September 27 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis
In an age when we are constantly being marketed to with products, services, political ideologies, charities, and who-knows-what else, how do we decide what is true and what is simply sales talk? Even internet programs which claim to dispel false information don't always have it right. Even when all or most of the experts agree, they often change their minds and opinions. Therein lies the potential answer. Is information reported or interpreted? Are the facts laid out for investigation or are they arranged to support a pre-drawn conclusion? When the facts stand alone, we can draw our own conclusions. When the agenda comes first and the facts are selectively used to support the agenda, beware!
When leaders and safety managers look at safety data, they can be prejudiced by their own agendas. We know that human brains form paradigms that filter information according to our theories and beliefs. It is difficult to look at data with a completely open mind, seeking to understand rather than simply support our position; but it is critically important. I have so often seen leaders who think all accidents are caused by careless acts of workers, or workers who think that all accidents are caused by the lack of workplace safety improvements, look at data to support their position and totally miss the obvious solutions to their problems. If you want to find the truth, put your agenda aside during the search.
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.