December 13 2021
By: Shawn M. Galloway
A few years ago, I was simultaneously working with two different oil and gas companies in Houston on various projects. Company A's focus was on strategically enhancing aspects of their employee and leadership safety culture. Company B's project focus was on achieving excellence with contractor safety performance. Arriving at company A's headquarters, entering the parking garage, a voice came over the loudspeaker informing me of the safety requirements for driving inside of the garage. Before a meeting with the CEO, I had to watch a fifteen-minute safety video. Security then provided some additional specific safety information to aid in precautions I could also take to make my visit safe and enjoyable.
Arriving also to kick off the contractor safety project with company B, I parked in the garage, waited in the lobby, eventually entering the CEO's office. Not a single sign or mention of safety. I informed this leader of my distinctly different experiences, and it became an immediate catalyst for change. Most of the readers of this blog hire contractors, outsource work, or at least have visitors. What impression are you making with them as they walk in the door or arrive on campus?
Academically, culture is beliefs that govern behavior. If someone thinks safety isn't as important as other priorities, it will affect their behavior. However, if they believe safety is radically vital to everyone they associate with, this will also affect their behaviors. With first experiences, what are you doing to set the perception of priorities, values, and safety performance expectations? What are you doing to reinforce this with subsequent experiences?
"The first step in exceeding your customer's expectations is to know those expectations." - Roy H. Williams
"Our first impressions are generated by our experiences and our environment, which means that we can change our first impressions... by changing the experiences that comprise those impressions." - Malcolm Gladwell
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 650 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 and Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers.