each member in the team. You only have to look at football teams and when a manager gets the sack, it is mainly due to losing the dressing room and a poor run of results.
This is where the leader (manager) needs to brave and realise that they can't please all the people all the time. It's about knowing what battles to fight and the ones not to fight. The leader (manager) needs to set their stall out earlier and set the standards required, but most importantly they need to keep the standards consistent, as one little slip after another will be punished by the team and all the hard work put in at the start will disappear in a puff of smoke.
It's very much like parents and children, the children asks mum for some money for sweets and she says 'NO', so, they go to dad and he says 'No', so they go back to mum, who sticks to her guns and says 'NO'. This time they start playing up around dad and because dad wants to watch the sport on the tele, he gives in and the children get the money they want. The standards are now set the children know that mum will stick firm, but dad will buckle if they play up, while he is watching sport on the tele.
So, to conclude this month's blog if an organisation is to progress with a more tight knit teams, they need to have leaders that recognise and celebrate the achievements of the team more, give them the education to go for promotion and finally the responsibility in setting the standards to deliver the product.
To do this it is about understanding what influences the team members, who set their standards and what legacy they want to leave behind them.
BETTER PURPOSE, BETTER STANDARDS, BETTER LEGACY!