My safety is your safety.
That could be the summary slogan of what we are doing in Viral Safety™ . A bottom up approach where safety behaviours are universal, for managers and staff, no distinction. Safety is not something imposed or just a question of compliance. It’s collective co-operation, employee engagement and personal ownership, all in one.
Safety is acknowledged to be priority number one for many organizations in a variety of sectors. The traditional approach to building these capabilities in the organization has been training. Numerous well crafted Safety Training Programmes do exist, obviously targeted to the specific industry and sector, if not a particular company in itself.
Many good companies have excellent safety training programmes. In fact, in some cases, training is so pervasive and performed so efficiently that training per se seems to take over and shape the entire culture. That may sound good but, in fact, ‘a culture of safety’ is not the same as ‘a culture of training in safety’. ‘Safety’ and ‘training on safety’ are different.
Training is crucial, necessary, imperative. Unfortunately it’s not sufficient. Awareness of risks, protocols, and procedures do no guarantee the consequent behaviours of people. The traditional safety approach is heavily biased towards compliance. In many cases, ‘safety’ and ‘compliance’ has become indistinguishable.
However, safety is heavily behavioural: what people do or don’t, not what people ‘understand’. ‘Knowing’ that something is wrong or risky is not a guarantee that people will behave accordingly. Awareness that non-compliance may have consequences, shifts the energy towards circumventing compliance and avoiding the consequences, not a solid platform to build a culture.
This area of work is also often contaminated by historical ‘belief systems’: ‘accidents will always happen, this is a risky world, It’s inevitable’.
The Viral Change™ Principles
In our Viral Safety™ programmes we tailor the fundamentals of the Viral Change™ methodology of large scale behaviours and cultural change focusing on
- A small set of non negotiable behaviours that apply to all in the organization, management and staff
- The power of peer-to-peer as the strongest known force of change and behavioural spread in any organization
- The importance of the informality of connections and influence between people regardless of hierarchy
- The amplifying power of storytelling to spread key behaviours
- A leadership model (Backstage Leadership™) in which top leaders and managers create the conditions for all of the above, as opposed to simply exercise ‘compliance power’
Bottom up meets Top down
Viral Safety™ will plug into existing top-down safety training and communication programmes, but will focus on bottom up spread and scale up of specific behaviours that will not just enhance but will make real the learnings from the communication and training systems.
Whilst top down training and communication have intrinsic limitations (one cannot be trained every day, and, possibly, the reach to the entire organization is by definition limited) Viral Safety™ multiplies day to day behaviours across the entire organization regardless of the immediacy of a training programme.
A true culture of safety
Viral Safety™ creates a culture of safety, which is not the same as ‘a culture of compliance’ or ‘a culture of training’, although both are of course included.
For every unsafe act/incident there are thousands of safe ones. For us, in behavioural terms, reinforcing the positivity is paramount.
Safety, embedded in daily life, across the board, requires a true social movement where everybody has a role. We, at The Chalfont Project, and via our proprietary Viral Change™ Mobilizing Platform, create that social movement. We’ve been doing this for more than 20 years. We know what works.