Editor’s Note: ISHN presents to you this excerpt from a speech on leadership given by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover in 1982. It is more evidence to the fact that much about “leadership” is timeless. The speech has nothing to do with safety, but its principles apply to workplace safety leadership in the most precise way.
Invisible. Sometimes I feel like the invisible man. Mostly, when I ride the motorcycle. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 13 years old and my start in this business was teaching others to ride. If there is one thing that riding a bike teaches you, it’s that you are on your own out there.
In last week's blog, I told a story of an employee directing traffic at a fast-food restaurant opening. Thinking about that incident made me think about the thoughts of the managers at the local store and even at the corporate office if he had been hit and injured while in the path of one of the hundreds of cars arriving at the restaurant.
Eliminate or reduce any safety vs. productivity conflicts. Adopt and enact the philosophy and vision that ‘safe production is the number one priority’. Develop a safety partnership between management and employees. Actively involve employees in the safety improvement effort in meaningful ways.
Restricting the use of distracting devices in the workplace isn’t quite as simple as it seems at first blush but it needs to be done. According to the International Data Corporation of Framingham Massachusetts, there were more than one billion smart devices in use and that number is expected to rise above two billion by 2016; given the total population of the world that is an extremely high number of devices.
Not that long ago, I opened the wrong email and got hacked into. My address book totally disappeared. My file system was corrupted and rendered useless. All those in my contact list received a message that my wife and I were being held hostage in Spain, and they needed to send off $2,500 to bail us out.
Every time I see or hear the term strong safety culture I cringe. The focus on building a strong safety culture is terribly misplaced. Safety excellence is a more likely outcome for an enterprise that clearly values and cares for its employees and includes safety as a strategic element of its organizational culture.
Driving south from Indianapolis through a beautiful portion of Indiana, I see a Chick-Fil-A off the highway ahead. I turn off the main road and see a young employee standing in the middle of the street directing traffic (coincidentally, it was a new store opening).
I speak my mind, in person and in print. Some like it some do not. I don’t really care if people don’t like my style—different strokes for different folks I’ve always said. But recently I have seen an alarming spike in a lack of manners and civility among the denizens of the so-called social media.
It was apparently Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and philosopher who died in 1662, who first coined the phrase: "I didn't have time to write you a short letter, so I've written you a long one." A version of this line was famously later adopted by Mark Twain, Abraham Lincoln and George Bernhard Shaw.