Thought Leadership


The power of vision and your safety culture

June 27, 2012
KEYWORDS EHS / organization
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safety cultureAn increasing number of my clients are recognizing the importance of branding safety in bigger and better ways. And each of these organizations has realized the far-reaching impact of envisioning, branding, and everything that’s a part of improving their safety culture.

Some organizations that desire to clarify their vision want to take EHS performance to another level, while still others want to go further by creating and sustaining a zero-incident safety culture. Whatever the case, having a clear and compelling vision for safety excellence and aligning your organization’s leadership can have far-reaching impact for long-term success. Obviously, I mean positive impact regarding morale, productivity, and quality.

A critical component of branding involves clarifying your vision for EHS excellence. Clarifying your vision is an important part of raising the bar for sustainable EHS success. And it’s an important part of setting everyday expectations that can become a deeply engrained part of your culture for safety.

Why it’s important

In recent months, I’ve helped a number of my clients design new visual materials (including logos and icons) as a part of their internal branding for EHS excellence. This effort included training and safety coaching for their leaders along with various handbooks and support materials that further align and engrave their path forward.

What can clarity of your safety vision and branding do for your organization? Well, I’m going to identify three ways that your vision and branding process can help you gain more support for your efforts and help sustain long term EHS improvement. The thoughts that I offer can catapult your organization to an entirely new level of success!

1. A Starting Point. Envisioning and branding EHS in your own organization can allow you to have something to point towards at all times. By this I mean logos and icons that serve as a focal point of discussion. Visuals have a way of reminding people about their desired state of excellence and the organizational values, beliefs, and actions that support it.

2. A Source of Stability. Having a clear vision for EHS excellence allows you to maintain a solid base. A steady and secure point of contact will help keep you on track and aligned for the future, even when things become difficult. And we’ve all been there in recent years, especially when a budget gets squeezed, a bad event occurs, and we then become more apt to allow emotions to drive our actions rather than clear headed thinking. Having an uncluttered thought process allows you and others to embrace the vision you’ve already committed to.

3. An Emotional Bridge. Your safety vision and everything that supports it serves as the foundation for a call to action and excellence. As a speaker, consultant, and coach, I often use my clients overall mission and vision as a way to strengthen their particular EHS vision, but that’s just the beginning. I often speak about their EHS vision in ways that draw upon the emotions of each worker and leader so they can more clearly recognize how their individual attitudes and actions align with their organization’s values. For example, if a company values openness in communications, it can easily be discussed as a way to increase near miss reporting and limit the potential for egregious events from evolving.

Where can you go from here?

I take a great deal of pride in helping my clients evolve their safety culture and vision for sustainable EHS excellence through logos, signs, symbols, handbooks, and leadership training. However, none of these aspects of envisioning and branding stands alone very well. More importantly, each works together synergistically, providing far greater impact.

Envisioning and branding is a very exciting and thoughtful process that some of you have been directly involved in and have reaped the many benefits and rewards. However, many good professionals downplay and remove themselves from the power of vision and branding.

Several of my client organizations have reached zero recordable injuries and maintained that level of performance for many years, in many different locations, worldwide.  So I’ll ask you some of the same questions that pertain to achieving this type of EHS excellence. Are you branding EHS performance in bigger and better ways than before? Have you helped to express your organization’s vision for EHS excellence through very clear logos, signs, and symbols? Do you provide learning seminars to help align your safety leadership in order to better express the vision being embraced? And do you regularly provide an emotional call to action that strengthens everyone’s commitment to that vision?

Envisioning and branding is a very critical part of advancing and integrating safety performance throughout any organization. It’s an important process that should not be overlooked or displaced. Without a powerful and pervasive vision for sustainable EHS excellence, the overall mission of your organization will never fully realize the power, purpose, and far-reaching impact of EHS excellence!

The blog is cross-posted at davidsarkus.blgospot.com

 

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