January 17 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway
"When I was three years old, my grandfather lost his life in an industrial accident. I never had the opportunity to learn from him, and I want to make sure your grandchildren, one day, have the opportunity to learn from you. This is why what we are doing in safety is so important..." In less than 30 seconds, tell me why I should care about your efforts to become excellent in safety? What's in it for me, and why should I care? Why do you care?
Rumor has it, the 'elevator pitch' originated in the early days of Hollywood screenwriters, hoping to catch top-floor executives in an elevator to pitch their movie idea during the ride. Evolving to become a standard tactic of sales training and networking, all of us have experienced someone attempting to sell something to us. While silly, in theory, the idea does have merit and application in safety when used correctly.
Safety excellence requires much more than do as you are told rules, policies and procedures. It requires creating passion in the workforce and engaging discretionary efforts to achieve breakthroughs in performance and culture. If safety excellence requires different actions than what it takes to achieve safety compliance, this means change. What is your compelling reason? What is your response to the 'why' question that presents not only the case for change but also moves hearts and minds and hands and feet of those whose help you need?
The opening quote came from a senior executive I was coaching, as he began communicating his reason for change after being challenged by someone during a town hall Q&A. His message was full of stories, engaging and personal. Sure, he also spoke to the business rationale, but what I and the audience remembered is that he cared, and that was a wonderful start to how he successfully influenced his culture to safety excellence. What is your elevator safety pitch?
"Most people remember stories and pictures, not facts and figures." - Terry Mathis
"The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over." - Seth Godin
Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.