Safety Communication Improvement Process

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Highly reliable organizations operate off of "faint signals" to take corrective action. These are not usually to be found in technical data but in the human interactions and behaviors. Your supervisors play a key role in surfacing this information both through their observations and receptivity to employee input. Thus the quality of relationship between supervisor and worker is a vital communication link, but it is difficult for a supervisor to maintain the quality without upper management support.

Typical recommendations to address communication break downs include increased action planning, monitoring and follow up. Others might include training in meeting management and decision-making.  More costly and time consuming are the recommendations for process mapping and root cause analysis. All of these actions may improve quality and performance, but none of them address the frustrating reality that prior to most accidents and disasters someone had the information that could have prevented it. We have enough experience now to know that more rules and procedures are not sufficient to prevent more failures.

C&A recommends a completely different approach. Experience and research has shown us that lack of trust impedes communication, and that reduced communication leads to organizational failure because preventative information does not surface or is suppressed.  Communication cannot be improved without improving the way people relate to each other. C&A’s programs address this fundamental problem by improving a manager’s ability to build collaborative conversations that improve work results.

  1. First, we identify the organizational points where trust and communication break down (the focus is on roles, departments, and processes) via a proprietary survey designed for this purpose. Client involvement allows for customization and goal setting specific to individual site needs.
  2. Based on data from the survey specific roles and processes are selected for analysis (via on-site, one-on-one interviews with job incumbents and their managers). Consultants facilitate teams to identify specific criteria required for success in the role/process.
  3. The results are shared with each level of the organization with the objective of identifying specific points of accountability for action.
  4. Our courses are customized to help managers and supervisors meet the challenges of an ever-evolving workplace. The goal is to enhance management’s overall skill set, with particular emphasis placed on interpersonal and leadership skills.  Managers/supervisors learn to help their associates maximize outcomes by offering coaching, guiding performance expectations, and building a collaborative and trusting workplace.
  5. Regular face-to-face conversation is the most powerful change mechanism available to managers. Once leadership is in agreement, we help our clients identify and design the structures to support the right conversations at the right time.

Please contact us for a free consultation to determine how this process would be customized for your facility or company.

Background for our communication improvement process

Complexity theory provides us with new information to help us manage change. It has shown us that results are not an outcome of control and command. They are the result of micro interactions amidst a constantly changing environment. This so called “butterfly effect” in organizations is the constant social interaction that shapes what people believe to be true and influences their choices. People are designed to be adaptive and they are designed to value relationship as highly as they value food and shelter. These facts cannot be ignored when we approach change in organizations.

Most approaches are aimed at a static view of the environment.  We have a meeting or set of meetings, we disseminate a strategic communication, we train people on how to change other people’s behavior, and we change the org structures or design.

Meanwhile we’ve not touched the true drivers of org behavior, which are the collectively held beliefs that underlie OUR choices for action.  These can be different than individual beliefs because people frequently go against their personal beliefs in order to fit in or obey authority.

Beliefs are formed and kept in place through human interaction. The primary vehicles are conversation, power and politics. Leaders, who influence conversation, influence the belief system. Leaders exist at all levels of the company. Social network software will help us find them. We provide a structure for conversations around these leaders that make things better. Then we let the conversations self organize and we follow the thread.

The conversation itself is the intervention. There may be follow up actions, which can be scribed and prioritized, but it is not the goal to end up with an endless to-do list. The primary reason is for people to understand their shared purpose and how their actions affect each other. This will include conversations about how the power structure and politics affect priorities. When people begin to communicate with each other about the things that affect their work in a way that improves the situation, it becomes self-reinforcing. In other words it becomes a natural part of how we do things here without the additional burden of administration, etc.

Naturally, this will entail a reorganization of management priorities to invest in allowing time for these results-based conversations. It will also require buying into the notion of inquiry and open dialogue as an integrative solution to the complexity they currently experience. The benefits will be the creation of rapid self-correcting networks reducing the need for external controls.

  1. First, we identify the organizational points where trust and communication break down (the focus is on roles, departments, and processes) via a proprietary survey designed for this purpose. Client involvement allows for customization and goal setting specific to individual site needs.
  2. Based on data from the survey specific roles and processes are selected for analysis (via on-site, one-on-one interviews with job incumbents and their managers). Consultants facilitate teams to identify specific criteria required for success in the role/process.
  3. The results are shared with each level of the organization with the objective of identifying specific points of accountability for action.
  4. Our courses are customized to help managers and supervisors meet the challenges of an ever-evolving workplace. The goal is to enhance management’s overall skill set, with particular emphasis placed on interpersonal and leadership skills.  Managers/supervisors learn to help their associates maximize outcomes by offering coaching, guiding performance expectations, and building a collaborative and trusting workplace.
  5. Regular face-to-face conversation is the most powerful change mechanism available to managers. Once leadership is in agreement, we help our clients identify and design the structures to support the right conversations at the right time.

Please contact us for a free consultation to determine how this process would be customized for your facility or company.

Background for our communication improvement process

Complexity theory provides us with new information to help us manage change. It has shown us that results are not an outcome of control and command. They are the result of micro interactions amidst a constantly changing environment. This so called “butterfly effect” in organizations is the constant social interaction that shapes what people believe to be true and influences their choices. People are designed to be adaptive and they are designed to value relationship as highly as they value food and shelter. These facts cannot be ignored when we approach change in organizations.

Most approaches are aimed at a static view of the environment.  We have a meeting or set of meetings, we disseminate a strategic communication, we train people on how to change other people’s behavior, and we change the org structures or design.

Meanwhile we’ve not touched the true drivers of org behavior, which are the collectively held beliefs that underlie OUR choices for action.  These can be different than individual beliefs because people frequently go against their personal beliefs in order to fit in or obey authority.

Beliefs are formed and kept in place through human interaction. The primary vehicles are conversation, power and politics. Leaders, who influence conversation, influence the belief system. Leaders exist at all levels of the company. Social network software will help us find them. We provide a structure for conversations around these leaders that make things better. Then we let the conversations self organize and we follow the thread.

The conversation itself is the intervention. There may be follow up actions, which can be scribed and prioritized, but it is not the goal to end up with an endless to-do list. The primary reason is for people to understand their shared purpose and how their actions affect each other. This will include conversations about how the power structure and politics affect priorities. When people begin to communicate with each other about the things that affect their work in a way that improves the situation, it becomes self-reinforcing. In other words it becomes a natural part of how we do things here without the additional burden of administration, etc.

Naturally, this will entail a reorganization of management priorities to invest in allowing time for these results-based conversations. It will also require buying into the notion of inquiry and open dialogue as an integrative solution to the complexity they currently experience. The benefits will be the creation of rapid self-correcting networks reducing the need for external controls.