The Insidious Crowd: A Warning for Leaders

“If we are all in agreement on the decision – then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.” – Alfred Sloan

You want to improve, both yourself and your organization. You wake up with the drive to excel, lead, differentiate, and stand out. The way it’s done isn’t good enough.

Improving, leading and standing out mean believing something different than the crowd.

So where do you stand on safety? Are you different than the crowd?

What the crowd believes:

Compliance is the goal,

New PPE is the solution,

“Follow the rules” is the fix for any incident causation,

Heinrich’s triangle is law,

You can’t fix stupid and common sense is diminishing,

Manufacturers always put safety first in design,

Hope is a plan,

And the key to injury prevention is the modification of human behavior.

I believe the crowd is wrong. I believe that while compliance is foundational, the chase for compliance is a deadly distraction from a course of action intended to create safe working environments. Just like rerouting the projector’s power cord to remove the tripping hazard doesn’t make the conference presentation better, our EHS focus must be on the value above compliance, not simply on the placement of the power cord.

Where do you stand on safety?


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