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TODAY

I got home from work the other night, and I was watching a recording of the national news that my wife had rewound for me. My daughter was there and after a few minutes of listening to how quickly the virus had spread and to all the points of bad news, she asked when things would get back to normal. I guess that’s a question that many ask each day. When will I go back to school? When will I be able to see friends? When will I be able to go back to work? When will I no longer have to fear dying from this virus?

You may have people at work and home asking you similar questions. You are no doubt encountering people who are afraid, frustrated, and fighting off fatigue of just wanting some semblance of what they knew as “normal”.

As a leader, you didn’t ask for this global pandemic challenge, but you are in a position now, like never before, to have impactful influence over those you lead (both at work and home)! Here’s a few thoughts on how to respond to questions like the one my daughter asked:

1. Confront the facts. Don’t downplay the situation, start guessing at a “normal” date, or respond/lie about things you really don’t know. The facts are that we are in a global pandemic that we have not seen in our lifetime. Many people are going to get sick and many are going to die. We don’t know how long it will last. There will be tough economic times ahead as well. We do know that we have to execute our jobs safely and effectively so many will get the food and supplies they need to sustain lives. Those are the facts.

2. Never lose hope. We balance the facts with our firm resolve to never lose hope. We will get through this challenge and help many people get through it along the way. We don’t know when it will end, but we do know it will end. Everyone needs hope right now. I am not talking about a false hope in some targeted date when things get better, but a real hope that things will be better at some point and that we are doing things today that will lead us there!

That balance of confronting the brutal facts and yet maintaining a real hope for the future is the key. To maintain that balance, just do this one thing as a leader:

JUST FOCUS ON TODAY

Don’t look out how long this thing is projected to go on. Don’t get caught up in how many more weeks we have to live in this heightened state of focus dealing with all these issues. Just attack today. Get those you lead focusing on today for tomorrow will have its own challenges. Make the most of today, impact as many people as you can today. Seize this opportunity when people need leaders the most! Go make a difference with your teams today!

Confront the facts, give them hope, and just focus on winning the day!

Visible Leadership

When I think back about transformational leaders in world history, one of those names that comes to mind is Martin Luther King Jr. He had a clear mission, he was a great communicator, and he was very visible leader in many different circumstances. That visibility provided him a connection with people that allowed his message to reach many different people groups. His well thought out communications were the power source for the mission. Can you imagine him delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech using a 30 page power point slide? No way!

As we are in unusual times to say the least, it is so important for everyone in a leadership position to be very visible and to communicate effectively. Who would have thought we would be dealing with a global pandemic? It was not even a consideration as we ended 2019 and entered into a new year.

So here are a few thoughts for you to consider regarding this concept of effective visible leadership:
1. Be present with those you lead more now than ever. When I say present, I mean stay in regular communication with those you are leading. They need to hear from you on a regular basis.
2. Key messages are vital. Too much information is not helpful. Narrow the focus to things that really matter right now. Here are some thoughts on communicating:
a. Educate your people! Information on personal care of handwashing, distancing, regular disinfecting surfaces that employee’s engage in, not coming to work if they have flu symptoms, etc. Don’t assume people are all watching network news.
b. Encourage your folks to ask questions and bring information/ideas to us. Expand and open the lines of communication more now than ever.
c. Don’t guess! If you don’t know answers to questions or issues, don’t panic but just be honest. Tell them we will find out and get back to them asap. Be prepared; know what you know and what you don’t know.
d. Communicate in a variety of ways. While we are not meeting in large groups, talk to groups in smaller, open settings; provide concise written communications; post key messages on bulletin boards and IP TV’s; and be available on the plant floor and in the office for people.
3. Be sure people know and see what we are doing on their behalf.
a. Additional cleaning in the plant. They need to know we are doing that and see us doing it.
b. Eliminating large group meetings but still being effective in maintaining safety focus. Talk to them about our revised approach and execute it well.
c. Staggering break/meal times to reduce the numbers in the break room at one time. Explain why and be creative.
d. Limit outside visitors/traffic into the facility and limit our travel outside the facility. Communicate broadly here by email, phone, and postings outside the plant. Our people need to know and see we are doing all we can to provide them a safe work place.
4. Remind everyone of the importance we play in the supply chain of essential items for people. We often just think of ourselves as just making empty boxes. We are producing essential packaging material that allows grocery stores to be restocked, key products to be delivered to people all over the world, and products that in many cases keep people alive. Don’t underestimate the importance of what we are doing in times like this one.

