He did not want the job. His last assignment was a dream job and now to be put in charge of safety?
His incoming idea of safety was bubble wrap and as he put it, “being the babysitter with the wagging finger.”
This was going to be fun.
So solve their problem. Imagine everyone you meet with a need or desire. Solve it for them. Nothing to do with safety? Maybe not. But it answers their issue and builds good will. And it also changes the bubble wrap perspective.
He wanted to succeed. So I introduced him to fellow managers, suggested ways to improve local processes, and highlighted recent successes (lower injury rates and national awards for safety.) It built the team’s credibility and he looked good in front of his boss.
He turned into our biggest fan. Did he “like” safety? It no longer mattered.
This boss now emphatically supported every major project and initiative.
Don’t focus on what you need. Focus on them first.