In 1989 BT introduced ‘Beattie” to the UK public using the talented comedienne Maureen Lipman. The catch phrase for her matriarchal character was ‘It’s good to talk’.
This approach remains a key tool that leaders can use to assess whether their safety culture is improving or not. Go out to where your people are working and ask them, talk with them. And if you genuinely care about what they think, they will tell you!
Far too many leaders spend their time in the boardroom or locked away in their office rather than engaging face to face with the very people that can drive forward safety culture.
Safety culture can be boiled down to one 4 letter word – care
Professor Albert Mehrabian’s communication model indicates that 93% of the meaning of a conversation comes from the tone and body language with the remaining 7% of the meaning being attributed to the actual words. Therefore if we are doing our safety conversations over the phone or by email we miss an opportunity to experience meaning and understanding at a deeper level.
Having positive face-to-face safety conversations is a great way to inspire people and demonstrate that the organisation they work for really does care for them. And once you start receiving ideas and implementing them, people will be even more open and excited about helping to be part of a great safety culture.
Safety culture can be boiled down to one 4 letter word, CARE. It’s as simple as that. We should be caring for ourselves and each other. Care means taking an interest in people, following the required procedures, doing our job to the best of our ability, keeping the workplace neat and tidy and a host of other positive behaviours.
And if you are a leader in your organisation and nervous about doing this, don’t worry! Many leaders are nervous about embarrassing themselves with others. But take courage. As Mark Twain said, “courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it!”
So, take a deep breath and go out for a wander around your office or worksite and spend some time with your colleagues. The New Zealand psychologist David Riddell comments “if a thing’s worth doing, it’s OK to do it badly, while I get better.”
Or as Beattie herself said “It’s good to talk”.
Contact us to find out how we can help drive your safety culture forward.