Friday, August 28, 2015

Are you talking or walking?

When it comes to workplace safety do you just talk about it or are you doing something about it? If you want your program to be successful, you better walk the walk. Otherwise you’re sending mixed messages; the wrong messages to your employees. And maybe they’re not getting the message at all. Statistics from the Statistic Brain Research Institute show that in 2015 the average attention span is 8.25 seconds. The attention of a goldfish is 9 seconds! So if you are relying on your monthly safety speech as a conduit for your “safety in the workplace message” you may want to rethink it.

Besides, good leaders lead by example. They lead with their actions. People follow by example. It’s just what we do. So it all works out – or not. Did you ever have someone tell you one thing and then do something else or not do anything at all? Sure you have. We all have. So what happened to that person’s credibility? It probably took a big swan dive.

We all know that there is so much more to a safety program than monthly speeches. Safety programs should be comprehensive in nature; combining a number of elements like training, manuals, drills, meetings, posters – whatever it takes to reinforce the important of a safe workplace. What I’m saying is don’t just give it lip service and expect to achieve the goal.

Employees have an expectation that their workplace is safe. That requires a group effort and the group requires a leader. Leading by example is the behavior that will have the most powerful impact on them and your workplace.

As the old Chinese proverb says, “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”


Posted by MJ Thomas


Friday, August 21, 2015

Okay, everyone, let’s all take out a blank sheet of paper…

Those words coming from a teacher usually meant the dreaded “pop quiz”.  It really didn’t matter if I was prepared or not, I still panicked. “What if I don’t know the answers?” What if I fail?” Why didn’t I study more?” I thought about that this week as I watched most of the kids in our area head back to the classroom.

What a difference time makes. Today, taking out that same blank piece of paper means possibilities; possibilities to fill it with new ideas, new programs, new products, solutions to challenges, answers to those burning questions – and more.

It means an opportunity to learn; to stretch beyond limitations and move forward. Does this have anything to do with business? You bet it does. The “way we’ve always done things” doesn’t fly anymore. To keep pace requires constantly filling that blank piece of paper with the next best thing. No resting on laurels or past accomplishments. And that’s a good thing. It forces us to continue to raise the bar with our products, our programs and the services we provide to our customers. It keeps them engaged in what we are doing and shows them how we can give them the solutions they need. It keeps things moving. It gets people involved. What’s not to like?

So when was the last time the blank piece of paper was filled in at your company? It may just be time to revisit this exercise again.

Okay, everyone, please take out a blank sheet of paper.



Posted by MJ Thomas


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Are you ready for some football?

That’s what I said – football. Here in Browns town, anticipation runs high for tonight’s first pre-season game. With that anticipation is a renewed hope that this year WILL be the year.  If you pay attention to any football at all, you know the plight of a Cleveland Brown fan; hoping for a “dream team” season and waiting for the other shoe to drop with a loud thud.

And yet, we persevere, year after year; season after season; change after change: for a true Browns fan, hope, as they say, springs eternal.

What’s this have to do with anything?  That perseverance is what it takes to be successful, that no quit – never give up – give it all you’ve got state of mind. Whether you are a business owner, employee, student, athlete, musician, artist, surgeon, or whatever; when you fall you need to pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Easier said than done? Absolutely!

Hundreds of famous people failed a lot before achieving success. The thing is that you don’t often hear about it. Michael Jordan has a quote that I have used before because I think it totally captures the essence of what I am trying to convey.  He says, “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Nobody said it was going to be easy. No one said that the journey wouldn’t have any detours or bumps in the road. Stick with it. Keep trying. Own it. Giving up is a lot more painful in the long run than falling down a few times along the way.

As for the Cleveland Browns, I’m not ready to give up on them yet either.

For Browns fans everywhere - who let the Dawgs out? Woof! Woof!



Posted by MJ Thomas

Friday, August 7, 2015

Safety training need a tune-up?

Okay, I admit it. When it comes to “wear and tear” my car definitely experiences its share. I try to be diligent with maintenance, honest. But there are times when a scheduled tune up takes a back burner to other things. Actually, it’s pretty easy to put off. As long as the car is running okay and getting me where I need to go, who needs maintenance? Wrong. If I want my car to continue performing at a top rate, I need to tune it up on a regular basis.

Same thing holds true for workplace safety training. It’s not a “one and done” program; but a process that needs to evolve and change with the environment. That requires frequent tune-ups.

What does that mean? For example, how many times a year do you conduct safety training? Is that enough to cover all employees? What about the new hires, part-timers and outside contractors? How are they trained? Regardless of time spent in your facility, proper training is critical. Without it you could be placing employees and your facility at great risk.

When there are changes in procedures, new rules or regulations how do you communicate them? Is it a memo, a notice on the bulletin board, an email, a meeting? Are you sure that the communication method you use is the best for everyone? Are people missing the message? How do you know?

How do they learn about new technologies, new equipment, and new products? Have there been any changes in accident rates? If so, can you pinpoint why? What’s working and what could be better?


Lots to consider but the answers to these questions will give you a good diagnostic of your program and tell you which areas need a tune-up. That way you can keep your safety training program running on all cylinders at the highest performance level.


Posted by MJ Thomas