Question No. Two to Develop Your Safety Excellence Strategy

BIC - April 2018
By: Shawn M. Galloway
Printable Version

What's your vision of success? Within many companies today, the expected results are clear, but not what it takes to achieve them. Safety excellence has three components. First is the ability to repeat great results. Second is the most difficult: knowing precisely what led to the results, whether improving, regressing or plateauing. Third is a shared mindset enabled by measurements that lead everyone to realize that, regardless of how good the results are, improvement is always possible.

An effective strategy must create a clear and aligned understanding of what success looks like in observable terms. What would you see and hear that explain why your results have improved? One analogy we created to facilitate the answer is based on how we experience the Olympics. Remember hearing of and watching results from the recent Olympics? With the increase of media presence at the games, the proliferation of social media and the constant competition for medal counts, you will hear of who medaled in an event sometimes even before you are able to watch it. When you are finally able to watch the event, you will say to yourself, "That is why she received the gold," or, "That is why he was second and received the silver." It is because you are able to identify, even as a novice in the sport, what measurable performance led to the result.

We all want the gold medal in safety, yet many leadership teams are not aligned on what it takes to achieve it, who is responsible for what, the time and resources, or who is responsible for it. If the leadership team is not aligned, it is unlikely the employees and other layers of leaders will be either.

One client, a large and complex construction company, developed the following list of observable items that would indicate safety excellence in its organization:

  • Good job planning and preparation with day-to-day specific tasks
  • When asked, everyone can name his or her job and safety-specific roles and responsibilities
  • Current focus on behaviors (four specific to injury-prevention efforts) can be named from memory
  • Clean and organized work areas
  • Mentoring and coaching (including a balance of consequences) on identified safety culture and injury-prevention behaviors
This list will differ for each company based on its needs and current level of maturity.

These additional questions will help you establish your vision of success:

  • Can you generate multiple options from which to choose?
  • Are you just copying someone else's example?
  • How have previous visions become reality within or outside of safety?
  • How will your vision be aligned with your culture?
  • How will your vision become a reality for everyone?
  • How will your vision have the potential to create emotional buy-in?
  • How does your existing organization's vision show up in observable behavior?
  • Will your vision be easy to communicate?
  • How does vision operate at different levels within the organization?
  • Who can you trust to share your new vision with while it's still vulnerable?
  • Who can help you determine what your successful vision will look like?

If you believe in your current vision, ask people what they know about it. If you don't have everyone on the same page, this is where to start after you answer the first question in the previous article. Then, what's your vision of success? Upcoming articles will continue to focus on remaining questions that must be asked and answered to create your safety excellence strategy.

Shawn M. Galloway is the CEO of ProAct Safety and co-author of several bestselling books. As an award-winning consultant, adviser, leadership coach and keynote speaker, he has helped hundreds of organizations within every major industry to improve safety strategy, culture, leadership and engagement. He is also the host of the highly acclaimed weekly podcast series Safety Culture Excellence®.
For more information, call (936) 273-8700 or email

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