Accelerate to Elevate – Execute Strategy and Achieve Results

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Articles, Culture Change | 0 comments

  A bump, wall, roadblock, stall, ceiling or plateau; sooner or later everyone hits it. The process I will describe in this post lays out a path to overcome the inertia that paralyzes us when we are not sure where to go or what to do. It causes us to re-imagine the future and get on with taking it to the next level. I have a deep interest in the connection between accountability and finding “the better way” forward. As a journalist, I was often involved in stories that were ultimately tied to holding individuals or institutions to account. As a father and husband who owned a business I was not only accountable to my clients but also to my family for their well-being. Failure on either front was not an option so part of my journey through life has always involved re-imagining my future then re-inventing it. Since the death of my 19-year-old son Sean in a warehouse explosion, a significant amount of my time has been focused on safer and healthier workplaces. The rest of it has been devoted to running businesses I have owned or been part of and helping others to make their own businesses more successful too. No matter the circumstance, my particular skills are tied to engaging others to understand and then participate in the next step forward toward successful outcomes, whatever that might be. The tools I have utilized in this area have largely been centered around implementing strategy, accelerating growth, stakeholder engagement and helping to manage stressful or even crisis situations. In both my own businesses and those of my clients, no matter what the size or complexity of the organization, there are clear, recurring patterns, not only relevant for private sector organizations trying to get to the next level of growth or profit, but also for those who aspire to create safer workplace cultures. In every instance, at one point or another and over and over again after that, we need to accelerate in order to elevate. To expect things to change by doing what you have always done is not a reasonable idea. So something must change. Here are some of the accelerators that are absolutely necessary to elevate to the next level: The future, near and far, must be re-imagined, visualized and verbalized. Everyone in the organization must be brought to and put on the same page, repeatedly. Strategy, tactics and actions to get there must be defined, prioritized and time-lined. Accountability for each outcome is assigned to the one person in charge of the function required to implement it (e.g. HR, Marketing & Sales, Finance etc). Capable people who get what you want and want to go...

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Up-Stander: Jackie Norman

Posted by on Jul 6, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 0 comments

Jackie Norman is President and CEO of Safety Services Nova Scotia. But her leadership, impact and contribution extend well beyond the borders of the province she lives and works in. She is this month’s Up-Stander! I first met Jackie soon after she assumed her leadership position in the organization she still leads today, almost 15 years ago. Within days of our first meeting, I learned this: to help prevent injuries, Jackie is prepared to act at every turn on new opportunities to make a difference. She is calm, assesses the risks and is mindful about resources, but is also fearless about pursuing what she sees as the right things to do. While the nature of the job demands that a person in such a role must be able to talk the talk, Jackie Norman always walks the walk along with it. And because I have seen her in action on many occasions, one of the qualities I have come to admire most is her ability to be strategic about the decisions she makes. This quality, of being unafraid to take a stand and move ahead in the face of uncertainty to make a significant difference down the road, is not something everyone with a similar title is able to bring to the table. I have four specific examples. First, Jackie was a national pioneer, only thirteen years ago, in the area of e-learning in workplace health and safety in Nova Scotia. The proliferation of online programs in health and safety ever since demonstrates how she was ahead of the curve strategically. Second, Jackie was instrumental in the growth and increased impact of provincial safety councils all across Canada as they evolved into much stronger, more independent provincial Safety Services organizations. Jackie helped lead the way to providing more services, training and other programs that have become financially self-sufficient across the country, and still serves as Vice Chair of Safety Services Canada, the national cooperative of all provincial/territorial organizations. Third, as Safe Communities Canada, the organization I founded in 1996, began to branch out across the country, Nova Scotia, through Jackie’s leadership, became the first province to organize communities under this banner outside Alberta and Ontario. She did this because she believed that community, workplace and personal safety are interconnected, which became another strategic pursuit for her organization. And, more recently, she has aligned herself with the issue of workplace respect as a key lever toward healthier safer workplaces, resulting in improved workplace environments and decreased risks of injury. We are working together on this project, which is most certainly in the early stages of being understood as a core factor in workplace health and safety. It is little wonder...

