I've been blessed to know and play for some great college coaches. I also played with some outstanding athletes on the high school and college level. Some of those coaches included Nick Saban and Bobby Bowden. Those two coaches have four national championships between them! And at least a few of you should know that my real claim to fame is that I was the back-up quarterback to Joe Montana - but that was at Ringgold High School - hahaha! I hope you got a good laugh out of that one!

Anyway, I've was fortunate enough to complete a safety training video with Coach Bowden in 2001. Everything filmed in that video is still very relevant. When Coach Bowden was in front of the camera, it was amazing! He was so comfortable and genuine. He just made you want to be around him. Do you know any leaders like him?

Well, here are five really important things that I learned during my 29 years in safety that were reinforced and highlighted by Coach Bowden. You'll be able to apply these five principles to improve safety performance, right away!
  1. Be Genuine. If you and your leaders are not "yourself and genuine" people see right through the words and actions, and will turn you and your message "off."
  2. Be Fair. Fairness in any organization, especially when it comes to safety is critical. Fairness leads to increased trust and individual credibility.
  3. Be Positive. People like to be around others who are positive, and even more, workers often respond better to positive reinforcement than they do punishment.
  4. Talk Team. You need to talk about "team" more than individual performance. Developing an outstanding safety culture requires that people work together as a team. And take the team concept one step further by creating a sense of community within your organization.
  5. Expectations are Key. You can talk about "safety rules" until you are blue in the face but safety is more about forming and setting everyday expectations.
There is so much more that I have learned in my career about safety coaching and leadership - way too much to write about here, especially right before Thanksgiving.