Displaying items by tag: teams

Thursday, 04 February 2016 11:41

How to build that better team?



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.




Published in Blog
Tuesday, 22 December 2015 15:30

December Blog




As we come to the end of the year, we normally reflect on the year gone past and start to look forward to the new year ahead.


Do we really ask the questions that matter, to help us grow from what has happened over the past 52 weeks and what do we want for the next 52 coming up.


This leads us to the working environment do we really ask the important questions to enhance a culture, it is not about changing cultures, but enhancement of the one we already have. Building on the good things that already exist. You cannot change it as the culture has been allowed to grow and mature over time.


We are getting there with improving cultures and with that health and safety, along with the environmental impact to the outside world.


There has to this point been 3 ages:


The first age was about replacements, if a tool broke we replaced it, just like the men, women and child maimed or killed in the workplace.


The second age was about engineering things out, especially the installing of guards to stop contact with moving parts. (reactive to issues)


The third age and we are still there is about telling and informing employees what they can or cannot do. (passive active to issues)


We need to move into the forth age of interaction asking the employee what is needed and being proactive about things getting out there and being amongst the action. Finding out the everyday issues and challenges faced to get the job done to the highest standards.


This is where we can learn a lot from sport, especially from team games, take any football team from the Premier League or Football League, they train every day to get the best out of themselves. Managers and coaches are amongst the players talking, coaching and being a mentor to them.


How many organisations are like what I just described? Not, many because there has been this invisible drawbridge pulled up to stop the interaction, as managers do the paperwork, supervisors crack the whip and the workers get things done and out the door.


So, I ask you where is your organisation?


  1. One household, where everybody knows what is expected of them and everybody has a voice in deciding what is needed.
  2. Next Door Neighbours, where you have a good relationship with each other, but once the front door is shut good get on with what you need to and let them get on with their own business.
  3. Live on a Street, where you say hello and how is the weather, but other than that. You all get on with your own business.
  4. Ghetto, no body communicates and everybody has their own agenda. Allies are built only for each other's benefits. Shifts and departments have high walls around them to keep others out and they are not interested in the goals.


With C and D the safety department is very much the envoy going around all the time trying to keep channels of communication open, to stop wars erupting all over the place.


So, how do you move from C and D take others with you to a department, talk about the issues firstly that they face and once the common bonds are established, move to what works well and the standards they expect in each department. It is not an overnight thing it takes months, if not years, but you got to keep plugging away.


Successful teams don't become champions straightaway, it takes years of hard work to become number one. So, to get the organisation to one household will take time, and the way to achieve this is one step at a time and be proactive and ask the why and how questions and get to learn the jobs that people do, and invite them to follow you around learning what to do.


The two questions that need to be asked to kick the whole process off is:


  1. What legacy do you and the department want to leave? And why?
  2. What standards do you and the department aim for? And why?


There is a third question that needs to be asked and it involves everybody in the organisation. How are we (the department/organisation) going to achieve better and higher?



I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Successful 2016

Published in Blog

What People Say

  • 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.


    C.Spencers Group

  • Paul's speech gave true insight into the impact of an accident rather than just a dramatized video about just what happened at the time of it.

    W. Evans

    C.Spencers Group

  • 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.

    W. Harron

    SITA Doncaster

Paul Mahoney

Paul Mahoney

For a Safer World Tomorrow


Phone: 07715297606