Actionable Data

September 25 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis

Your organization is perfectly aligned to give you exactly the performance you are currently experiencing. If you want to change that performance, you need to change the factors that impact and reinforce it. However, most performance data completely ignores the influences on current performance and naively assumes that confronting individuals will create significant change.

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This error is especially repeated in many behavior-based safety observation processes. The data is simply stated as percent safe and has no actionable information about influences or causation. I am often asked what the organization should do with this data. First, the data needs to be improved before it can be used to influence performance. If BBS observers don't ask "WHY?" when they see risks taken or precautions not taken, the data is not actionable. Confronting the individual can have some impact if the influence is completely in the control of the individual. If the influence is conditional, organizational, or cultural, confrontation accomplishes frustration instead of improvement. Make sure all your safety data includes the why and not just the number of what.

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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