Dr. John Kello, professor of industrial-organizational psychology at Davidson College, and president of the organization development consulting firm J.E. Kello & Associates, Inc. John’s work centers on the implementation of the “High-Performance Organization” model in a variety of work settings. He can be reached at (704) 894-2024; email@example.com.
What if a company is characteristically cautious and slow to make a decision, and does not reward innovative risk-taking, while the market is moving fast and increasingly rewarding agility? What if the choice is to change or die?
What’s the biggest daily problem in organizations? Communication. What could have prevented many of the recordable incidents that occurred last year at your facility? Better communication. Communication makes the world go ’round.
In part one of my “short
course” in managing stress (October 2006) I mentioned individuals
can have very different thresholds for experiencing distress. Even the
hardiest among us have our limits. So what do we do when we’re
nearing those limits?
The answer to the question in the title is â€œyes.â€
When we perceive an event as a challenge or potential threat, a physical and psychological response is triggered by the autonomic nervous system. Whether the stressor is external (an oncoming car swerves into our lane) or internal (an anxiety-arousing thought), its onset abrupt (a sudden emergency) or gradual (a long-term unresolved problem), this automatic reaction is essentially the same.
Going back at least as far as the early 1980s, to the study done by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in the now classic In Search of Excellence, and continuing today in the work of many management gurus, a small subset of companies have been identified as â€œbest practiceâ€ organizations.
Jim is a safety professional with 12 years of experience. Heâ€™s technically very competent, probably the best in the whole corporation. Jim tends to be low-key, private and introverted, a bit hard to â€œread.â€ He doesnâ€™t initiate a lot of contact with the folks in the plant unless he is doing a safety audit, and spends a lot of time in his office alone.
Psychology is going positive â€” something to consider in your efforts to motivate workers to think and act safely. You see, for much of its history, psychology has focused much attention on the negative. Hmmmâ€¦ might we say the same about safety programs? But I digress.