We didn’t expect working in safety would be this much fun!
Of course, it didn’t start out this way. 20 years ago, it was just Cristian Sylvestre as a one-person show, doing the usual high level safety audits and consulting. All good, but a little boring after a while, most might say.
There had to be a bit more to life, surely. Turned out, there was a whole lot more.
First Big Step - Discovering a new take on why people do what they do.
Way back in 2006, Cristian took a trip to the US for a workshop. Like many practitioners, he knew about safety behaviour only ever being portrayed as a front-of-mind issue and was very aware of its limitations.
However, there was a new program that had some big success. Hmmm, maybe worth finding out more… It focused on the mistakes people made and the mental states that led to them.
Now that's interesting!
"Of course, it didn’t start out this way. 20 years ago, it was just Cristian as a one-person show".
Harder than we thought
Well, to be honest, the first couple of years were difficult.
Sure, leadership were sold on the idea, it made sense to them, but getting a roomful of truck drivers, miners or council workers to take it all in was a challenge. They had years of valuable on-the-job experience. We needed to provide practical ways for them to be safer while we covered what they really cared about.
It helped that there was always an influential few who saw the value in the approach. These advocates would champion the way and others would eventually follow. Slowly but surely, we got the results.
But there had to be a better way…
"We know people's safety is serious, but learning is far more effective if fun is built into it".
BREAKTHROUGH - Make the shift fun!
It all changed one winter morning in mid-2009. We were lucky to have one of those groups that every trainer loves - they were fairly switched on, they were positive about safety, and they just didn’t want to go back to a freezing cold warehouse. Gold!
They started asking questions, and then telling stories about small but preventable safety incidents, first about others, then themselves, and then their kids. None of the incidents were serious, but they got us all thinking about how much worse they could have been, and a lot of them were just plain funny to look back on.
And then, out came the YouTube videos. People could not only apply what we were teaching easily but also have a laugh while doing it.
At the end of the session, people were saying they had never enjoyed safety training so much. For the next week, our training was the big topic of conversation across the site - not just the session, but the simple ideas behind it.
The things no one ever talks about
The next few years saw solid growth in our business, but predictably enough, Cristian grew restless. More and more he wanted to understand why good people sometimes made bad “choices”. The big questions behind Trevor’s story had not yet been answered fully. That was soon going to change.
New discoveries in brain science started to give clues into human behaviour that totally and completely opened our eyes. It made so much sense. The impulses, the distraction, feeling pressured, drifting into autopilot - the real reasons why we do so much of what we do. But no one ever mentions them or offers anything to deal with them.
Safety was stuck thinking that - just encouraging people to make “safe” choices would avoid all incidents - okay, making safe choices is good, but sometimes our conscious thinking gets hijacked by inattention and our behaviour is not the safest.
And now - The Next Generation
Cristian’s research into the deep drivers of human behaviour
led the creation of a brand new behavioural process, HabitSafe,
and the publishing of Cristian’s book “Third Generation Safety: The Missing Piece”
Basically, we will never get full control of our “choices” until we get a handle
on what’s going on with the 95% of our brain that controls our behaviour - the subconscious.
And what’s the only effective way to deal with the subconscious?
A suite of skills and habits that work even when our brain gets hijacked by inattention.
So, this is where we are now. We run high energy sessions, with stories, funny videos, group
activities and guided practice, to build the skills and habits that deal with inattention.
And yeah, this whole-of-brain approach works.