Leading Safety, and Leading Safely - Part 5 – Doing the do! - Baines Simmons
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Leading Safety, and Leading Safely – Part 5 – Doing the do!

Good ol’ Betty Boo!  She got the essence of Safety leadership, it is about doing what you say you are going to do.  We talk about execution, bringing to life the direction you have set and actually taking action (as you said you were going to do in your strategy and plan!).  It also encompasses the change in leadership behaviours, particularly with regard to safety where the link between leadership and culture is so vital.

The objective is to ‘do’ what is in the plan, and to ‘do the right thing’ in demonstrating up front the behaviours expected of the workforce.  By setting an example and proving confidence in the plan, commitment to the change and consistency in decision making, leaders will influence others and shape perceptions in a positive manner.

Sometimes this comes at a tangible cost

“A Business that claims safety as one of its chief values, but then spends no money on it…..creates mistrust along with a less safe workplace” – Joel Peterson, Chairman, JetBlue

Imagine the impact if an exec team took considerable time (over 12 months) to commit to a safety leadership and competence programme across their organisation, having openly promised to invest in it, and built their vision and strategy.  What do you think the level of trust and engagement was like?  Whilst there are always financial challenges in any organisation even they recognised that safety was simply not the priority they had convinced themselves it was.

When you are ‘doing your do’ are you:

  • Confident?
    • Demonstrable confident that the direction and strategy is the right one, and instilling confidence in each other that the behaviours expected will be recognised and rewarded
  • Committed?
    • Continually committed to improving safety by following the direction and plan, and demonstrating the right safety behaviours personally
  • Coherent?
    • Decisions made are coherent with the strategy and plan
  • Consistent?
    • Decisions made at all levels are consistent across the organisation. Decisions are shared to further enable consistency
  • Calibrated?
    • During the execution of the strategy and plan, progress is monitored to ensure the direction of change remains coherent with the intended vision.

‘Doing the do’ is about actually proving that you care, it is real and it speaks far louder than any words that come out from the mouths of leaders at any level.  It is simply about decisions and actions!

  • How do you give your team confidence in the direction that has been set?
  • How often do you display the right safety behaviours yourself, are you committed to change?
  • How frequently do you visibly use the vision and strategy to guide your decision making in meetings?
  • What way do you share the decisions you have made, and check what decisions others have made?
  • When do you review the progress you and your team have made, and check you are still on track?