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Leading People Safely: How to Win on the Business Battlefield Hardcover – October 25, 2016
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"If your team doesn't already know the difference between priorities and values in safety, then this book is a must read. Jim Schultz and Brian Fielkow connect the 'journey to safety excellence' to both organizational achievement and financial performance, with compelling insight. The authors highlight, for example, how a safety culture is truly a just culture, where frontline operators in transport and industry ideally function in 'an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged or even rewarded for speaking up about mistakes or problems, but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors." As Jim and Brian put it, "Safety is the cornerstone value in quality organizations." With succinct anecdotes and strategies based on decades of public and private sector operational and management experience, this pivotal work outlines how safety aligns with enterprise success. Jim and Brian make clear that 'if you can't lead people safely, you can't lead people,'--and this seminal but accessible and highly readable perspective belongs on the bookshelf of every leader.
―Donald M. Itzkoff
Executive Counsel, Government Affairs & Policy, GE Transportation, General Electric Company
Former Deputy Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration, US Department of Transportation
Former Senior Majority Counsel, US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
"I have been teaching and conducting research on safety culture for the last thirty years. However, this is the first time I came across such a lucidly written 'manual' on how to initiate, implement, operationalize, nurture, and sustain safety culture in an organization. This book ought to be assigned as a must read for leaders of safety-sensitive industries, most notably for its seminal conclusion, 'Who Packs Your Parachute?'"
―Dr. Najmedin Meshkati, PhD
Professor of Civil/Environmental Engineering; Industrial & Systems Engineering; and International Relations at the University of Southern California
Senior Science and Engineering Advisor, Office of Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, (2009-2010)
"When it comes to the essence of safety leadership, James Schultz and Brian Fielkow have nailed it with this book. As a NASA astronaut, I lived through the terrible days of the Challenger disaster and know what it's like to bury friends and colleagues and console their survivors . . . and to witness the destruction of a truly great team. And therein lies a critical message. If it can happen to a team that put six missions on the moon and returned the astronaut crews safely to Earth, it can happen to any team in any industry. Knowing this vulnerability to every organization, the authors have crafted this brilliant blueprint that leaders can employ to build a safety program that isn't just a value statement on a web page, but something alive and enduring within each team member. No leader, particularly those whose teams operate in hazardous environments, should be without this book."
―R. "Mike" Mullane
Astronaut, retired, STS-41D, STS-27, and STS-36, NASA
"Jim Schultz and Brian Fielkow are the leading professional practitioners in how to create a culture of positive safety in organizations today. The authors are not only knowledgeable of the fundamentals, but they also have years of experience successfully implementing these practices and philosophies in organizations of varied sizes and missions. As a career safety practitioner, I can attest to the value of this publication. It provides an effective road map on how to achieve world-class safety performance, zero safety failures, and transformation of your organization's morale, financial results, and customer satisfaction. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in benchmarking, assessing, and improving their organization's overall safety culture."
―John E. Fenton
President and CEO, Patriot Rail Company LLC
"Trust and respect are necessary to truly inspire and engage a workforce to share their best ideas. I've found that people are compelled to share their best when they feel safe, both figuratively and literally. In "Leading People Safely: How to Win on the Business Battlefield," Jim and Brian brilliantly point out how building a safety culture can help world-class organizations of all sizes perform to their fullest potential."
―Jim Whitehurst, President and CEO, Red Hat
From the Author
As former colleagues in a safety-sensitive business and as safety practitioners, we have seen it all--from massive safety failures to inspiring safety results. We decided to write this book to share our own experiences and help business leaders understand that safety is not a cost; it is an investment. In fact, it is the lowest-cost, highest-return investment a business can make. By investing in your safety culture, you are investing in your employees, and an engaged employee base is the best way to provide an unparalleled customer experience.
Having the opportunity to collaborate on this book was one we both immediately wanted to take on. So often we see safety pushed to the backburner, which ultimately can have great costs--from minor accidents to the loss of a life. Inspired by our own experiences, we decided to share what we've seen works--and what doesn't work--in an effort to inspire, motivate and give others the tools they need to create a world-class safety culture.
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I own an insurance broking house in New Zealand. If my clients read this then it would assist me in my endeavours to help them be more resilient and successful
John Barley CEO Rite Track NZ Limited [...]
Fielkow and Schultz's central thesis is that an organization needs a strong "culture of prevention" to operate safely. "'Safety' is not a department." And it should be not the function of the safety department to assume the responsibilities of management.
Fielkow and Schultz point out that management generally scores itself high on safety leadership—but the front-line workforce would often beg to differ. "Leading People Safely" presents a number of practical tools to help align perception and reality.
Leading People Safely
The quickest way to clear a room is to mention the words 'safety' or 'leadership.' The most common excuse is, "Really great ideas, but they won't work here." Fielkow and Schultz might retort, "Then try building a safety culture, not a cost culture." (Chap. 1 & 2) We learn in Chap. 3 there are some things money can't buy: Culture drives happiness. Culture is based on the 3 Ts: Treatment, Transparency and Trust to ensure employee engagement. To know safety, one must know accountability (Chap. 4), in all its flavors, on an individual level, organizational level, and peer-to-peer level. We're not talking about compliance (Chap. 5), but overcoming at least 12 common safety challenges under the rubric of 'Dysfunctional Creep.' (Chap. 6) That ends Part I of the book. Then it gets better . . .
Part II: How to Build a World-Class Safety Culture.
Fielkow and Schultz jump right in with a Case Study (Chap. 7) of a real mess that needed to be cleaned up. Safety, we find, is not a department, but, rather, the responsibility of management. Safety is leader driven (Chap. 8), requires Good Leadership Habits (Chap. 9), execution of your plan (Chap. 10), and a 'Just Culture' (Chap. 11) to sustain it. In these days of "Nuclear Verdicts" and over-zealous regulators, learn how to protect yourself and your organization (Chap. 12) while implementing change. Like management, employees, too, must own safety (Chap. 13). Vet and mentor your workforce (Chap. 14) while developing your managers (Chap. 15) It's all about engagement (Chap. 16-17), even engaging the family. (Chap 18)
We find small safety events and incidents can be a precursor to something major. "Severity is a matter of luck." (Chap. 19) Always do a Root-Cause Analysis. (Chap. 20). Learn how to build a safety "brand" inside your organization. (Chap. 21) Let employees write their own handbook. (Chap. 22), to help against "Normalization of Deviance," (Chap. 23) On day one, have them sign a "Culture Contract" (Chap 24), specific to how your culture operates. Take advantage of new safety technologies (Chap. 25)
But any organization can start to wander off course, and when it does, sometimes a "Shock and Awe" move can put it back on track. (Chap. 26). Finally, help your workforce to develop a list of your organization's Life-Critical Rules (Chap. 27).
Fielkow and Schultz are big on the need to continuously improve. With that in mind, I always like to see an index at the back of these type of books. And a glossary of key terms and concepts could be helpful. I enjoyed the case study (Chap 7), which could make for a book in of itself, and perhaps would have made a lead-in to this topic as Chapter One.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy, at no charge, by one of the authors.
Thank you for reading this.