Want Safety Success? Don’t Scatter Seeds and Hope for Apples.

In late 2014 Knowledge Vine partnered with Chain Electric and they saw some immediate success; starting with a long run of no accidents or errors. This extended into uncharted territory which was met with a mix of pride and a little unease. As each month passed there seemed to be a growing attitude of “We are on an incredible run of good luck, but this is not sustainable. Something has got to give and it will all come crashing down around us.” It was like watching a pitcher who is seven innings into a no-hitter. He sits quietly all by himself at the end of the bench. Everyone knows it’s happening, but no one will talk about it for fear of “jinxing” it. It was almost as if success was creating the traps of Mental Stress and Distractions.  

While this run of “good fortune” was in full swing Knowledge Vine was providing coaching training to Chain’s frontline supervision. Every training session was kicked off by their Safety Manager, Tim Adam, and he would discuss their current successes. In one of the very first classes one of the students, while listening to Tim, “knocked on wood”. Tim noticed this and immediately addressed the issue head-on.  He said, “Guys, we are not having success because of luck or good fortune. We are in this place because we planned to be here. This is a designed outcome. We designed a plan to improve safety, reliability, and quality and have executed that plan to achieve this goal. We can talk about it; we NEED to talk about it. We need to celebrate our success so everyone knows that their efforts worked and we need them to keep giving us that effort. This streak will end, and we will talk about it too so we don’t repeat that error. This success is the fruit of our labor.” This became Tim’s mantra for every training session thereafter; “This is the fruit of our labor.”

So what fruits are your Human Performance efforts going to yield? What is your expected outcome? How do you measure success if you’re not sure what success looks like? Are you throwing seeds on the ground and hoping it not only yields fruit but the kind of fruit you want? The yield (Y) in REMEDY is Accountability, Commitment, and Conservative Decision Making in all levels of the organization. Each of these attributes will be fleshed out in ensuing blogs, but for now, it begs the question “How do we know where we are so we can see when our efforts start yielding fruit?”

Determining your baseline, or where is your organization’s culture BEFORE starting your Human Performance efforts, is the initial step in the process; establishing the Foundation. This is the first part of the Knowledge Vine FIAT process: Foundation, Information, Application, & Transformation. When it comes to Human Performance improvement, REMEDY is the “what” so think of FIAT as the “how”. How are we going to design our outcome so we get the yield we want? Stay tuned and we will cover each aspect in subsequent blogs, but in the meantime, celebrate your success; if you planted and cultivate apple seeds it’s not good luck when apple trees grow and yield fruit.