Category: Teamwork

How Will You Motivate Your Employees to be Safety Strong?

 

How do you motivate your employees to be safety strong and safety resilient? How determined are you to create a shared safety vision throughout your organization?

As a safety motivational speaker on creating strong safety teams, I know there is a huge difference between talking about safety in meetings and having the toughness to be safety strong. A commitment to employee safety requires the resiliency and grit to live safety every day.

What Happens When Teams Aren’t Strong?

There is a quote from the famous British safety consultant Sir Brian Appleton who said:

“Safety is not an intellectual exercise to keep us in work.  It is a matter of life and death.  It is the sum of our contributions to safety management that determines whether the people we work with live or die.”

Appleton was commenting on the tragedy of the Occidental Petroleum Piper Alpha offshore oil drilling rig when in July 1988, 167 men lost their lives in a series of explosions on the rig off the coast of Scotland.

Every man on that drilling platform was given training but in the end the safety experts were shocked to learn there was no plan, no common safety vision and in fact, not even an awareness of how to evacuate the structure. The experts concluded that there were at least 55 things that could have been done – and weren’t done.

It is, of course, easy for us to think that 1988 was a while ago – and overseas in Scotland, after all we’re much safer “over here” in 2019. However, the most recent tabulation from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a different picture. In 2017, more than 5,100 lives were lost on the job, including more than 1,300 in trade, transportation, and utilities, nearly 1,000 in construction, and more than 300 in manufacturing. Serious injuries were in the hundreds of thousands.

The numbers are so staggering that we lose sight of a simple fact. Each injury or death represents a person with hopes and dreams, with families and friends. Each one was exposed to safety training. They may have even been a part of their company’s safety team. So, what happened?

You are the Team

Safety is personal. Carl Potter, writing for Electric Energy Online, said every time there is a serious accident the safety professionals gather the team and spend a great deal of time analyzing the reasons.

“If you want to be a professional in your industry and live a long successful career, learn all you can about your job’s safe work procedures. Encourage safety meetings and briefings that engage and teach. Find ways to help yourself and others learn the procedures. Being a professional is to take personal responsibility to “Learn, Learn, Learn!”

When I give my motivational talks on safety, I emphasize that “the team” is “us.” We are responsible for learning, and for teaching. We can’t help others if we neglect ourselves. You are the team. You must be determined to be safe and to help make others safe. It is not a passive exercise.

Potter continued: “I have attended many a boring safety meeting. Most often we just took turns reading the safety guidelines. However, just like in Sunday School, often the words went in one ear and came out the other.”

If you are determined to motivate yourself, you will in turn motivate others. The strongest link must be you, and you must have the grit to believe it and to live it.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Motivational Speaker for Safety Teams for your upcoming national or regional meetings through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Keeping Teams Focused and Engaged Saves Lives

 

I consider my work as a motivational speaker for safety teams much more than a keynote speaking exercise. For me, the mission of motivating safety teams to stay focused and engaged prevents accidents and saves lives.

NIOSH

In a study published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) by Royce Moser, Jr, MD, MPH, Dr. Moser states:

“Simply calling a group of people a team does not make them one, as has been demonstrated too often when a ‘group’ effort was totally unsuccessful because a true team had never been formed.”

Bringing employees together and telling them they are a safety team does not make them a team, even if they share a common manual or they are exposed to the same safety signs. Dr. Moser continues:

“The manager will frequently find it essential to instill a sense of cooperation and support among the professionals and staff involved in order to obtain quality results… the essential criteria of a team are that the members are working together on a common taskeach member is essential to the effort, and the team effort is necessary for the satisfaction of individual needs.”

The onsite staffing service, Staff Management, emphasizes that a strong safety culture is one where employee teams feel personal ownership for the safety of everyone in the organization. Leadership teams should be champions of safety:

“Successful employee engagement in safety programs depends largely on the motivation and support of leadership teams. All members of the leadership team should strive to set positive examples and abide by the same safety policies expected of their employees…behavior-based safety can include leadership taking the time to observe employees and provide feedback, encouraging employees to stay safe and ensuring they are informed about all required safety procedures.”

How Determined is Your Safety Team?

As the two references above and other studies show, safety teams must be determined to commit to making a difference in their organizations. It is an active process where every member of the team must share a common vision to make their workforce safe no matter the size or the mission of the company.

Rebecca Timmins, writing for Safety + Health magazine, talked of a safety team vision where every member of the team must ask themselves: “What organizational structure do we need to support and sustain our vision?”

Ms. Timmins concludes: “Getting the ‘structure’ right improves the likelihood of success, with the side benefit of improving overall organization functioning.  Ensure you have well-defined roles and responsibilities for everyone to flourish. Ask for input on your vision from a diverse group of people and be open to refining it…make sure you and your people have the skills and capabilities needed to realize the vision.”

Without the safety team having the determination and the daily grit to make their shared vision to safety work, employees will not embrace the importance of safety. They will not be engaged.

Without a safety focus and shared engagement, the safety team will be little more than an assembled group of strangers; however, with focus and the resolve to make a difference, the safety team will prevent accidents and save lives. Be determined to make that difference.

 

Hire Scott Burrows, Inspirational Safety Team Speaker for your next meeting through this website or by calling us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Why is Building a Great Team So Difficult?

 

In delivering keynote addresses and workshops across the country on teamwork and what it takes to build a great team, the common refrain is always, “Scott, why is it so darn difficult?” It is, and I might add it’s not your imagination.

Bill Green, writing for inc. magazine (March 20, 2018) noted: “The only way to build a winning team is to recruit and train people you believe can manage different parts of the ship without needing you to handhold them through every decision. This means thinking hard about how you can teach them to make their own decisions.”

Building a great team often requires the leader, the manager, or chief executive to lose ego and have the vision to allow her people to succeed or fail on their own merits.

The next question I usually encounter is, “Scott, suppose the team becomes so effective they no longer need the manager?”

That’s the point, isn’t it? How can a team develop the determination to rise above the task ahead of them if the leader always sticks in his two cents to auto-correct even the most minor detail? Assuming the manager has hired good people, why not have the faith that they will develop the grit to accomplish the task they’ve been given?

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Building a great team does not mean, of course, that there is no communication between the manager and the team. In fact, it is the opposite. There must be constant communication. The leader must have the determination to never let the team down in terms of supplying information and communication. In turn, every team member must apprise every other member (as well as the manager) of every development. This is where trust comes into play.

No team can function without honesty, without an understanding of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. This is not a bad thing. Again, quite the opposite. Honest evaluation doesn’t make one team member “weak” or another “strong.” It makes everyone more effective and valued. It also helps the team to be more organized and efficient.

When a team has the shared vision to be successful, and to sublimate ego to achieve an excellent group outcome, it leads to a sense of mutual support and an amazing flow of fresh ideas. Ideas rarely spring to life from thin air. They build on other ideas. When a team is determined to work together, it is not uncommon for “creatives” to have excellent technical questions or for technical minds to suggest amazing marketing ideas. As a keynote speaker on teamwork, to me, one of the saddest things is when team members admit they were so disappointed in the group that they intentionally withheld ideas.

The shared vision of everyone on the team to be successful and to make a difference is self-fulfilling. When a team is successful on one project, they are highly likely to be successful on another.

Do you have the determination to build great teams in your organization? It may involve getting out of comfort zones, to work together to support rather than divide, and to celebrate honesty and efficiency over ego.

We should all build great teams because they lead to the greatest organizations. At the end of the day, that should be all that matters.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Teamwork today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169