An Executive Coach Gives Steps on How Your Team Can Own Their Responsibilities

Health and safety are pillars of most industrial workplaces; however, having a strategic plan to guide this vision often doesn’t exist or isn’t achievable. Discussing how to refocus and plan, Safety Justice League welcomed returning guest and executive coach Subena Colligan. Colligan, a formal industrial hygienist, has her own consulting and coaching company, S. Colligan Coaching and Consulting. She helps health and safety leaders to build strategies.

“Either you have a strategy and work toward it, or it’s a rat race. The key is to stop being so reactive and have more intentional actions,” Colligan explained.

While eliminating reactions isn’t possible because things will happen, the response to incidents should align with the plan. Colligan also cautioned that an unattainable plan results in failure. “If it’s to have zero injuries, it fails as soon as there is one.”

Developing a strategy means understanding a vision, determining resources to fill gaps, and commitment. Colligan said that employees having some ownership is important. “If people take action based on behavior to minimize injuries, it can lead to a worker advising of a current injury for a better outcome.”

“Either you have a strategy and work toward it, or it’s a rat race. The key is to stop being so reactive and have more intentional actions.” – Subena Colligan

Colligan also talked about the dynamic of near misses. “In strategic planning, it’s a premortem of looking ahead three years to consider if it fails, why would it? With a near miss, it’s learning what happened and contributed to this.”

Teams also need the right tools and resources to develop and execute a health and safety strategic plan. “Exeecutive coaching is, of course, helpful. There are also lots of books, courses, and groups to join relating to strategy,” Colligan said.

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