Tag Archives: humanistic psychology

BIG on ideas

IMG_2024 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 Shop Keeper

DSC00139The 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 ››

Recovery from Command-and-Control: A Twelve-Step Program

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us in democratic countries would hate to see the rise authoritarianism. When we hear about authoritarian regimes around the world, we feel lucky not to live there. We know that people do not thrive under authoritarianism, where high levels of control suppress the human connectivity, freedom and creativity that give meaning and purpose to life. The same is true of organisations, but here we seem to have to put up with it. In 2012, the UK’s Chartered Management Institute released a report … Continue Reading ››

Growing into uncertainty

ronsGo through a little mental exercise with me – think about yourself 10 years in the future. What will your interests be? Who will your friends be? Where will you be working? What kind of person will you be? Now think about who you were 10 years ago and compare that person to who you are now. Chances are you are quite different than you were a decade ago. However, if you compare the results from looking backwards … Continue Reading ››

Six Thinking Hats for Safety

hatsAlmost a year ago on the this blog, Sidney Dekker asked “Can safety renew itself?“. He asked whether the profession was even capable of doing this, with its goal to eliminate what goes wrong; “For a profession that is organized around the elimination, reduction and control of risk, innovation can be a tall order“. Since then, there has been progress. Significantly, a new way of looking at safety has further emerged – … Continue Reading ››

The cost of behavioural transactions

SONY DSCSome workplaces I have visited use so called ‘scratchies’ to encourage and reward ‘safe behaviours’. Managers typically hand out such lottery tickets to employees who report hazards, come up with improvement ideas, or have filled out a risk assessment card in an exemplary way. Some workplaces have been known to give out rewards to drive more generic performance, such as giving everyone a toaster when passing 500 days without a Lost Time Injury. Reward schemes like … Continue Reading ››

Walk or talk?

P4010080I’m not sure whether it was my presence as a corporate representative, but the group ended up unusually large. It comprised our site safety manager, the client’s safety manager, the client’s client’s safety manager, and the site superintendent. We must have reached a critical mass because the site manager joined as well, and so did two other visitors from corporate. The task ahead was to do a Safety Walk. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a … Continue Reading ››

Goats in sheep pens

file0001763601813When I was younger, my family had a smallholding with a few animals including chickens, ducks, geese, and few goats - one or two billies and several nannies. Thinking back to these goats made me think about what they can teach us about work in command-and-control organisations. The characteristics of goats, especially curiosity, independence and foraging behaviour, highlight to me how command and control organisations need goat thinkers - constructive rebels including systems thinkers, design thinkers, and humanistic … Continue Reading ››

Heraith

file0001090917330I am just about to publish a book on safety. Many of my volunteer reviewers around the globe have commented that is very little about me in it and ask why I write the way I do. I will dodge the requests for an in depth analysis of my psyche and answer with one word ‘heraith’ (pronounced ‘here-eye-th’). Heraith is a Welsh word that originally meant a longing for one’s mother country but has come to mean a … Continue Reading ››

Risky empathy

if you want to understand riskI saw this poster in an airport some time ago. It is an advert for an insurance company and shows a person in a helicopter with a note, "One thing, if you want to understand risk, you need to get out from behind your desk".  How connected are safety specialists with operational staff and the operational environment, where the day-to-day safety is created, to understand the operational world? How much of our … Continue Reading ››