How Will You Treat Me?

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” – Goethe

Everyone you meet today has a wish. For you to treat them well and as if they are special.


What if you treated everyone as they could be? Elevate their vision. Treat them “as if” and watch them rise to the challenge. Expect more. And they will give more.

And they’ll thank you. Because you gave them hope.

And what are leaders if not dealers in hope?


That Look In Their Eye

You’ve met those people. Typically junior in the organization. From the moment you met them, you knew they weren’t just going to make it…they were going to make it BIG.

What was it? You didn’t know much about them at all…but what you knew mattered.

I’ve also felt it when doing informal exit interviews. While speaking with people retiring or separating from military service, I too get a sense of their future success.

Here’s what success doesn’t sound like:

“My supervisor…”

“My workplace…”

“There was no time for…”

“The training I received…”

And here is what I hear from people who are going places:

“I tried to…”

“I choose to…”

“I will…”

“I’m determined to”

Psychologists call in an internal locus of control. A way of viewing the world in a way where you maintain accountability. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that leaves no room for excuses.

In any unit, with any supervisor, in any profession, with any amount of resources.

You will-because you can.

How Successful Safety Inspectors Avoid Common Pitfalls

Inspections are opportunities to connect with organizations. Too often, when schedules get tight and workload balloons, bad habits creep into inspections.

How do successful safety pros avoid the pitfalls?

1. Look for the good (first). Inspections are about finding what’s wrong and documenting it, right? How else can we have perfect workplaces with zero mishaps? Wrong. Successful EHS pros highlight the good, reinforce what works, and suggest tweaks to the rest.

2. Find hazards. Sounds rational. Then why do many inspectors seem to search for documentation errors and extension cords? If your goal is to reduce injuries, why focus (first) on paper/minutia? Find the hard stuff. How about that dangerous machine that was built before guarding?

3. Always have a reference. You might think it’s wrong or heard it somewhere…but unless you’re certain, save it for later (and then look it up). Credibility is hard earned and easily lost.


For the Day You Doubt

Ask yourself “Is there something I can do in the next 14 days to significantly and negatively affect my job, my finances, or my relationships?”

Sure there is! You probably thought of a few ways.

Those thoughts that came to mind…they exist because you believe in your ability to affect your environment, your surroundings, the people and things around you.

Now ask “Is there something I can do in the next 14 days to significantly and positively affect my job, my finances, or my relationships?”

Those thoughts…also exist because you believe.

Doubt runs from belief. Belief erases doubt and leaves hope.

Hope changes the world. Your world.

And you know you affect it. Whether today or in 14 days.


Three Ways to Sink Your EHS Proposal

Every fiscal year, there are EHS professionals outside of conference rooms shaking their heads. At the annual budget meeting, their safety initiative proposal failed to make the cut, again!

You can hear them now. “My managers don’t care about safety” or “They talk a good game, but when it counts, no one in this company wants safety.”

What went wrong?

Here are three ways to sink your EHS proposal.

1. “It’s required by law…we have to!”

Your company doesn’t exist to comply. It exists to produce value to stakeholders. Think that’s cynical? Try motivating someone in your family by telling them to comply with the law. Watch your spouse’s speedometer and give him/her constant feedback. Watch their reaction.

2. “If this hazard isn’t corrected, someone, somewhere, one day, if the timing is right and the failsafe fails, might lose an arm!”

You must quantify hazards. Specifically. Every time. And this technique won’t work when the company is laying off 2,500 people.

3. “For every $1 spent on safety, we get nearly $6 in return”

Seriously? You tested this ratio? Prove it using your company’s numbers. Because if you can’t, you just got cut. And you reassured everyone in operations that EHS really is just a cost and never a value.

Do the above lines work sometimes? Yes. And they all have some validity. But EHS must show value. Every time.

(Over the next two weeks, I’ll share ways to show this value as a part of a multi-part post.)


