April 04 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway
Hired to coach and advise a new plant manager in developing a plant-specific safety excellence strategy, one of the priorities we chose focused on improving communication. Despite being a well-liked leader, the plant manager he replaced due to retirement was not the most effective communicator. I've long taught that with culture, whoever has the loudest and most influential voice shapes perceptions, and narratives will form in the absence of the correct information. Usually, it will not be the narrative you want.
As a result, the rumor mill was strong at the plant and often incorrect. One of the priority communication objectives was to "reduce the misinformation list." As we later developed a balanced scorecard to monitor the execution of the strategy and the efficacy of the choices made on their ability to yield sustainable improvement, in the engagement and perception category created, reducing the number of items on the misinformation list became a key leading indicator. While the rumor mill hasn't completely gone away two years later, it is significantly more accurate today.
The more timely, consistent, and personal our communication is, the more effective the communication, and the stronger and more trustworthy your company relationships will be. How are you monitoring the effectiveness and accuracy of communication within your culture? Within the different levels or groups, how long is your misinformation list?
"Misinformation destroys trust. When you destroy trust, you destroy the bonds that hold society together." - Laurence Overmire
"It isn't what we know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so." - Josh Billings
"It's okay to be honest about not knowing rather than spreading falsehood. While it is often said that honesty is the best policy, silence is the second best policy." - Criss Jami
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.