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Frontline Fundamentals Archive



From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘No Compromise’ 

Dang you, Ken Sheridan. I had a life and a job that I enjoyed, and I thought I had safety figured out. Then you wrote “No Compromise: The Truth About Workplace Safety & Business Success.” I couldn’t put it down, and worse yet, chapter four is so good I read it three times before I ever got to chapter five. On top of that, I just published my second book – “Frontline Incident Prevention – The Hurdle: Innovative and Practical Insights on the Art of Safety” – which I was really excited to promote in this issue of Incident Prevention magazine. Because of you, I can’t do that; instead, I must talk about your book and share some of its wisdom with my readers. So again, dang you, Ken Sheridan. Overview “No Compromise” really does tell the t…

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture’

Not long ago, Utility Business Media Inc. published my book, “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle.” Researching and writing the book helped me learn to appreciate and apply knowledge and wisdom from other writers. In this article, I want to share some highlights from “The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture,” a book recently written by Rod Courtney, CUSP, who also serves as a board member for the Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network. I’ve heard him speak on this topic many times and highly recommend you read his book. The Habits Now, let’s take a look at the eight habits the book title refers to: Stop Making Safety a Priority Make it Safe to Raise Concerns Make Safety a Responsibility of Operations Focus Left of Zero Stop …

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘It’s Your Ship’

During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on the bestselling “It’s Your Ship” by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff. I hope you find this article useful, and I also hope it inspires you to read both “It’s Your Ship” and my book as part of your continuing personal and professional development. Overview Understanding. That’s a one-word summary of why you should read this book and what you will learn from it. Understanding yourself first and then understanding others. Understanding what others expect from you and your team. Understanding situat…

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The Success Principles’

During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Jack Canfield. I hope you find this article useful, and I also hope it inspires you to read both “The Success Principles” and my book as part of your continuing personal and professional development. To highlight how much I believe in this book and want to encourage you to read it, I completed the program to become a Canfield Certified Trainer in the Success Principles after reading it once and being exposed t…

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘Extreme Ownership’

What actions can you take to solve problems rather than blaming, complaining, defending and denying? During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win,” authored by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I hope that you find this article useful, and I also hope it inspires you to read both “Extreme Ownership” and my book as part of your continuing personal and professional development. Overview Have you ever read a book and ended up with so many margin notes, highlights and sticky notes as placeho…

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

Understanding, developing and applying these habits enable us to better respond to stimuli, making us more effective people. I am excited to tell you that Utility Business Media Inc. recently published “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” a book that I wrote. During the research and writing process, I read a lot of books and want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the bestselling book authored by Stephen R. Covey. I hope that you find the article useful, and I hope it inspires you to read both Covey’s book and my book as part of your continuing personal and professional development. Overview Most people are familiar with the title “The 7 Habits of High…

9 Safety Axioms You Need to Know

Safety works with just the nuts and bolts, but not as well as it will if you apply these nine axioms. Too often we focus so much on the nuts and bolts of safety (e.g., grounding procedures, Ohm’s law, work methods for a pole-top rescue) that we lose sight of the big picture. There’s no doubt the nuts and bolts are important, but they lose value if we don’t understand and apply the following nine safety axioms. 1. Safety must be led. There is a video clip of Mike Rowe interviewing a crab boat captain from the TV show “Deadliest Catch.” During the interview, the captain said, “My job is to get you home rich. If you want to stay safe, that’s on you.” I won’t take the time to debate or explain that statement, but I will say this: In the abse…

Improving Job Briefings

Someone I hold in high regard once said to me, “David, if we can improve our job briefings, we will reduce our injuries by 60%.” I had some hesitation about his statement at the time, and to this day I am not sure I agree with that percentage. But I decidedly do know this: improving job briefings improves safety. I also know that the topic of improving job briefings arises at virtually every education event I am a part of and in conversations regarding almost every incident I’ve heard about. So, what can we do to improve job briefings? For starters, it takes confidence and competence to conduct them effectively. This article will briefly discuss competence and introduce you to Frontline’s Job Briefings training program (https://ip-instit…

The Safety Paradox: My Day at the Safety Conference

Here’s a hypothetical and exaggerated scenario about a day I spent attending a safety conference (the iP Utility Safety Conference & Expo, of course!). It begins with me watching a safety glove demonstration. I watch a person put on a glove, crush a wine glass, stab themselves in the hand with a needle and run a sharp knife across their fingers, all without getting hurt. Their hands are invincible, and once I get my hands in those gloves, mine will be, too! Skinning wire with my knife just got a lot safer. Then my phone rings. It’s my wife. There is a slight chance of snow tonight at home, and she and I need a plan to get our son to school if there is a delay. The expected low temperature is 34 degrees Fahrenheit, so that shouldn’t b…

How Common is Common Sense?

How did you learn that a stovetop could be hot and burn you? Some would say that’s common sense, that human beings have an innate awareness of hazards, yet I’m guessing many of you learned the hard way – by touching a hot stove. What about brushing your teeth? Have you ever hurt yourself doing that? When was the last time you locked your keys in your vehicle or slipped on a patch of ice? Have you ever run into a stationary object while driving? If you have common sense, none of these things should ever happen, right? Yet they do. And decidedly, if we all have common sense, it should be impossible to set an outrigger on someone else’s foot or your own (yes, it happened); people should be so aware of electrical hazards that they always ins…

