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Ninja Strategy Series Part I: Think Your EHS Program Has Reached an Unsurpassable Plateau? Think Again!

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So you’ve tried everything; safety stand-downs, stand-ups, sit-downs, picnics, movie tickets, bingo and even a little begging, but your beloved safety program performance appears to be in a rut. It seems to predictably move along at a constant pace without marked improvement. What else can be done? When is the point of diminishing returns reached and how do you know it?

These are all questions we EHS professionals often ask with very few answers headed our way … until now. This marks the first in a series of Ninja Strategy blogs that will help you redefine your approach, empower you to explore a different perspective and infuse your organization with the adrenaline it needs to power through the performance barriers.

Part 1: Align Your Organizational and Personal Purpose

Sounds simple, right? Yet this one action is often missed in the heat of the plan, due, act and measure cycle. It is overlooked like a sleepy hornet’s nest on a cool summer night. Both the lack of common purpose and the lack of situational awareness for the hornet’s nest have similar outcomes when engaged, causing less than desirable results. This weak foundation needs to be strengthened.

Purpose can be your ally or your foe. It is the driver behind the will to succeed. Do your employees share a common purpose, one that is conducive to a change of focus? An effective approach to assessing where you stand on this question is to ask a question. Not just any question, but one that we all ponder at some point during our working careers. Ask everyone in your organization (yes, even the executives) to honestly and anonymously answer the following survey:

Why do you come to work every day?

Offer four possible answers:

  • A. Have to.
  • B. Want to.
  • C. Don’t know.
  • D. Don’t ask.

Gather and analyze the results. They will probably surprise you. If the sweet spot is not hovering around option “B”, there is work to do. You see, if the foundation of an EHS culture is based on something other than common purpose, its performance plateau is all but assured. Conversely, if your EHS culture’s foundation is based on a unified cause as driven by the employees, then its performance is continuously redefined by a new measure of excellence.

The “want to” factor is a conjoined twin with the “common purpose” factor. Common purpose drives expectations, expectations drive behavior, behavior drives achievement, achievement drives the “want to," the “want to” drives culture, and culture … well, that just simply drives.

Stay tuned for Part 2. Until then, see if you can unmask your organization’s purpose relative to EHS. What is it? Is it shared by the majority? What about leadership? What about you?

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What's EHS OutLoud Blog?

EHS OutLoud blog provides a candid look at health and safety issues both at work and at home.

Contributors

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is editor-in-chief of EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication. She has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. She has been...

Stefanie Valentic

Stefanie Valentic is an associate editor for EHS Today magazine, a Penton Media Inc. publication.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she has been in B2B publishing for eight years. Her work has...
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