The word safety refers to our freedom from danger, injury and damage, and to our personal security.
The word safety has been used so often that many of us may think of it as a “Preaching Word”, or a word that forces us to alter our ways or change bad habits.
Instead, when we hear the word safety, we must think of it as a word that applies to the way we do everything in life. Think of it as a procedure to keep us from harm.
For example: If we are driving safely, we’re simply operating our vehicle as intended and obeying the laws, no more, no less.
If we’re working with a power tool that requires eye protection, we must not fight it. Safety glasses are simply a necessary accessory to the proper use of that tool.
Safety and strategic thinking can be an essential tool to improving our safety performance. In order to raise the bar of performance in safety from where we are now to where we want to be will require a level of strategic thinking that is in perfect harmony with our vision. Strategic Thinking will create a structured and progressive path forward to our vision of attaining an injury-free work environment.
Essential Element #1: We must have a vision and we must be great at thinking with a strategic purpose and creating a visioning process. Great strategic thinkers are visionaries.
Essential Element #2: We must learn from experience and commit to being lifelong learners. We must use our experiences to think better on strategic issues such as Risk Management.
Great strategic thinkers strive for continuous improvement in all they do.
Essential Element #3: We must learn to use our time efficiently and effectively. Great strategic thinkers place a high value on time and are masters of strategic time management.
Essential Element #4: We must have an extremely high level of awareness of what is happening around us and be open to absorbing all that we can.
In any business, including safety, there are clues, often subtle, both internal and external to help guide future direction and to identify opportunities.
Great strategic thinkers take all of this in and then they set aside time to think about all the experience and information to guide them in the planning and working on the issues, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Essential Element #5: We must be patient. It is so important to remember that strategic thinking in safety is about slowly building tomorrow’s success starting today.
Essential Element #6: We must have clearly defined and focused milestones and goals and these must be subject to frequent review to ensure our thinking is validated.
Great strategic thinkers have an innate ability to identify the potential twists and turns and “potholes or landmines” that could destroy the possibility of reaching the desired milestones.
Essential Element #7: We must be open-minded. Great strategic thinkers do not bind themselves by constantly judging their thinking as they think up ideas. They keep open minds and test the detail later.
Essential Element #8: We must remain grounded and focus in our ideas and recognize that our overall goal can only be achieved by transformational and behavioural change.
Essential Element #9: We must take time to focus on ourselves and our own actions. Great strategic thinkers set aside time to “think!”
Essential Element #10: We must seek the advice and perspective of others. This may take the form of bouncing ideas off team-mates or participating in peer discussions.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your mind off your goal.”