Remember when you could go on company travel and just book the trip? Not anymore. You probably have to do a seven-page risk assessment (whether the trip takes you to the next town over, or to central Africa), which will have to be approved by the next three levels up, and get signatures from all those levels. It is an example of what has sometimes been referred to as ‘bureaucratic entrepreneurism’ (Dekker, 2014). Bureaucracies tend to grow … Continue Reading ››
A little while ago, I participated in a workshop for CEOs discussing health and safety matters. We did the usual workshop thing of breaking into table discussions and feeding back to the group in time-honoured fashion. It is relatively rare to bring together such a large group of influencers, so I was looking forward to the output and the opportunity it could give to drive wholesale improvements across a number of businesses and … Continue Reading ››
It is reasonable for management to want evidence of a problem before they put resources into fixing it, and we would like to be evidence driven ourselves. All too often, though, we assume that having good data
means having more data
. We live in the time of Big data
where the value of some companies is measured in terms of the size of the data set they hold. Our phones collect and report our habits, … Continue Reading ››
Last month (May) was Mental Health Awareness month. Mental health is a topic that pokes up in the media every once in a while, perhaps most prominently with the recent Germanwings crash that involved a pilot with a purported mental illness intentionally crashing his plane into a mountain, killing all passengers and crew. Naturally after events and others like it (such as when someone goes on a shooting spree, which we seem to get more than our … Continue Reading ››
In a land far, far away a very long time ago someone had an idea and tried to do something different with safety.
For my sins I started my career in safety working for the UK government. To be fair this was back in the 70s and 80s when the 1974 Robens inspired Act was starting to be felt and the proposed legislation on major hazard sites would see the end of the prescriptive nature … Continue Reading ››
"If only it weren’t for the people, the goddamned people,” said Finnerty,“always getting tangled up in the machinery. If it weren’t for them, earth would be an engineer’s paradise.”
In Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian novel ‘Player Piano’, automation has replaced most human labour. Anything that can be automated, is automated. Ordinary people have been robbed of their work, and with it purpose, meaning and satisfaction, leaving the managers, scientists and engineers to run the show. Dr Paul Proteus … Continue Reading ››
A few years ago a truck driver asked me “when are you going to do something about the delivery docks, the reversing lines are so faded it’s hard to position our trucks?”
Like all good managers I nodded caringly, made sure I had a suitably interested look on my face and told him I would talk to his manager and get it sorted. During my career I have had this conversation and probably the same look on my … Continue Reading ››
The head of marketing for a major clothing brand imparted a metaphor to me that struck a nerve. He called himself a “Shop Keeper”.
Daily he would consider his customer - what are they interested in? What makes them unique? What do they want? What would inspire them? Why would they be interested in his product?
He told me he would spend most of his day creating beautiful and exciting products for his shop anticipating and celebrating the uniqueness … Continue Reading ››