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  1. In my experience, mistakes can be our greatest teachers under two conditions. We must take the time to understand both why they happened, and how to change our behavior to prevent repeating them. I’d like to share a personal example of how I broke one of two truths about performance improvement and soured a good system by using poor leadership practices. In other words—how I ruined an at-home Kanban system despite my best intentions...

  2. Many people make New Year’s resolutions dedicated to making themselves better in some way. Whether it’s to lose weight and get fit; become a better leader; or be a better spouse, parent, or friend. New Year’s resolutions are stated loudly and with confidence. However, these statements and the related behaviors often atrophy quickly as real life gets in the way...

  3. My colleagues and I have noticed a disturbing trend as we complete surveys and assessments for our clients. A significant number of employees are telling us that skills training has become woefully insufficient. Hands-on classroom training and on-the-job training have either been replaced with computer-based training (CBT), or training times have been shortened dramatically...

  4. The term “psychological safety” is having a moment. While on the surface it may seem like yet another organizational buzzword, this one has true merit, especially in safety. The term was coined by Amy Edmondson in 1999. In essence, it means the absence of interpersonal fear. In the field of safety, psychological safety is about ensuring people are comfortable reporting incidents, reporting near misses, discussing challenges with following procedures, etc. all without fear of being criticized or experiencing retaliation...

  5. Productivity is a big concern for managers who have people working remotely. Will they actually work as hard as they would in an office? This fear has been called “productivity paranoia.” I recently heard that over 80% of managers don’t trust that their direct reports are as productive when working remotely. That number seems high, but given what we know about behavior, it is reasonable for managers to wonder. There are so many distractions at home—so many other things people could be doing that are more reinforcing than work...

  6. “People learn more from their mistakes” is an old saying that should be put out to pasture. Not only is this statement untrue from a learning standpoint, but relying on people to make mistakes to create learning situations is haphazard and reactive when it comes to developing the skills required in an organization. To illustrate why this statement is not the case, imagine you decide to take up a new sport—golf. Being someone who wants to find success and development in the game quickly, before even swinging the clubs for the first time, you hire a golf coach...

  7. Quiet Quitting is trending—on TikTok, in articles and blogs. Definitions vary but tend to include things like (1) worker disengagement, (2) a refusal to go “above and beyond,” and (3) a re-set of work-life balance. On the surface, Quiet Quitting looks like an unwillingness to give what we call discretionary effort. But how you define it matters...

  8. I’m troubled by what seems like an accelerating trend in safety, and that is people touting the next great thing. Don’t misunderstand…I believe in constantly looking for ways to improve. Technology is a great example. There are technological advances that have been game changers in safety. Speed limiters and adaptive cruise control are two prime examples.  But when it comes to the human performance component of safety, I’m troubled by some of the “advances”: the “latest and greatest” approaches being peddled...

  9. I recently talked to a client who was trying to gain commitment for some safety leadership improvements and was frustrated with the resistance he was facing from some of the management team. The resistors claimed that most of their safety challenges could be resolved if the frontline employees just had better situational awareness...

  10. It is an understatement to say that many organizations are running lean. The trend worsened during the pandemic and the current economic uncertainty seems destined to make matters even worse. While the business case for lean operations is compelling, there is such a thing as too lean, especially when it comes to safety. But how can you tell if you are too lean for safety? Waiting for a rash of incidents or a SIF event is obviously not a good strategy but by default, that is what some organizations are doing...

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