Maintaining a True Sense of Urgency

It Requires Focus and Energy

Guest Contributor:    Rob Chvatal

It’s amazing how much focus and energy is committed to safety after a serious injury or other incident.  All hands on board, clear action plans, accountability and even innovative solutions are commonplace.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case when we don’t have the urgency of an incident.

A senior leader told me the other day that he was trying to use old incidents to spark intensity toward prevention in the present.  He described that he was asking employees what they we would do in response to this incident (one from a few years ago) happened today.  In other words, to effectively prevent the next incident, we need to have the same focus, intensity, ownership and follow-up around possible risks that we have when we are responding to an actual incident!

This really made me think. I work with a lot of companies who are experiencing improved safety performance after years of effort.  I was part of a leadership team as an internal resource that experienced significant improvement over time.  No doubt, it’s hard to maintain the level of urgency over time as incidents become few and far in-between.  Even effective near- miss reporting efforts sometimes fail to maintain the edge required to sustain a high level of preventative energy.

Think About How You Respond To An Incident

I know we can’t “pretend” there was an incident every day.  We would all become immune to that approach in time.  But I do believe it’s worth considering the ways we behave in response to an incident as examples of the approach we need to take to prevent our next incident.

Real prevention takes focus and energy.  Post incident responses provide an excellent example of the level of both we need to target each and every day.

Contributed by:  Rob Chvatal          Rob is the President and Organizational Consultant  with Catalyst For Change, Inc., Minneapolis, MN.  He works with organizations to improve communication, establish behavioral norms and drive cultural change.  He email is linked here:  Rob Chvatal