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Start Increasing your Team's Safety Performance: Use A Smarter Behavioural Strategy

Tamara Parris

What a fantastic way to end the month! We had an amazing, thought-provoking discussion with performance psychologist Darren Sutton from the UK about using Behavioural Strategies, specifically, the ‘perfect storm,’ ABC analysis and understanding “Fixed” and “Growth” mindsets in our EHSQ Community October webinar.  

What is the ‘perfect storm’ you might ask?  

The ‘perfect storm’ is the moment in time when everything comes together during an incident occurrence. It is the pivotal moment when our choices CAN change the outcome. We believe Darren is right, and that learning how to harness the storm's power is a valuable key for EHS Professional to reduce unsafe acts in the workplace. Sutton describes it as when several environmental factors influence us to do an at-risk behavior which we would not normally do under another circumstance. We just happened to be in a place, with certain influences at the exact time we are executing our decision. In the safety profession, we often see this phenomenon and it is what makes others wonder, "What were they thinking!" 

Intellectually, we understand there are many psychological factors that affect one's decisions making processes. Yet how often do we weigh these factors in when considering “why" an incident occurred in the workplace? Sutton gave great insights about the complex process of making decisions and WHY people engage in an at-risk behavior. Especially those that take moments to execute but potentially result in a life-changing outcome. 

Listen in here as he gives a solid answer to that reoccurring question of "why did they do that?"  

This discussion will take your workplace observation and analysis skills to a higher state, because what we learn here can be translated directly to team coaching exercises. Especially with those who consistently turn a blind-eye to those who cut safety corners (or do so themselves) while using the age-old argument "nothing negative ever happens".  

Sutton’s expertise aids in navigating those ingrained, old corporate ideals that those who get things done the fastest, at any cost should get rewarded. We know this is a strong but wrong motivator that influences others to copy the at-risk behavior. Using the ‘expert’ language to navigate the corporate waters is the approach taken by Sutton, so we can continue towards our goal of decreasing the probability of an accident occurring.  

Many of us have been taught or even used, ABC Analysis (Activators, Behaviors, and Consequences) in our work. In fact, we often use Government and corporately set "Activators" and get frustrated when we learn they are not working. In this session Sutton shared that the present "Activators” often used are only 20% effective in influencing people’s behaviors! He suggests we get more innovative with what Activators we use to motivate behaviors.  

How do you shift someone's mindset, so they want to do things safely? In this webinar we learned that environmental factors CAN redirect and be natural influencers that encourage people towards making the right choices, when no one is looking.  

You’ll learn more about the "power of why” and discover principles of the "Fixed" and "Growth” mindset, so you can better understand and reflect on individual’s thought processes. You’ll enjoy the use of the concept of a "Fighter Pilot" and "Surgeon" when explaining the difference of these mindsets.

About the Author: Tamara Parris, EHSQ Community Manager

Tamara Parris is the Community Manager of the EHSQ Community and owner of EHSQ Professionals group on LinkedIn. Her passion is working with other environment, health & safety, and quality professionals to collaborate in thought leadership, networking with new people, and connecting industry peers to resources that drive continuous improvement in EHSQ.



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November 07, 2018 @ 02:58 PM EST Health & Safety

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