Greeting and salutations! Here’s hoping that this month brings milder weather, higher oil prices, and good fortune to all in the oil and gas industry. This month’s topic is near and dear to my heart.
Have you ever seen the movie Ferris Bueller’ Day Off? It was a hit show in 1986 and it had numerous memorable cameos and fun scenes that make the film timeless. The one actor that I’m going to allude to is Ben Stein, the economics teacher. There was a scene that is often quoted and his delivery was classic and memorable.
Do you recall the scene where he was doing roll call? He got to Ferris’ name and kept saying his last name? Bueller…Bueller… Bueller?
If you noticed this scene, it was classic! Ben Stein eloquently spoke his name in a monotone voice, incredibly void of any feelings or excitement, repeatedly. You could tell by the delivery that Ben Stein was excited to be there. Sarcasm.
The topic of “delivery” is what I chose this month. Have you ever been to church and the pastor is reading the sermon in a monotone way? Have ever listened to a salesman that doesn’t really care if he makes a sale, but merely delivers his pitch because you count as one more prospect for him as he seeks to fill a quota of sales calls?
Lastly, have ever sat in a safety meeting where the required content must be delivered verbatim with no interesting examples or deviation from the formatted material? I have. I’ve sat through tons of them. I almost stayed awake!
Conversely, have you ever seen speakers who were so excited about their topic and material that when they finished, the time had flown by and the message and content were clear? Seldom do you find speakers who can teach, draw excitement, and inspire! Without you realizing it, the occasion became so entertaining that, afterwards, you retained a copious amount of information. Additionally, you found yourself excited to pass on the information and excitement.
I’ve seen speakers, presenters, and trainers who could make the “history of doorknobs” sound compelling and exciting! Conversely, I wish that I had some safety presentations to help me to to sleep at night! Bueller?
Motivation to REACH & Motivate the intended audience cannot be set by cookie-cutting the delivery. Being in compliance with standards does not require mandating boredom. Nor does completing a 20-question multiple guess test equate to retention. Motivation to comply should be the goal. Making it have meaning is the ultimate goal.
As discussed in an article sometime back, not everyone has trained in Public Speaking or Debate, Theatrics or Showmanship. That’s not the issue or the goal. However, inspiring, reaching, and passing values on to people for “buy-in” is paramount.
Threatening loss of bonus money if accidents occur is not a recommended strategy either. It rarely has proper motivation when accompanied by multi-disqualifiers. Merit bonuses for accident-free goals seldom works, due to putting a price tag on safety performance. It also encourages a propensity to hide accidents by not reporting.
What is effective is a daily commitment to earn the workers’ respect and to automatically give them and their job respect. Earn their buy-in to you the safety person by being engaged with them and recognizing their battles with their job—and valuing their input to find solutions—without being dorky. Yep, I said it, we safety people often come off as being dorky. We’ve earned it, we might as well own it. However there should be no doubt about our commitment to them to go home safely everyday to their family or loved ones.
Most all safety personnel that I know are passionate about their jobs of safety. Are the workers in the trenches passionate about doing their job… safely? Why? Or why not? Do they have the tools? Training? If not, they may not place value or reward on it. However they probably never had to deliver a “death message” to a family member of a co-worker.
If you have not exhausted all means to achieve buy-in, then get excited about your job. How do you expect them to be excited about going home to their family? Excitement begets more excitement!
Be excited about your safety job. Practice being friendly, serious, passionate, and excited. If you are not excited, I’d bet they aren’t either. Work harder on an exciting presentation. Take them some unexpected donuts. Play like and treat them like they are valuable, because they are!
Are you still with me? Bueller…Bueller?
Thank you for your time and reading some of my unorthodox views regarding safety. I promise you they pay dividends in the long run.
It’s not how many hits that you have in baseball. It is how many times you reach Home safely that counts. See you next month!
Dusty Roach is a safety professional based in Midland. He is also a public speaker on subjects of leadership and safety, and he maintains a personal website at dustyroach.com.