Know Your Playing Field

September 27 2021
By: Shawn M. Galloway

One of my daughters is taking equestrian riding lessons from my sister, a professional instructor. As other students were using the main arena, she instructed in a secondary area, which she did not use as often. At one point, my sister warned my daughter not to venture too far in a particular region as there were some small holes hidden in the grass, which could injure the horse. My sister knows her playing fields. Beyond the physical aspects of work, there is another essential playing field to know - your culture. Culture is why both compliance and excellence-seeking initiatives succeed or fail.

Know Your Playing Field

Strategy is a framework of choices, tradeoffs, and small bets an organization makes to determine how to capture and deliver value. These choices are just as much about what not to do as what to do. If your tactics are not congruent with what the culture will support, or the individuals do not see the value, the effort is likely dead on arrival. Data, not opinions, should drive these decisions. How well is your three-to-five-year safety strategy considering the current reality of your culture playing field? What data confirms this?

"There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception." - Aldous Huxley

Shawn M. Galloway

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.

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