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Up-Standers: The RCMP

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

It is difficult to accept or even fathom the horrific events of Wednesday and the days that followed this past week when three RCMP officers lost their lives and two others were injured in Moncton, New Brunswick at the hands of someone a former Deputy Commissioner of the RCMP has described as a monster. While the “monster” ended his demented adventure by raising his hands and saying “It’s over” walking away unharmed, the people he killed died on the job and those he wounded were injured in their workplace – the streets of the communities where we live and work. It is no solace for anyone that those who take on roles as police officers, firefighters, emergency service workers and even soldiers understand going in that their duties may place them at much higher risk than for the rest of us. All of us owe our first responders a huge debt of gratitude for their service and their courage and for accepting the risks of their commitment to their duties. No one expects to go to work in the morning and not come home at the end of the day. Nor do their families and friends. The loss to those left behind is what matters most, not some abstraction that the risks were somehow known beforehand. It is not about potential risks and subsequent consequences. Someone who was deeply, personally loved left home early in the morning and was lost forever before nightfall. As someone who lost a child at work I can only say this. My heart goes out to the wives, children and parents of these people for the loss of those they loved so much and the harm that has come to others. — Paul Kells Workplace Respect and Safety Champion, Culture Change Expert and Inspiring Speaker Reach new standards for safe and positive workplace cultures

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Up-Stander: Pat Coursey

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Articles, Up-Stander | 2 comments

If you hear the name Pat Coursey and aren’t sure whether you have ever met her, it means you have never met Pat Coursey. Pat, I am pretty certain, would not only approve of what I am about to call her, she is probably going to appreciate it. But if you have any politically correct tendencies please close your eyes before you read the next sentence and move straight to the article I have written about her. Pat Coursey is not only an Up-Stander she is a great broad! Pat Coursey was born and raised in Regent Park, one of the roughest, toughest neighbourhoods in downtown Toronto. To say there might be folks from other parts of the city who looked down their noses at Regent Park would be an understatement. They wouldn’t dare do that in Pat’s company however. Pat is not just from that place. She is made of it and proud of it. She grew up as a member of a large family and scraped her way through the early years of her life both for herself and for them. She came by her street smarts and superb networking skills in a rough and tumble place where that was what you needed to do to survive. She was (and is) utterly loyal to her family through thick and thin, has a heart of gold with a tough-guy edge and a real soft spot for the underdog and people down on their luck. Pat Coursey, Regent Park girl, had been prepared from birth to take on whatever she needed to do to fight for who and what she believed in. In time, Pat made her way to an entry-level position at the Ministry of Labour in Ontario. When she “retired” from the Ministry, she was in charge of the entire labour inspectorate. For those who may think such career progression was just a normal kind of thing, you’ll need a little more context. People who began their careers at around the same time Pat did operated in a different world than we do today. We are not talking about your everyday glass ceiling here. It was truly a man’s world, not only in the civil service but also in most establishment institutions. The vast majority of doctors and lawyers were men. You could travel from branch to branch for months and never find a female bank manager anywhere. Police women sat behind dispatch desks or stood in front of filing cabinets and almost all newscasters were males with deep voices. So if you were Pat Coursey, woman, and you wanted to advance your career in a man’s world such as this, there were things you needed to...

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Respect Matters

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Articles, Workplace Respect, Workplace Safety | 0 comments

    We have reached a pivotal new turning point in the road toward safer healthier workplaces on a much larger scale, when injuries and deaths at work will have, at last, disappeared. The time has come to follow the signs at the crossroads marked “Respect Matters.” We have done many great things already to reduce the personal and public toll of workplace injuries. We train, educate, promote, encourage, meet, network, audit, advocate and much, much more. Thousands have also joined hands to raise the bar in preparing new and young workers for their entry into the world of work. The great news is that hundreds upon hundreds of young people’s lives have been saved because of this work, and thousands upon thousands of others have averted devastating injuries that would have changed their lives forever. But there are caveats. The first caveat is that in areas where more advanced standards of young worker safety have not been embraced, deaths and critical injuries can be up to almost double those of the most progressive regions of the country. These are the places where education systems still resist young worker awareness in schools and where the focus on putting this issue persistently in the public eye has gone missing. New workers and employers are paying the price for this; emotionally, physically and financially. The second caveat is that even in the most progressive areas of the country, hundreds of people are still being injured every day, some of them dying. In other words, we have made plenty of progress but this journey is nowhere near over. This is not just a matter of doing more of the same. It is not about treading water and waiting for the slow ones to catch up. Once again, just as we did when we began to tackle young worker injury with resolve and commitment, it is time to step outside the box. We need to fast-track new goals and new ways to eliminate the rest of the injuries that are literally injuring and killing so many people while sustaining the gains we have already achieved. Of course we must still safety-train, educate, promote, encourage, meet, network, audit, advocate and do all the other good things we do. But the next big leap forward is to get serious about simplifying how we go about building, jump-starting and sustaining workplace environments where Respect Matters. Just as I concluded some years ago that a key factor in turning around young worker injury rates would be to integrate health and safety awareness into core curriculum outcomes in schools, I have reached a similar conviction around integrating the concept “Respect Matters” into Joint Occupational Health and Safety committee...

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