Why We Stop Receiving Feedback

“Leaders that cannot be questioned, end up doing questionable things.” Jon Acuff

You used to get feedback. They’d come to you with issues, let you know what was wrong, and whisper to you that a recent decision was actually a terrible idea.

Then it stopped.

Because you fixed it all, right? You did some self-work, went to a seminar, built the perfect process-flow models…and now perfection!

Maybe (not).

Have you given feedback and saw it? That defensive, what is this person talking about, they don’t know what I’m going through, are they even qualified, who do they think they are…”that” face?

Well, you did it too. (When I write “you” I might mean “I”)

Open your mind (and heart) today. You’ve made mistakes before. It’ll happen again. Start small, ask for feedback, and receive it humbly and with appreciation. And grow.

(And to supervisors who do not give deliberate feedback…you’re starving your people of growth and your team of their potential.)

Don’t Get Your Graduate Degree in Safety (If You Want to Be Better)

I struggled to understand. I was in the middle of a 5-day course on trenching and shoring, taught by the guy that literally wrote the book on the subject. And he’d lost the audience.

He knew so much about soils, their components, and stability factors. It was incredible.

But he couldn’t translate it to the people who’d use it.

It occurs in every discipline. Finance, computer and mechanical engineering, aerospace sciences, physics…and safety.
We get so good and go so deep… we lose our audience.

So I changed my degree plan to business and marketing. In the hope that I’d force myself to learn to speak in a manner that connected. Not just to people fascinated by risk and safety, but by those we need to reach.

Derek Sivers writes that when we learn skills like speaking, writing, psychology, and conversation, we in turn multiply the results of our efforts.

Multiply. Connect. Astonish your audience.

Are You a Marshmallow Eater?

Quick overview of the study.

Stanford researcher (W Mischel) puts a marshmallow in front of 653 preschool children. If they eat that one, that’s it. But if they wait 15 minutes they get two. Only around one-third make it the 15 minutes. The study became famous when a later follow-up showed the ones who waited 15 minutes achieved higher SAT scores, used less drugs, and had lower body mass indexes.

I wasn’t a part of the study. But would I have eaten the first marshmallow? Would you?

And what does this have to do with safety and health?

You might be a marshmallow eater if…

-If you take on additional assignments from your boss and give them to your already-taxed staff.

-If you check email at the expense of real work.

-If you fill your life with entertainment intake instead of value output.

-If you investigate an injury at work and conclude “You can’t fix stupid”.

You deserve more than instant gratification. We all do.


Stuck in Your Career? Use This Technique to Level Up

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Early in my safety career I was stuck. (OK, it’s happened a few times since, too.)

I wanted to be the best. Not only the best, but to put myself in the best position to make a difference. But how?

Then I found it. In short book by Brian Tracy, “Focal Point”, he suggests using a gap analysis. Tracy writes one simply has to outline where you are today and you want to go in the future (skills, abilities, education, experience, etc.) and fill in the gaps. Thus the gap analysis.

Here’s what I wrote on that morning 10 years ago.

To be in the top-tier of EHS professionals I should:
-Get a CSP and an ARM
-Speak at a national conference
-Write articles
-Mentor others
-Finish a graduate degree
-Add to the body of knowledge

I’m still working on it.

How about you? What’s your gap look like?

Before and After (is a Lie)

You’ve seen the photos.

The person wearing shorts and holding the newspaper. And 30-90 days later, a photo of the slim, toned and tanned “new” person.

“Before and After” photos sell products. They work (to sell products). If those shiny bottles and shakes (+ $4.95 S&H) worked as well as we want to believe, we’d have solved the obesity problem in the U.S.

We need less products and more self-discipline.

*Less data and more knowledge.

*Less shortcuts and more “longcuts” (Seth Godin).

*Less productivity apps and more focus on the important.

*Less drama and more doing.

*Less S&H and more “I am responsible”

Less and more, before and after, valueless and valuable.

Burn the shortcut. Have the courage to demand your best.

And delete that new app.