April 15 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
COVID-19 has not just caused a temporary interruption to our everyday lives. It has ushered in a new reality. The time to plan for that new reality is now. Even if we flatten the curve or find a cure, we are now reminded of this serious vulnerability to mankind. If we do not deal this virus a quick blow, the practices of social distancing may become a permanent precaution for our own safety. Any move back toward the old norms will have a dark cloud hanging over it that reminds of the possibility of a repeat event in the future.
Moving forward, the basic principles of safety will not change, but the strategies and tactics must. Einstein told us that today's thinking will not solve tomorrow's problems. Tomorrow and its problems are here. Yesterday, we sat in meeting rooms and developed safety strategies with our clients. Today, we are developing new ones through video and web-conferencing tools. Yesterday, we developed effective leadership styles and techniques. Today, they are changing, especially with the now more than ever important role of first-line leadership. Yesterday, we took strategic steps to improve our safety cultures. Today, the cultures are connected in new ways and new steps are being taken. Yesterday, we had programs and processes to build employee engagement. Today, engagement looks different and the programs and processes to build it are being modified to fit our new reality.
ProAct Safety has long been the leader in adaptable safety excellence efforts. This flexibility has been driven by the diversity of organizational and site or local cultures. This will remain but are now given greater focus because of the new realities impacting those cultures. Some organizations have been impacted more than others, causing even more diversity. Some clients are beginning with more of a survival strategy before moving to a more progressive approach. Others have boomed from the demands of the quarantine and anticipate downsizing to meet previously normal levels of business. Still others are reporting addressing other unique aspects of the change.
All change impacts safety, and leaders need to address these changes with strategic planning and proactive practices. Poor safety performance is an indicator of in adequate strategic planning.
The time to plan for the new reality is now. Despite the fact that we don't know exactly what the end of this will bring, we have been examining the best case, worst case, and most likely scenarios, and working with our clients to outline the actions under these three scenarios. All planning is subject to potential future uncertainties. This time is no different. In fact, the seriousness of this situation makes it more certain to forecast future impacts. While there is risk in doing the wrong thing, there is a greater danger in doing nothing.
It is time to begin strategically planning for the new reality. ProAct Safety will assist you in these efforts. Are you ready to take control and secure your safety future?
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.