In short, be more visible now more than ever. Leaders come forward during challenging times. We are no doubt in the midst of a challenge that we didn’t expect nor any of us have scene in our lifetime. Keep calm, stay focused on what’s important now, narrow your focus, communicate well, and execute at a high level!

Want Lasting Change? Change the Culture

I remember my first assignment in a container plant. It was about 20 years ago, and I had just left the very structured paper mill environment. What I quickly saw was a plant that operationally needed systems and effective leadership in the worst way. When I say lacking systems, I am referring back to the days before all the structure that we have today was in place. There was no clear direction on safety, quality, nor reliability.

I recall struggling through those first few months of narrowing our focus, defining some basic systems, and trying to get everyone focused on a few basic objectives. I would later find out from the VP that put me in that role, that the leash was very short on that plant if we didn’t get it turned around fast. I guess that’s why they sent me there; they had nothing to lose sending someone that knew nothing about a box plant to a box plant.

While we saw steady improvement, it was somewhat limited in those first few months. It seemed like such a struggle trying to get everyone doing what I thought they should do. I finally realized that I could work myself to death trying to control and dictate everyone’s behavior. What we really needed was a complete change in the workforce’s approach to work. The change needed was much deeper than just putting in a few systems. We needed a total culture change!

Culture is the collective values and behaviors of a group of people over time. By changing the culture, we were able to move from an “employer – employee environment” to a “team approach”. We were able to move from a “renter mentality” to an “owner view of the facility”. Finally, we were able to move from a “victim view of work” to “mutual accountability”. Hey, it wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was so much better!

So here are just a few keys for driving culture change that worked for us and brought sustained change in all areas of the facility’s operation:
1. You have to get complete buy in from everyone in a leadership role. We lost half the lead team because they didn’t buy in! I hope you don’t have to go through that process, but leaders have to be together if you are going to drive culture change.
2. Team members in the plant have to see our values not hear us talk about them. If safety of our people is the number one focus item, then prove it. Shut the plant down at times to talk about a concerning safety issue (and I mean shut it down at times to have the most influence, not the most convenient times).
3. Simplify the key message of what’s important and tie it to why it matters to each person in the facility. There is no goal that doesn’t have a direct benefit to the team members. Make sure the goals/targets get what is needed for success.
4. Always explain why and not just what. “Why” gives the team a reason to follow.
5. Ask for input all the time. Team members need to know we value what they think and not just what they do. You can’t always act on the input, but at least you took the time to ask and listen.
6. Delegate, establish sub teams, and give up some control. Yes, it is risky, and do it wisely, but let go of some things.
7. Communicate simply, clearly, often, and in a variety of ways. Be open and honest.
8. Tear down the walls. There are no departmental walls, management vs labor walls, nor hierarchy of command walls. You want one team with varying roles within it.
9. It’s not group think, but it is group matters. Every decision is made through the filter of what’s best for the team and they need to know that and see that focus.
10. Finally, if you don’t genuinely care about the people you lead, don’t bother trying to drive culture change with the above approach. You will fail.

Past experience tells me systems are essential. Past experience tells me strong leadership and accountability matter. Past experience also tells me that if we want lasting, impactful change, that we have to change the culture. That culture may be how one work team in a facility works together, or it may be the entire plant. You have a culture in your work environment today. It just may not be what you need or want. Either way, you drive change where you can. Your leadership experience will be better and the results will follow!

Communication is the Key

Over the last few months, I have dealt with a variety of issues that either could have been avoided or improved with better communication. I have seen it be an issue in marriages, family relationships, work settings, church groups, and basically any other situation where two or more people are involved. Communication is essential in every setting and is an essential element for any leader to possess in order to have influence.

