All Leaders Take Shortcuts

(Does Your Company Promote Unsafe Leaders?)

In an organization, workers are hired with some measure of education and experience.

These individuals come to work to do a job, to get the job done, in the way that best makes sense, and in the way that is rewarded.

The best workers, those who consistently solve problems and do it quickly (from client acquisition to crane operation) are promoted, over and over again.

Solving problems and doing it quickly requires thinking outside of normal parameters, diverting from the checklist, taking shortcuts, trying new methods, and all with a perspective that the necessary change requires new thinking.

The newly promoted workers (now called supervisors) encourage a culture of shortcuts and checklist diversion.

And just like your morning commute (when you may have driven slightly over the speed limit and most likely sent a text or two), this shortcut culture is rewarded with increased profit and promotions. When it goes wrong (a speeding ticket or worker injury), it’s easy to view it as a necessary cost of doing business.

The challenge for the EHS professional is clear.

One must facilitate a system where solving problems safely is rewarded over solving problems any which way. Where speed is essential, but speed at any cost is unacceptable.

Who and how do you promote in a growing company?

How do you best (and safely) solve problems?


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