The critical mass for creating sustainable behavioral change is to have 35 – 45% of the targeted population adopt the new behaviors. The early adopters in this population are those who have a positive attitude about the change, and invest their energy in trying to make the change happen, rather than resisting it. They see the benefits, and are working to achieve results in the new way of doing things. They are “Players” in the game, and so it’s critical to identify, enlist and leverage these stakeholders when improving safety culture.
Leveraging Your “Players” When Improving Safety Culture
The Energy Investment Model (pioneered by Claude Lineberry) is a very useful tool for identifying where the various stakeholders are, and then developing plans for helping them become part of that critical mass.
So far in this series we’ve discussed the Walking Dead, the Spectators, and the Well Poisoners. In this article, we’ll address the Players–those with a positive attitude and high energy, who can act as motivation engines for those in their sphere of influence.
It is often thought, when improving safety culture, that the vast majority of people in the organization need to be engaged and ready in order for that change to be adopted. In reality, all you really need is 35% – 45% of the middle management in large organizations, or the same percent of the entire population in smaller companies for critical mass to occur.
Why? Because during times of change, many people will be staying in the Spectator neighborhood, waiting to see how things play out. If they can see highly respected leaders in the formal and informal organization take on the behaviors driven by the change–and if they begin to get desirable results–they will join in.
In fact, they’ll likely say something like, “I always knew it was a good idea.” So, the more people we can get heading toward the northeast neighborhood when improving safety culture, the sooner we can get to critical mass and a tipping-point for change adoption.
Players, however, need to be supported. If they feel as if their efforts will be stymied needlessly, or if there is only half-hearted commitment at the top, they will withdraw their energy and look for other challenges. They need to be brought into–and put at the forefront of–change planning.
Their bosses must be enlisted as change sponsors and kept informed of every aspect of change planning and implementation. If possible, get their bosses involved in change kickoffs and training sessions; get their signatures on memos and certificates; have them deliver welcome addresses. Get them involved so they will support the work of the Players who are actively improving safety culture.
Market the heck out of Players’ involvement. Highlight their early wins and significant successes. Get them to agree to present at staff meetings and shift change-overs. Prepare testimonials for in-house publications and meetings. And continually let them know how they are making a difference. Players are not necessarily ego-centric, but they do want to know they are making a difference.
That wraps up this series on the Energy Investment Model. Just one more thing as we close: Where do you spend most of your time? And how is that working for you? That’s all for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. See you next time!
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