When we think of communication in a plant setting, we often just refer to plantwide meetings and go check the box that we have done our job communicating. I want to give you a much different view of communication and broaden it to more of a system and not just a check the box meeting. Here’s what I mean:

To communicate broadly, facility wide/large group meetings are fine. Consider these things:
1. How often should be dictated by what needs to be conveyed to the group. I would suggest monthly or every other month.
2. Length: No more than 30 minutes or the attendees lose attention.
3. Timing: At the beginning of a shift, not the end when they are ready to go home or being held over on overtime.
4. Overtime or not: Let your current situation dictate whether you shut down for the meeting or schedule OT. Don’t add excessive OT if not needed, but don’t schedule on straight time and then push yourself into weekend work.
5. Focus: You want to think of these meetings as informative announcements and no more than 3 key messages you want people to leave with. Don’t over use slides, but use them to reinforce key messages and to help clarify key messages. Keep charts simple if you use charts. The presenter needs to have credibility with the audience and will do the majority of talking. Questions are for clarification only in these meetings.
6. Suggestions: If you can develop a visual system in the plant to communicate key metrics, you don’t have to spend much time in plantwide meetings on these items. Again, keep metrics to 2 or 3 and be sure everyone knows how they impact those 2 or 3 key drivers.

To communicate with interactive dialogue with team members, roundtable discussions of 10 or fewer folks around a meal are ideal.
1. Schedule a couple of these a month with different shift times to ensure that everyone has a chance to attend one or two per year.
2. Length: Around 30 minutes or so with meal provided (ready when team members arrive).
3. Focus: Interactive discussion time where team members can bring up topics (getting those ahead of time is good) for discussion. No charts or key announcements. These sessions are focused on what the team members want to talk about. Leader can convey key focus areas, but needs to stay focused on those in attendance and keep the discussion open.

To communicate direct employee feedback and hear directly from employee on concerns or ideas, one to one sessions are ideal.
1. Normal one to one schedule with direct reports are the plan, but seldom do we really get the benefit from these discussions. Yes, the leader needs to give feedback, but leaders also need to be asking the right questions and listening well. We can learn a lot in these sessions.
2. One level removed one to ones. Facility or department leaders taking the time to meet with others in the plant beyond direct reports can be very beneficial as well.

To communicate progress on key metrics/initiatives, consider how you can put a scoreboard in your plant that helps everyone see/know if we are winning or not with key focus items.
1. Again, just 2 or 3 things that drive success. Clearly presented and easy to identify with from all levels of the plant.
2. Keep it current. Don’t halfway maintain it and expect it to be trusted or effective.

That’s just a few ideas on how to think communication systems and not just stuff we do to convey information from time to time. Think of it as an organized system of communicating with our folks with the different forms having different purposes. I will go this far with these next few statements:
1. You can’t lead effectively if you don’t communicate effectively….can’t happen.
2. If you want engagement, communicate better. You don’t need an engagement plan, you need to communicate better! Now to say that more politically correct, your engagement plan needs to involve communicating more effectively.

Communication is a key lever to leading others!

No Resolutions this Year

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Most of these resolutions are not maintained because of unrealistic expectations, a poor plan, or just no accountability. However, I am a fan of renewal, re-starts, and new beginnings and those can take place any time.

In consideration of the leadership progression that I have shared before (shown below), please give consideration to the three key questions that follow:

Leadership Progression:
1. Define your purpose. What’s the real meaning behind what we are doing? When we define purpose with “who” rather than just “what”, purpose goes to a much deeper level.
2. Narrow the focus. What are the few key essentials for success? What must happen and can’t be compromised under any circumstance?
3. Simplify the process. Simplification drives execution. Remove distractions and set your team up for success.
4. Communicate broadly. You can’t succeed without others and others need to know what’s important.
5. Build a culture (of engagement and accountability). You obviously want sustainability; no better way to sustain success than through engagement and accountability.

Question 1: Have you clearly defined the “who” in your purpose?
Question 2: What’s the one thing you need to eliminate that would have the biggest favorable impact on those you lead?
Question 3: What’s the one thing, if you started doing it, that would change everything for the better?

Those are three questions that I have been asking myself in all situations of life over the past few years. Whether you are talking about having influence at work, at home, in the community, etc., those three questions should continually be asked.

Be a leader with purpose, be honest with yourself, and be more impactful in 2020.

Tough Times Require Tough Leaders

I had the opportunity to be a part of four state championship teams in high school (one in football and three in baseball). That was obviously a great experience, but it was also a miserable experience at times.
Let me explain with a focus on baseball. Football is a topic for another time.

My sophomore year, I recall just being a nervous young kid playing second base that just didn’t want to mess up. Winning a state championship in Louisiana was a great accomplishment and not something my school had done in a very long time. We had a solid group of sophomores that played a key role that year.

My junior year was one that came with heightened expectations with the returning players we had, but not many teams ever repeated with the level of competition across the state. Winning that year was really exciting. Just think, 2 in a row!

