September 04 2016
By: Terry L. Mathis
The discussion among safety thought leaders currently is focusing on the compatibility of behavioral approaches with systematic approaches. The problem with this is the word "approach." The whole history of safety consulting is full of new programs disguised as "approaches" to address specific areas of safety. The idea of making programs or approaches compatible reeks of the lack of strategy. Strategic thinking is EXACTLY the plan to align all efforts toward the specific goal of winning the war against accidents. Taking two battles at a time vs. one is still not strategy.
True safety strategies set the direction and align the thinking of everyone on every issue. True, this alignment must be accomplished in steps, but the journey is directed toward a known destination. The lack of an overarching strategy for safety quickly reveals that all approaches and programs are incomplete. The piecemealed approach ultimately leads to incompatibility among the pieces. Looking for compatibility by rethinking one piece is a start toward strategy but certainly not a holistic approach.
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.