Self Talk and Growth Mindset for Safety

After over six years of delivering our IOSH Approved Behavioural Safety Course, our delegates chose a NEW behaviour to change this week.  At the end of the course delegates spend the whole of the last session dedicated entirely to applying everything that has been learnt on the course to changing a specific behaviour that might be prevalent on their site.

As you might imagine, the delegates normally choose behaviours such as not wearing safety goggles, walking in unsafe areas or the classic work at height or vehicle related behaviours.  And that’s exactly what the course is designed to do.  This group though, a Senior Leadership Team who had most of the typical safety related behaviours pretty much sorted, chose to change the way that people feel and react when being challenged for doing something potentially unsafe.

Now I had to think about this one carefully, we’d not had that ever before and that’s not necessarily a specific behaviour.  BUT, It seemed like a useful thing to do as it would significantly improve their culture and in turn safety performance as a whole.

It was also the last in a whole series of courses with this company this year so this encouraged us all to use all of the things that we had learned on the course so far such as ABC Analysis, Swiss Cheese Theory, SDT, CBT and Nudge Theory.

It encouraged me to introduce the concept of Growth Mindset and Self Talk which only a few delegates on the course were familiar with. It’s all about how people respond to challenges, feedback and setbacks and it relates perfectly well to safety performance.  This was the perfect solution to the chosen behaviour that they wanted to change.

These concepts originate from Performance Psychology which can be applied to safety too.  Whilst Behavioural Psychology focuses primarily on the individual and Occupational Psychology on organisational factors, Performance Psychology focuses on both the individual and organisational factors that can be improved upon to generate a tangible and sustainable impact on performance.

Its principles are most often applied to improve performance in all areas of business, sports, emergency services, the arts and the military and can be just as effective for safety.  Self Talk (that little voice in our head) and Growth Mindset are just two easily applied constructs that can help change people’s mindset towards safety.

We’d love to hear from you if you’re curious on how you can encourage a Growth Mindset culture within your organisation or even to adapt “that little voice” in people’s heads towards something more aligned to safety excellence.  Here’s a link to how you can book a course for your managers IOSH Approved Behavioural Safety Leadership Courses

Here’s an early slide from our new course on how Performance Psychology can be related to safety, including Self Talk and Growth Mindset.

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