That senior year was something else. Expectations across the town were incredibly high. Six returning senior starters that had been through prior state tournament runs led to some unbelievable expectations. Anything less than 3 in a row would be complete failure. That year should have been a great experience, and it was, at times. At other times it was just miserable. At times we were complacent, we had personnel issues, we had key people out for various reasons, we got our competitor’s best shot every game, and adversity seemed to be around every corner. In the end, we did win it and won in convincing fashion. I still remember that last out and just being relieved it was over. Wow, what a way to celebrate by just being relieved it was over!

Looking back at that last year, I was not nearly as impactful as I should and could have been. My leadership was not near where it should have been. I was so caught up in trying not lose, that I lost sight of my role and responsibilities as a leader. When I was needed the most, I was wrapped up in trying not to fail at meeting expectations that were too heavy at times to carry.

If you stop and reflect for just a minute, I bet those prior two paragraphs hit close to home for many of us even now in our current situations (forget the baseball example and focus on the issues). With that in mind, here’s just a brief summary of five keys to effective leadership that I have held fast to over the years that are relevant regardless of the situation or team being led:

1. Define the Purpose: What are we doing? Why are we doing it? Why am I here? What’s the Win? (think beyond what and think who also)
2. Narrow the Focus: What are the essential key things that we must be great at to have success? There may be a lot of things involved, but what’s the three to five essential things to really highlight and focus on?
3. Simplify the Process: Eliminate anything that is not essential and make things as straightforward as possible. The best strategy is sometimes what you don’t do! Simplicity should eliminate mistakes and lead to more effective execution.
4. Communicate Broadly: If you want people to buy in, tell them what’s important, how they are doing, and how they can help. Make it clear what’s in it for them. If you want to build engagement, just communicate effectively.
5. Build a culture: I would say a culture of engagement (care and discretionary effort) and accountability (responsibility for everything).

Those five broad topics are applicable for any organization, any team, or even any individual. If I ever wrote a book, those would be my five chapters.
In the midst of increasing expectations, adversity, or just plain tough times, those five topics will keep you grounded and focused as a leader, the kind of leader that people need in tough times.

By the way, I went back and watched my former high school team lose in the first round of the playoffs that following year. I can’t imagine how tough that year was on those guys. I wondered that day as I drove back to college had I failed them in some way. Maybe they were just relieved it was finally over.

Defining Moments

We have all had defining moments in our life whether we realize it or not. I am talking about an event or instance which determines ones future path.

I think my first real defining moment in my life was my parent’s divorce when I was ten years old. My mom had to relocate us to a new town, and I did not adjust well at all. We were living in a small apartment, money was extremely tight, and I was on a pathway to trouble. I was getting into fights, shop lifting, and just angry. Within a year or so, I became a Christian through a series of events, and that path was redirected. My circumstances did not change, but my response to them sure did!

My second real defining moment came at the age of 28. My wife was diagnosed with cancer. We had a two year old son at the time, and I didn’t know how all that was going to turn out. She went through months of chemo treatments and came out ok, but at the time, there were no guarantees. That experience really shaped the kind of future husband and father I would strive to be.

You know, those defining moments also take place in the work environment too.

I recall my first assignment as GM in a box plant, after several years in the mill system. I came to a plant with no box plant experience, and the plant was a train wreck in every aspect. The majority of the workforce was just disengaged and didn’t seem to care. I had no credibility, no trust, and seemingly no way to turn that thing around. I had to do something to change the engagement level, or we would eventually be closed.

Within a month, I had my opportunity. The fire alarm went off one morning at the plant. I was actually in the facility sorting through some returned boxes (we had a lot of that), and I made my way toward the converting department and saw the smoke. The majority of folks were quickly getting out of the facility while I made my way past them toward the source of the smoke. We had a couple of employees trying to use fire extinguishers to put out what appeared to be a fairly small issue near the scrap belt of a machine. They weren’t getting close enough to have success. With excessive dust, trim, and oil on the floor (yep it was a mess) it was going to get worse and that trim pipe was right there (trim pipe, cyclone, roof, and entire plant – you see what I was thinking). I also realized this was a chance to have defining moment in that facility.

