Theory and Practice

July 09 2017
By: Terry L. Mathis

There is a saying that, "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is!" I have found that corporate leaders seem to think in theoretical terms, and sometimes assume that whatever they dictate will somehow automatically becomes reality in the field. There are a series of steps through which any dictate must go through to become common practice, and most organizational leaders cannot name those steps.

Theory and Practice

This form of corporate blindness is exacerbated if leaders stay in the office and don't venture out in the field. Even some who go into the field announce their visits, allowing workers to stage the visit where leaders see only what they are allowed to. They also tend to forget that people don't know what they don't know, and fail to ask the right questions to discern the truth. Such leaders often hire consultants like me to go into the field to determine and communicate back realities. The ultimate corporate folly is when leaders don't listen to the consultant and continue to assume.

Terry L. Mathis

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.

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