How well would your business do in this website test, do you think?
Is the ‘About Us’ page friends with the ‘Health and Safety’ page? Do they really know each other? Have they ever been out for a casual drink? Or, are they more like strangers, sat beside one another sharing the same thought – ‘who on earth are you?’
We do a lot of work with global organisations who are aspiring to perform at very high levels. So, when I’m working with these clients, reviewing their business, the website is one of the first places I look. These aren’t technical reviews – but reviews of their work practices and behaviours, to create a crystal-clear plan of action to significantly improve their health and safety results.
Mostly, I’m interested in these three questions:
Typically, the ‘About Us’ page is quite vocal and has plenty to say. It has a healthy confidence and shares with its readers a credible and compelling story – alongside the leading priorities for the business. Mostly, these refer to exceeding customer expectations or striving to be the best in sector. When it comes to describing their values, characteristics such as agile, integrity and respect are peppered throughout. So, questions 1 and 2 and are usually robustly answered. And, very occasionally, question 3. So, that all seems to make sense.
My next step is to move onto their ‘Health and Safety’ page to see what that has to say. And it’s here that the challenge starts to unfold – with a conflicting clash of priorities. The focus has shifted. Health and safety is now the priority for the business – giving a sense that nothing goes before it. What I’m reading is a very different set of expressions and declarations and the real priorities are starting to become harder to pin down. So, which page is correct? Which issues genuinely form the values and visions of the business and which are delivered through the business strategy?
It’s important to get to the bottom of this. Chiefly, because poor alignment of values and vision only leads to one thing. Some actions which we claim to be a value, don’t get done at all. Or they don’t get done to the same level as those activities which are genuinely important.
On the flip side, there are enormous benefits. A moment of reflection allows us to recognise that strong health and safety performance, alongside strong production and equally strong commercial performance, is completely do-able and absolutely acceptable – so long as there’s clarity that this is what the business needs. And, for everyone within the organisation to be living out these values in daily practice.
Maybe it’s time for that casual drink after all.
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