I locked the machine out, got the extinguisher and a broom, and went to work. The two other folks were there to assist, but it was essential that I take care of it (trust me it was done safely). After about 20 minutes everything was out, cleaned up, cyclone checked out, and all clear sign given. I looked like I had been through a fight. Dripping wet, nasty from being on the floor pulling that scrap from underneath the belt, and covered with dust and grit. I passed by every employee as they came back in the plant that morning.

Now, I wasn’t the most competent person to do the job that morning. We had several other folks that were trained and could have done that job better than me. After spending five years in a mill, I had seen fires much worse, but that’s not the point. I needed those folks to start caring about the plant as much as I did. You know, from that day on things started to turn. It took some time, but that day was the beginning of a turnaround. It was the defining moment we needed.

Whether you lead a team of five or five hundred, there will be times that you will also need to have defining moments. Some of these will come unexpectedly and some you will need to orchestrate. You will need these defining moments to change a direction, emphasize a point, drill home a key value/commitment, or just get people to care. In any case, keep the following in mind as a leader.

1. Recognize the opportunity. These are moments of high influence. Take advantage of them. Be ready at all times. Know your convictions and stick to them in defining times.
2. Respond to more than just solving the problem. Take advantage of the moment and send a message! Don’t just solve the problem.
3. Re-emphasize what’s important. Don’t confuse folks. Stick to the core values, focus areas, and key needs. Keep the focus narrow and drive it home. Be impactful in the moment.

Use these defining moments to set the tone, gain credibility, gain trust, or influence your followers in a manner that drives the change needed.

Every Day Counts

I recently celebrated one of those birthdays that get you thinking. While I was thinking about this birthday, I recalled a story I heard several years ago about a gentleman that called into a radio station one Saturday morning to give some advice to a younger audience that was listening to this talk show. The callers that morning seemed so caught up with careers, money, business, and overall just worries of life, that this gentleman felt compelled to call in.

This is a short recap of that story:

“Thanks for taking my call this Saturday morning. You see, when I turned 55 it stopped me in my tracks. I sat outside that cool fall morning and thought back over my life. I realized how caught up in the busyness of life and the struggle to get ahead at work. I thought back over how much I had missed at home and how I had been so focused on things that now seemed so trivial. I had worked so hard during the week and spent many weekends just absorbed in my own interests, that I had little focus on family or friends/people in general. I vowed that day to no longer waste time or let a day get away from me that wouldn’t be impactful. I figured that most people on average lived to be 75 years old. 20 years with 52 Saturdays a year would mean I had roughly 1040 Saturdays left to live. I got a glass jar and filled it with 1040 marbles. Each Saturday, I would take one marble out as a reminder to make the most of the day/week. That visual reminder has been a reminder for me all these years to make each day/week count. You see, today I took that last marble out. Yes, I turned 75 today. My jar is now empty. I don’t know how many Saturday’s I have left, but I assure you that each week will count for something. I’ll sign off now and just encourage all those listening to make each day count.”

Funny how I recall that story. You see, I turned 55 just recently. I don’t know how many Saturday’s I have left, but I recently got me a jar too. Rather than fill it up and take marbles out each week, I am going to add one each week if I feel like the prior week was impactful. Impactful defined as a meaningful interaction with someone else; that I either intentionally or in the moment truly focused on someone else and had a meaningful interaction with them. Yes, I will be the judge of my own week, but every time I look at that jar, it will be a reminder to make the day count and to make the week count.

If I live long enough to need a bigger jar, great. Either way, I want to see that jar fill up with marbles with one being added each week; representing a meaningful, impactful week benefiting someone else.

I don’t know if this note is a leadership lesson or just a life lesson, but leaders being more focused on others seems to be pretty impactful to me. Give it some thought and regardless of your age, start making that impact today.

I will have that jar with marbles on my desk as a reminder for all of us.

Perspective is Key

Perspective is defined as the capacity to view things in their true sense or level of importance. So having the proper perspective would mean that our view of things or situations would be accurate, sensible, and/or appropriate.

I recall my first job after graduating from college. I had taken a job with one of those national public accounting firms. The first year was miserable. Portable computers had just been deployed, I had no idea how to use them, and the folks I worked for had no patience for lack of proficiency. There was just plain hazing on new folks in the office (they weren’t that concerned about engagement). The firm had hired too many people when I started and told us that half of us would be let go in six month pending results of the CPA exam (talk about pressure). That first year I just tried to keep my head down, learn, work hard, and pass that exam. I really had no idea what was going on around me. Everything was just moving so fast, and I was just trying to keep up.

