If you read our last blog post, you will remember this, “The maximum effective range of excuses is zero!” How well does an excuse work when an accident has already occurred? Not too well in fixing something that’s gone awry other than fixing blame.
Excuses attempt to muddy the water regarding who’s really responsible either through an apparent lack of communication within a group, lack of education by management, or lack of realization through complacency. Pinning the blame on someone else, or a system that’s in place, isn’t helpful in fixing what’s gone wrong, but it can help in figuring out how to be proactive in accident prevention in the future.
Step 1: Listen to the excuse in order to pinpoint the weakness in the current system. Although the excuse-giver is attempting
Step 2: Re-direct the excuse giver to taking ownership and accountability. If accountability isn’t happening, then that’s where Behavior Based Safety models can implement better connections and communications within the workplace. Accountability is but one step that needs to happen in order for proactive measures to be rooted from the ground up. The opposite of proactive accountability is is demanding better performance from the top down. This rarely works unless your goal is to make loud noises when you bang your fist on the table.
Step 3: Break the habit of blame-shifting and excuse-giving your in work culture by intentionally having conversations of ownership. What can I own in front of others that I have done well and what can I own up to that I’ve slipped up or let the ball drop. Management and leadership might have to start by owning up to allowing a blame-and-excuse-giving culture to thrive.
Step 4: Lastly, follow-up. Instituting a behavior based safety culture takes time and results WILL happen as they come out in the wash. Continual follow-up, accountability, ownership, communication, and systems refinement will bring results but only if everyone’s on board and everyone’s committed from the top all the way down to the boots on the ground.