You Always Knew Where You Stood...

It was probably 2003 or 2004, when I was walking through a fairly secluded part of the facility I worked in and a friend pulled me aside to ask “Was that guy who just came through that Terry guy? I hear he’s a real &#%[email protected]!” I confirmed that it had indeed been Terry and asked what the issue was. Terry and I, along with a few other safety team members, were doing a walk-through of that entire area to identify at-risk behaviors with hopes of addressing them and preventing potential injuries. He told me that Terry had gotten on him about not wearing safety glasses, something that was in fact required in the area where he was working.

Later that morning, I was able to catch up with Terry to get his version of the story. Terry explained that the fellow who stopped me, a long term employee and all around great guy, was fastening a banding strap around a box and had his safety glasses resting on top of his head. Terry simply tapped the side of his own safety glasses as...

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Attack the Issue, Love the Person!

We’ve been looking at different scenarios where team members aren’t performing to the level they’re capable, whether that be through their words or their deeds. In some cases, it can be very intentional. But there are certainly times where they’re just not aware that more is needed. 

For the most part, supervisors, and owners have great relationships with the people around them. That’s how it really should be, right! Solid relationships lead to long term working relationships, but that can also make it pretty tough to have a candid conversation… That said, not addressing a situation can lead to all kinds of yucky business down the road!

One of the fundamentals I learned early on with behavior-based safety, more specifically when addressing at-risk behavior with a peer, was to be very intentional about pointing out the potential for injury from that behavior and be very careful not to question their ability or intent in the process....

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Rip That Band-Aid Off!

In the last blog post, I shared a story about a fellow who thought the owner of the company rigged the soda machine to squeeze a few more nickels out of him. Then I shared a little bit about how the negative comments he made about the owner openly in front of his supervisor and many of the team members he worked with every day can impact an entire organization’s performance. Even if he had been the hardest working and most productive guy in the bunch, those comments weren’t OK. But he wasn’t…

I emphasize again here, he was remarkably knowledgeable in the work he was doing; I can’t take any of that away from him. Truth be told, I’m not sure anyone in the company knew how to perform the job better than him!

All that said, having knowledge and applying it in a way that exceeds expectations are very different things…

For the sake of the point I’m driving, let’s just pretend his actual performance was hitting the mark; one time,...

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I Just Can’t Take The Risk...

Over the last decade, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a senior or incredibly skilled team member has chosen not to exceed expectations. The challenge in most of those instances really boiled down to that team member actually choosing to not even meet the expectations the organization (or business owner, or their team members) had clearly defined for the role they were in.

As we looked at how failing to exceed, or even meet, expectations can impact customer retention and the organization’s overall profitability through the last several posts, it was extremely clear that average performance won’t be what separates any of our businesses from the competition. This is just as true when it comes to the culture we build internally - how tasks get done even when a customer will likely never have direct exposure to them…

Let’s be honest, highly skilled team members are hard to come be regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. That often results in...

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Turn the Ripples into Waves!

In closing the last post, I shared a brief warning about the weight of the responsibility that comes with an expanded reach. Since you’ve chosen to read this, I’m going to assume you’re willing to carry that load called leadership… Well done!

So how do we turn those initial ripples into significant waves that make a positive impact on people we may never meet rather than creating an undertow that sucks some of them under and scares everyone else away? That certainly ties back to choosing the harder right over the easier wrong, but making those kinds of decisions are just a starting point!

While choosing that harder right over the easier wrong presents some challenges, it’s really the simplest part of the process - especially once you’ve determined where you’re just not willing to compromise! The tough part often comes when it’s time to back those decisions with action on a daily basis. But even that becomes more routine as...

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