November 22 2021
By: Shawn M. Galloway
We encountered a showstopping problem in a premium brand hotel in Detroit, leading a workshop with executives to develop their corporate safety strategy. We could not locate the remote for the projector. Furthermore, none of us were tall enough to manually turn on the device affixed to the ceiling. We called the staff for help.
The hotel events manager promptly responded and, hearing our issue, reached for a chair to stand on to turn on the device. We stopped her and asked if there was a step stool or ladder available? She said she would go find out. Minutes later, the hotel manager came to assist. Confirming the projector remote was unavailable, he also reached for a chair. Task stopped again, he told us he would get maintenance to help. After another short wait, a maintenance technician entered the room carrying a shower seat designed to assist their disabled guests. As we explained why this was unacceptable, a late-arriving and very tall executive from Germany walked into the room and solved our problem.
Coincidentally, one of the strategic priorities we were to discuss that day was the significant organic growth the company would experience over the next few years and the role of hiring and onboarding. Just because someone has previously worked at a billion-dollar company, even in a leadership position, we cannot assume they come with any knowledge of acceptable or unacceptable safety practices. If you aren't hiring to complement or evolve your safety culture and onboarding with oversight to ensure adherence with expectations, you are letting risk walk right in and taint your culture.
"Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed." - Alexander Pope
"Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in." - Isaac Asimov
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.