Hazards Do Not Discriminate – Nor Should We

Hazards do not discriminate – nor should we. We do not necessarily have to like each other to work safely, but we do have to maintain professional working relationships based on mutual appreciation, caring, respect and trust. Picture this: It’s January 25, 2021. At 9:15 a.m., Curtis, who is working his second day on the job, expresses concern that the outriggers on a crane are not properly cribbed. Carla, the site supervisor, tells Rich, the certified operator, to exit the crane and join her, Curtis and Becky, a signalwoman, for a discussion about the concern. At 9:20 a.m., the crane overturns, and the boom lands where Carla and Becky had been standing just moments before. The crane is a total loss, and there’s no chance of the job being…

Assessments: Highlights and Implementation

If you have seen the movie “Kung Fu Panda,” you probably remember the powerful and inspiring moment when Po comes to the realization that there is no secret ingredient – it’s just him. He was all but unbeatable after that. Sometimes I also think about the secret sauce Michael Jordan gave his team at halftime in the movie “Space Jam,” so they could come back and defeat the Monstars. But while we long for secret ingredients, magic sauces and silver bullets, the reality is that our jobs and lives are complex, with ever-changing roles and no exact road maps. Perhaps, in addition to Po’s wisdom, we should heed the words of Stephen R. Covey, who told us in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” “If I really want to improve my situ…

Emotional Intelligence: Perceive and Apply Emotions in Yourself and Others

“Anyone can become angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy.” -Aristotle From an early age, many of us were taught that there are bad words we shouldn’t use. I won’t provide any examples here, but I suspect most readers know which words I’m referring to. In our industry, there are other “bad” words that we have learned we should avoid at all costs – because they are perceived to show signs of weakness. These words include “feelings,” “relationships,” “emotions” and “caring.” My personal observation is that many organizations and individuals have become more accepting of these words due to increased understanding of le…

Decision Making: Make Balanced Decisions and Avoid Biases

Do good decisions exist? Think about that question for a moment and allow me to explain the intent and purpose of this article. In these pages, I will take the position that good decisions do exist, but people define “good” differently, and that definition changes based on circumstances. That has huge implications for leadership and safety. Take a look at the following questions. What decisions would you make? I can guarantee that some of you have disagreed with family members or friends about these very same topics. When it comes to certain decisions, we have strong opinions; with others, we simply don’t care. Should you rinse off the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher? You are traveling to a destination that is a seven-hour …
Web Motivators Word Matrix

Motivators: To Improve Performance, Understand What Drives Your Behavior

So far in this six-part series, we’ve talked about learning styles and the DISC assessment. In this third installment, we’re going to dive into motivators, including an assessment you can take to determine your own personal motivators. Greater self-awareness typically leads to greater personal and professional success. Self-aware people understand what their motivators are and recognize, among other things, that their motivators influence their behaviors and actions. People who understand their motivators are more likely to pursue the right opportunities for the right reasons and use their motivators to drive behaviors aligned with their desired outcomes, both of which make them more successful. Below is a brief overview of seven dimensi…

Behavioral Profiles: Use DISC to Predict and Adapt

Over the years, I have taught or sat through training sessions with thousands of people. Based on my experiences, I can unequivocally state that personality and leadership styles are the training topics that generate the most excitement and discussion among trainees, and the ones that inspire the most aha moments. Relatedly, the DISC profile is the single tool that I get the most positive feedback about – and the one that has had the most positive impact on people’s lives and careers. This article, which is based on the DISC assessment that is offered through the Incident Prevention Institute (https://ip-institute.com), will explain the value of the assessment, what is involved in undergoing the assessment, what you will receive after co…

Learning Styles: Implications for a Trainer

When we talk about leadership and human performance, something we stress is that people are equal but never the same. That’s true for how we behave, what motivates us, how we interact with others and what we will do in specific situations. A tenet of leadership is that your leadership style should be based on the people and circumstances you are dealing with – not on what you personally prefer and are comfortable with. This is also true for how we learn, or what’s referred to as our “learning style.” One person may love to read a book while another might prefer to see the movie. Some people need a group setting with discussions and debates to learn while others want to study individually. I might be interested in a topic that is of no in…

Frontline Fundamentals: Lead to Win Highlights and Implementation

This article wraps up our “Lead to Win” leadership series. In this series, and during the associated webinars, we have discussed characteristics of effective leaders – both who they are and what they do, challenges leaders commonly face, and how to improve your leadership skills and maximize your effectiveness as a leader. The remainder of this article will outline highlights and key points from each article in the series and reinforce that leadership is a skill that can be practiced and improved. As you read, think about how each topic builds on the others and how interrelated and interdependent they are. Developing a Complete Definition of Leadership Leadership = Influence (team wants to) and Performance (combination of behavior and r…
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Frontline Fundamentals: Leadership Styles and the Art of Flexecution

This series of articles began with “Developing a Complete Definition of Leadership” (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/frontline-fundamentals-developing-a-complete-definition), in which I defined leadership as influence and discussed how the measure of a leader is the performance of their team. We also talked about the fact that many leaders in our industry came up through the ranks in a culture of autocratic leadership and that many people in leadership positions never received any leadership training. That has led to leadership being incompletely defined as telling people what to do and threatening them with consequences if they don’t comply. That bears repeating: It is an incomplete definition of leadership – not an incorrect d…

Frontline Fundamentals: Coaching and Feedback that Maximize Performance

When I think of the truly great leaders I have had in my life and career, there is one common characteristic they share: the ability to effectively provide coaching and feedback with the primary goal of improving performance and the secondary goal of making me and the team better. Coaching and providing feedback are essential skills you must possess as a leader. They are critical to the success of your team and probably two of the best ways to gain influence and demonstrate C5 leadership (for a refresher on C5 leadership, visit https://incident-prevention.com/blog/frontline-fundamentals-developing-a-complete-definition). Demonstrating C5 LeadershipMy son and I got involved with the Pinewood Derby when he was in Cub Scouts. Luckily for me…
This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2022
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