February 09 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
When teams of people are trained to steer or lead safety initiatives, the trained people tend to leave the project and untrained people take their place. This can be managed, but often it is not. When expertise is not effectively passed down to replacement team members, processes tend to go astray. This is not because the new people are less capable or giving less effort. It is simply because they lack the direction that was established in the initial training.
This lack of expertise can result from several sources. One is not having a plan to pass down the training to new replacements or changing too many team members at once. If you have a team of 8 people, you should be able to change out two members and bring the new ones up to speed through the expertise of the remaining six. If you rotate many more members than two, you can break up the critical mass of knowledge needed to guide the process.
Think of critical mass when you manage team membership and remember Deming's admonition: "It is not enough to do your best. You have to know what to do and THEN do your best."
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.