The Ability to See Problems

It’s often encouraged in safety training.

In the Air Force, we take Safety Academy students into industrial shops, where they use checklists they’ve researched and written, to point out hazards and areas of non-compliance.

And every chance I get, I speak with the students afterwards and tell them why the process of finding the problem isn’t the job. The real job is seeing the goal beyond the problem.

The students rarely understand the first time. They’ve always thought of the safety professional as the one who points out errors. The better you are, the more errors you find….or so the logic goes. For every solution, there is a problem.

If errors are all we see, in our environment, our organizations, and in ourselves, we limit our future by limiting our vision to only correcting errors.

John Maxwell writes that the ability to see problems isn’t the mark of maturity. It’s the mark of a person without vision.

What will you see today?

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