Ask the right questions to get the right answers

SAFETY Perspective IN this column, I continue with a series of articles which identify how to explore different perspectives driving success related to something (the situation, your focus) that you want to decide, resolve, plan and implement. Today, I look at the perspective of safety. Before you and your key people embark on any initiative to change or improve things, spend some time exploring people’s perceptions, understanding and commitment from the point of view of safety. Here is a list of questions that you and relevant others could consider. You don’t need to answer all questions - just those that resonate with you and your situation or focus. Some questions will produce the same answer. Reason? Sometimes you can ask a question and get no answer. Rephrase the question and, bingo, you get an answer. Give this list to the relevant people and give them time to reflect on the questions, then discuss and explore all viewpoints. 1. How could our focus impact on the safety of all stakeholders? What unsafe work practices could affect our focus? 2. How could we incorporate the requirements of work safety and health regulations?3. What are the hazards and potential risks in this situation? How could we assess those risks? What are the root causes of those risks? How well are we identifying those root causes? 4. What changes will need to be made to existing safety rules and regulations, systems and procedures and work practices in this situation? 5. What new training will be required to ensure that people comply with safe working practices in this situation? How will we monitor its effectiveness in the workplace? 6. What other support will be required to ensure that people comply with safe working practices in this situation? 7. What are the real drivers causing people to not comply with safe working practices? Or why might they not comply in this situation? Or how will those drivers affect our focus? 8. From the perspective of those most at risk, what ‘pay offs’ are there to not comply with safe working practices? What ‘pay offs’ are there to comply, from their perspective? 9. What are the prevailing attitudes to safety in this situation? What attitudes and behaviour do we need to change? How could we do that in this situation? 10. How high is safety in the real daily priorities from the point of view of those most at risk? How could we incorporate the views and suggestions of those most at risk in this situation to achieve our safety targets? 11. How could we place safe working practices in the daily focus of those most at risk in this situation? How can we make safety a constant daily focus in the minds of those most at risk? 12. Is our culture one of safety first or one of production first? How can we get the right balance between the two in this situation? What do those most at risk perceive where the emphasis really is – Safety? Production? What are the real messages they get that reinforce those perceptions? 13. How do we get all people to be ‘safety inspectors’ as a constant practice in this situation? How can we create a culture where team members constantly encourage safe working practices? How do we create a culture of zero tolerance for unsafe work practices? 14. How are we separating fact from opinion? How well are we drilling down to get the facts? 15. How might our current ways of thinking about safety perspectives be limiting our effectiveness or future success? 16. What ways of thinking about safety perspectives might serve us better? Daniel Kehoe created and developed the Super-Thinker ® – an outstanding and innovative tool for decision making, problem solving and planning. He has worked as a management consultant / facilitator since 1979 in Aust-ralia and overseas. In that time he has worked with over 5,000 managers ranging from chief executives to frontline managers. He has spent thousands of hours listening to and exploring the important perspectives and issues driving success. The list of organisations he has consulted to reads like a Who’s Who of Australian commerce and industry. Daniel is a Fellow of the Ins-titute of Management Consultants and is the author of the best-selling You Lead, They’ll Follow book series, volumes 1, 2 and 3 published by McGraw Hill and sold worldwide. On-line See the Super-Thinker ® at Contact Daniel

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