Over the summer I’ve had the time to talk with people from varied backgrounds across different working environments who are passionate about achieving excellence in their respective fields. The conversation always comes round to how best they can influence or change a key behaviour or habit that will then translate into maximised performance.
The Answer To Elite Performance
Often, we compare how other leaders or performers have fared in similar such situations and plot a way forward.
What strikes me here though is how many senior safety professionals actually communicate their message or how they even set their goals either personally or for their organisation. Successful leaders and performers in sport or sales or even in politics have a very firm focus on what it is that they WANT.
They want to be World Class or the Best there is and their desired outcomes are always phrased in the POSITIVE.
In safety, I’m often amazed how people tell me what they DON’T WANT. We don’t want to kill people they say or we want ZERO accidents and less LTIs. Sometimes they even say in the same sentence that they “Want to be world class and not have any accidents”.
Now both sides of the sentence appear to be exactly the same until you consider how the mind processes each statement and then impacts directly on our behaviour and on the attitudes and mindset of all those around us too.
When would you hear an elite performance athlete, an Oscar seeking actor or a conductor of an orchestra focussing on what they didn’t want to do to achieve their goals? Imagine Greg Rutherford or Jess Ennis saying “I want to win Gold so I don’t want a no jump or to hit that hurdle”. Or the conductor thinking about dropping his or her baton or losing their place? Or Noel Gallagher or Thom Yorke worrying about falling off stage!
In safety, it’s better if we are clear in our message and focus on a positive outcome. Reframe our thoughts and actions like world class performers and focus on the GOOD things that will happen when we all do things the right way. Our minds will be much more able to follow that message and the impact on attitudes and behaviours will be huge.