Success in Safety – What and When?

Success – What & When?

Obtaining success in safety is really no different from getting success in other areas, in business or in private life. The principles are generic.

Success is getting what we want, reaching our objective(s), being where we want to be. The essence of this is: OBJECTIVE, purpose, goal, target or just “something I want”. Or rather “something WE want” as , most often, our success  also depends on other people.

If you do not have an objective, you will not know what to do or where to go. Without objective you may be standing still waiting for something to happen. You may feel a little lost, not knowing what to do.

To reach an objective we must be willing to do what needs to be done. If our objective is just “nice to have”, we may give up before we get there. Success depends om effort, believe, persistence ….

Success is in the future and, looking at where we are now, we consider two possibilities in relation to that :

[1] we are happy with what we do and where we are, and we want to “keep what we have”.

[2] we are not happy with what we do and where we are and want to move “from here to there”.

Both are objectives, both need a PLAN.

If “keep what we have” is our objective, we need a plan to make sure that we meet that objective. That plan will mainly focus on events that may endanger our present situation. So, if we would be living behind a dike and just want to keep it that way, we must make sure that the dike will stay there and will be required by changing external circumstances. Our plan will mainly consist of (i) activities to control possible threads to our dike and, (ii) what to do when these threads become reality. Keeping “status quo” does not mean we can just sit at ease and do nothing. Mind you, the objective “to keep what we have” can be very legitimate for many people and in many situations but – maybe unfortunately – not always possible as external situations will change.

“Status quo” is not really an option in today’s world, so we better consider what to do moving “from here to there”, from where we are to a better situation. Our action plan will be more involved than “keeping what we have”. We must not only deal with threads and their (possible) results; we must move forward and consider opportunities for that. Moving “from here to there” may also mean that we must give up what we have been doing up till now. We need new things to do or do things in a new way while at the same time protecting the good things that we have.

So, here we have the two main items for success: (i) objective and, (ii) plan. And when we are working as a consultant to help our company or client to improve, this is where our first focus should be, and the questions should be: “what the objective is” and, “what the plan is to get there”.

Later we will go more in-depth but, first, we need to consider ”what is safety” – I ow that to the more than 40 years that I worked in risk management and safety.