Paul's presentation of his experiences was very moving, and inspirational. I believe him being here to talk through and being able to ask questions first hand was great.
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!