We do most of our work with national & international corporations and large family organisations. There are two key challenges that these businesses often face:
1) Growing and integrating with other organisations where the cultures are historically different – different priorities and different levels of action.
2) Support received previously has been transactional – focused on fixing local problems. Rarely is it about developing the organisation to embed Health & Safety as a value.
What we deliver to these organisations is a strategic transformational perspective.
We always look, first and foremost, at leadership behaviours. This might be how leaders choose to integrate Health & Safety into their monthly management meeting. Choose really is the critical word here. When H&S becomes a standard agenda item at a leadership meeting, leaders will create a meaningful plan for their division, site or area. It’s about having the topic on the agenda, dealing with it respectfully, effectively and treating the Health & Safety conversation like they would a conversation about commercial or production needs.
For example: Health & Safety might have been one item on your meeting agenda. Someone would ask “is there any H&S to discuss”, and the answer would be no – the response would be “great, let’s have a good quality three-hour conversation about production”.
We look for powerful leadership behaviours where H&S is treated like a genuinely equal priority within the organisation: Do I have an H&S business plan? Have I integrated it into my regular interactions at a site level? Am I monitoring it to make sure my team are doing the very same thing at their site or country level? Are they mirroring that and am I confident it’s happening?
Messages are getting lost in leadership translation
Often, when we look at how messages progress through organisations, they get stuck almost immediately under the level that issued them. If you’re an executive group that speaks loudly about H&S, it’s fascinating how many times that message gets either completely lost, or so watered down it becomes meaningless.
When leaders speak regularly, passionately and properly about Health & Safety – those who work for them become engaged in doing exactly the same. Some will do it because they feel they have to – they have no choice. Others recognise it’s genuinely valued in the organisation –
“my boss is doing it in their meeting so that’s what’s expected of me“.
“If that’s a regional meeting, I go back to my site and I repeat exactly the same thing here – I’m showing my team that this is important.
“In the past it may have been another tick box exercise, but because my boss is being really clear about it, now I’m really clear about it.”
This demonstrated leadership behaviour may come from a regional level or European level to a country level or site level to a departmental level. Suddenly, those site/departmental managers think “well actually, I am expected to participate as it’s an important topic”.
That brings the whole risk management process to life.We go from a cold sterile or detached “this is a management system, aren’t we doing great with our posters”, to some really meaningful conversations about: What are we actually doing to keep people safe?
Far too often, we know we must do it but it’s not happening. As soon as leaders start to share that it’s important and needs to be done to a good standard, it quickly passes down the line. Performance change only comes when there’s a critical mass of managers, supervisors and front-line workers who see how important the organisation takes it.
A recent example of success:
For one of our global corporate clients, three years of Broadly Thinking support – through Business Reviews and Leadership Development workshops – has brought about a fundamental change in their understanding and lived experience of impactful leadership and effective day-to-day risk management.
Leaders, managers and workers clearly understand the message and are living it through planning, challenging and rewards. At the start of the journey, this organisation, because of its historical leadership approach, just didn’t think this was important. The words were known but the required behaviour was not happening. As an organisation, they have changed beyond all recognition.
If you’re experiencing similar challenges within your organisation and would like to discuss a path forward, please get in touch with us, we’d really like to hear from you.
+44 (0) 1664 503655