In my third year, I was promoted to a supervisor level. I was now going to scheduling meetings, attending billing meeting, interacting more with senior leaders, and really seeing how the business was run. For the first time, I had a much clearer perspective of the environment and business I was working in. Not all of it was positive, as I saw a lot of things that were unsettling and disturbing. Things; however, were moving a little slower for me, and I could grasp what was going on. I finally had a solid perspective.

Years later, I can’t stress enough how important perspective is for those in leadership positions. Whether you are leading others in a work setting, facing a personal challenge, or just working through the basic challenges of life, perspective is so important. Here are four key concepts that will not only help you with perspective, but also help those you lead have the proper perspective.

1. Define the win. Regardless of what we are facing on a daily basis, we need to know what success is. It sounds so simple, but don’t take it for granted. Can we concisely define what real success looks like? Do those following us know what success is? If it’s a personal challenge, what’s the win for you? Before we start any business, any operation, any shift, any personal endeavor, take time to define the win. Just defining what you need to achieve to be successful won’t guarantee success, but not defining it will guarantee you won’t succeed!

2. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. It’s real easy to get wrapped up in all the reasons we shouldn’t succeed. We don’t have what we need. The people around us don’t care. The obstacles are just too tough. Those thoughts can get going and just spiral out of control. Rather than focusing on all these negative things, take some time and focus on what we/you do have. Build on what you have. Make the most of what’s available to you. Hey, I have spent my entire life having to overcome. I have been blessed more than I deserve and recognize that every day. Make the most of what you do have!

3. Focus on serving, not to be served. Whether you are leading others or just battling a personal challenge, there is something special about focusing our attention on others and not self. Servant leadership is a concept that just allows us to focus on the followers. That focus drives our passion for leading and impacting others. When we take the focus off of ourselves, we can see more clearly and our perspective improves!

4. Eliminate variables – Simplify. I use the term “narrow the focus” quite a bit. To broaden that concept, I would say remove as many variables as possible to simplify things for you and your followers. Clutter in our lives clouds perspective. We often think of things we need to start doing, but we also need to evaluate things that need to be stopped, removed, or modified. If you want to clean up our perspective, we may need to clean up the things that are draining our attention, focus, and thoughts to what really matters (or at least what really matters right now).

Leadership from the Intern

While I will tell you that a couple of my favorite leadership movies are “We Were Soldiers” and “Remember the Titans”, I have found myself watching the movie “The Intern” here in the last six months on numerous occasions. This movie, starring Robert Di Nero, is about a 70 year old retired businessman returning to the workforce as a senior intern at an online fashion company. This guy seemingly has nothing to offer this online tech focused company, but takes his years of experience, knowledge, and pure concern for people to have a huge impact on everyone he comes in contact with. He uses every day and every opportunity to positively impact those around him. He has influence with coworkers, managers, and even the owner of the company. He has no real position with this company, but he doesn’t let that stop him from making a difference with everyone he comes in contact with.

When I watch that movie, it does help me regain perspective. Like many of you, I can get caught up in the day to day grind of the challenges of the day and trying to deliver results. Hey, those things matter and keep us employed, but there has to be more. If you are reading this note, you likely lead people in one manner or another. If we are going to be effective as a leader and have the kind of influence we want, and the followers need, we are going to have to be intentional with our leadership.

Think about what is necessary for you to be successful with your team, your followers. Are your folks better off because you lead them? Are you making a difference every day with your people/followers?

Leadership is influence. Leadership is taking followers somewhere that they could not go/achieve without you. Leadership is a great opportunity and an important responsibility.

The message from that movie has really been the backdrop for my focus this year. I am not a 70 year old intern at a new company, but I do have the opportunity to share 30+ years of life experience in business with the people I come in contact with every day. I have the opportunity to help them narrow their focus, identify key opportunities, and most of all, maintain the proper perspective through the grind. You see, it’s real easy for us to focus on counting injuries rather than caring about people. It’s real easy for us to focus on some operating metric and forget about the people driving these metrics. If the leader doesn’t have perspective, who will?

As you start a new week and really get going into a new month, take a minute and reflect on the impact you are having.

I end every safety leadership class that I teach with the same challenge: You have the opportunity today to make a difference in the life of someone else!

I will end this note with the same challenge. Will you do it?