When it comes to making the final decision on issues that involve the interaction and coordination between several units within the organization, the ideas offered by members of the safety profession are often not fully recognized. This may play a major role in why those same recommendations are not tangibly incorporated into the final work product. The fact that we are still, to this day, talking about safety being marginalized in many companies is amazing when you consider the staggering amount of evidence that is present regarding the cost, monetarily and nonmonetarily, of non-compliance with safety initiatives designed to protect organizations and individuals. This also plays into the public perception of a firm as well.
Given this as a backdrop against which many safety professionals have to live, the question now becomes, how do I get people within the organization and externally, to not only buy into various safety recommendations but to boldly support them? Further, how do I get them to offer this support when and where it is needed? These are certainly complex questions. Questions I am sure many of us have spent pondering, especially after we had witnessed 'backroom' support only to have it fizzle out when the discussion was brought to the larger table and in front of individuals who may have a more 'bottom-line' oriented view of the issues.
While there is not necessarily one best answer on how to handle this dilemma, I would like to suggest the following. Each of us needs to undergo a thorough examination of the way we, attempt to use the tools required to effectively influence and collaborate with others and how others use these tools. It can provide us as members of the safety profession with some valuable insights. Within this framework, there are four distinct areas to which we need to pay attention. First, this process requires us to understand what we mean by influence and collaboration, Second, it requires us to conduct a self-assessment to see if we possess the requisite skills that will allow us to properly effect the traits we desire to obtain. Third, it requires keen observational skills to be able to detect the presence of these skills in others. Finally, once we have done all of this we have to be able to put into practice the various components so that we can implement them and obtain the results we want.
To put this into a more pragmatic viewpoint, we have to see what needs to be done, say something to the people who might be in a position to assist us in our efforts, and do something proactively to make things happen.