health and safety leadership is not command and control, it’s about climate control

“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”- Benjamin Franklin

The real role of health and safety leadership is not command and control, it’s about climate control.

We spend too much time telling people what to do. we are seen as overbearing and bureaucratic. When we need to be seen as working on nurturing the seeds of possibility, changing the conditions to give people a difference sense of possibility around health and safety, we need to develop a different range of expectations, provide a broader range of opportunity, give people the discretion to be innovative and creative, within a broader framework of risk management.

Safety advisers need to communicate authentically and inspire the people around them.

Our tried and tested formula has worked in the past, but continuing to do what we have always done is failing. The world is much more sophisticated, hyper-connected and ultra competitive.

We cannot ignore the harsh realities and tough choices that our economy faces. Traditional business structures and relationships are breaking down. Business leaders are having to evolve as well; from hierarchy to shared responsibility, from command and control to listening and guiding.

Safety practitioners can no longer rely on their positional or technical authority. They need to develop the skills to communicate authentically and to inspire people around them.

The health and safety brand!

We need to understand the importance and impact of the health and safety brand. Current media and political challenge strikes at the very root of our existence. We need to rebuild trust and earn new respect.

Brands are all around us, reinforcing reputation, maintaining loyalty and reflecting worth.
Brand is the way that we let people know what we stand for and why that is important in their lives.

To understand our brand we need to consider its positioning and design.

To reposition our brand we need to get better at story telling and relationships.

People do judge a book by its cover

Steve Jobs’s early mentor Mike Markkula wrote him a memo in 1979 that urged three principles. The first two were “empathy” and “focus.” The third was an awkward word, “impute,” but it became one of Jobs’s key doctrines. He knew that people form an opinion about a product or a company on the basis of how it is presented and packaged. “Mike taught me that people do judge a book by its cover”.
This really applies to health and safety. The health and safety brand is out there and needs to change.

New year, new health and safety!

The future of health and safety is all about simplicity. Without a new level of clarity and simplicity, it will continue to feel like health and safety lacks the confidence to effectively explain what we are, what we do and what we are trying to achieve. If we are to design an offer that is attractive to our customers then we have to realise that less is more and work harder at stripping out the superfluous from what we do.

Health and safety needs to be easier to understand, administer and enforce. Managers often feel overwhelmed when faced with the many things they need to do to comply with health and safety legislation. We need to take the complexity away by expressing health and safety in a plain, simple, natural manner and this simplicity has to pervade every aspect of what we do.

The most popular SHP Feature articles of 2012

Our most popular features in 2012

CPD article – Tides of opinion

David Branson compares the legal concepts of ‘reasonably practicable’ and ‘reasonably foreseeable’, in respect of breaches of health and safety law and civil liability for accidents, and explores the changing interpretation of both terms by the courts.
London 2012 – A question of trust

With the countdown to the largest sporting event in UK history now in full swing it would be easy to forget what has already been achieved by the London 2012 Olympics, such as the impressive safety record of ‘the big build’. Caroline Sugden and Nicola Healey explain how safety culture – and, in particular, health and safety trust – was developed, fostered and measured on the Olympic Park site.

Developing the profession – Brand of opportunity

In the first of a series of articles examining what practitioners can learn from the business practices of some of the most successful companies in the world, Peter Roddis looks at how ‘brand’ has the power to change the world of health and safety.

Occupational health – Lighting the way

What can be learnt from the award-winning occupational-health provision on the Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village construction projects, and replicated on the more typical site? Claire Tyers evaluates its potential legacy.

Environment – Scene to be green

The Government’s current appetite for relaxing the reporting requirements for health and safety incidents doesn’t appear to be matched in the environmental sphere. Martin Baxter explains the current regulatory scene on green issues, the changes in reporting on the horizon, and the opportunities opening up for both health and safety and environmental practitioners.

To read the articles and more click here to go to the SHP feature articles index

What health and safety professionals can learn from the business practices of some of the world’s most successful companies

What health and safety professionals can learn from the business practices of some of the world’s most successful companies.

I have recently published a series of articles in SHP and my most recent was in October 2012, please click to read the full article
Lets face the music