Dealing with the “Walking Dead” When Doing Safety Culture Development

Dealing with the "Walking Dead" When Doing Safety Culture Development | Call to Action!In a previous article, I introduced the Energy Investment Model developed by Claude Lineberry. The model looks at the different attitudes people have towards planned change, such as safety culture development, and how much energy they are willing to invest in that attitude.

Based on those two variables, we are able to place employees in a model that will help us decide how best to deal with them as part of an overall stakeholder management and safety culture development plan.

The Role of the Energy Investment Model

The point of the model is not to label people. At any given point in we may find ourselves inhabiting any one of the neighborhoods in the model, although we’ll have a predominant style. The best use of the model in safety culture development is to determine where people are spending most of their time so that we can develop plans to help move them closer to the Player’s Box.

The Walking Dead and Safety Culture Development

energy investment model for safety culture changeIn this article (just in time for Halloween, no less!) we’ll take a look at the Walking Dead — the folks in the southwest corner neighborhood. How did they happen to get to their current state of poor attitude and low energy, and what, if anything, can be done to help increase both energy and attitude?

To begin with, it’s worth considering how these folk got into the organization in the first place. Recruiters likely did not send out a notice saying:

“Wanted – people with poor attitudes and low energy. Please have someone drop off your application.”

Organizations look to hire the best people. So, when these people started, they were probably Players, with high energy and positive attitudes.

How People Become the Walking Dead

So what happened?

Maybe they came up with good ideas that were never acted on. Maybe they were given the unspoken message to work from the neck down. Perhaps they never received proper training or guidance for their job. Maybe they weren’t in the right jobs to begin with.  50 things you must know about safety leadership

At some point they just decided, “Why bother?”

The point is, the organization itself likely created these job personalities through undesirable styles of management. Interestingly, outside of work, many of these Walking Dead are Players, managing sports teams, running marathons, and active in social or civic affairs. But at work they’ve given up.

To revive a Walking Dead, you’ll need to use principles of support and challenge, whichever will recreate the spark they once had. Describe the benefits of the change, what their role can be, and how they can make a difference.

A Reality Check About Safety Culture Development

Unfortunately, in many cases these folks have just been too badly damaged. As such they may have to find another place to be successful; a place where they can once again be the Players they used to be.

fctc-online-bannerIn the next article in this series we’ll take a look at the Spectators, the type of people who are likely to say something like, “That’s a good idea. Why don’t you do it and let me know how it turns out?” Safety culture development does not grow passively, so we’ll need to learn some ways to mobilize this category of employee.

~Gene Drumm

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? Just complete the subscription form (below or top right of our home page) and we’ll send each issue of Recordable INSIGHTS Newsletter to your inbox for free! Instructional videos, audio clips, articles, e-books, and other resources on how to better lead a safety culture delivered directly to your Inbox each issue!

NOTE: Please use a company domain to subscribe to the Recordable INSIGHTS newsletter. Hotmail, Yahoo, Live, and other generic domains may not allow subscription completion.

ALSO, be sure to check your Inbox for the Confirmation email after subscribing. You must click the Confirm button in that email to complete your subscription. Subscription requests that are not confirmed are purged from our system. [mailpress] safetyBUILT-IN YouTube ChannelBe sure to see our other Vlog (Video Blog) entries on our safetyBUILT-IN YouTube Channel

About the Author

safetyBUILT-IN is the safety-leadership learning and development division of SCInc. We believe sustainable safety performance is best achieved through a core-values based safety culture, and that culture must be driven by leadership. Our safety-leadership programs are competency-based, and focused on performance outcomes. We believe in building capability and ownership into our client organizations—as well as sustainability into our programs—so that our clients can continue running those programs long after we’re out of the picture. Our emphasis is on building better leadership presence, better leadership communication and better leadership coaching by first building relationships of trust with people and learning how to engage them on the level of their core values and beliefs.