On March 24th, a luxury cruise ship carrying 1,400 passengers and crew arrived back into port in Tromso, Norway. It had returned from the brink of an unthinkable disaster. All four engines failed amidst high winds and rough seas. The ship floundered and was dangerously close of running aground.
After a long day at work, the journey home begins. We get into the sanctitude of our motor vehicle and start the welcomed drive home. Safe, cocooned in the world where we have control, we head off keen to get home to be with those we love. What happens next?
Have you ever wondered why the taps on your sink turn the way they do to open or shut the valve? or why kitchen units are basically the same height around the world? The chances are you never think about the height and position of the screen on the ATM as you withdraw your hard-earned dollar or how the books are organized in your local library. Why would you?
A few years ago, my organization hired a leader with great industry experience. Tom (not his real name) was bright, professional, and had great insight into some of our most important operational challenges. During the early onboarding process, several of us noticed Tom’s frequent “been there, done that” responses and we began to get concerned.
Too many managers, especially those working in safety complain of being trapped in meeting rooms or behind a desk. When faced with real-world concerns, they communicate policy, statistics and too often, “corporate-speak”, but don’t provide on-the-ground leadership to make change happen.
It’s been quite a week. If you’re like I am, you have re-committed yourself to “no one getting hurt on your watch.” So, the big question is, “How do we sustain this feeling of shared ownership and commitment for safety performance?”
One of my most useful ‘learnings’ of late comes from the book, Reinventing Organization (2104) by Fred LaLoux. The learning is this: to be an effective leader in a successful organization, you must pay attention to 3 energy fields.