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Key Questions for Organizational Alignment

Updated: Dec 17, 2023


I've often reflected on a crucial question that organizations grapple with: Should we aim to be the best in our operational category, or is it enough to do our best? This query opens up a deeper exploration of operational decisions and their impacts on safety culture, behavior, and organizational alignment in the pursuit of safety excellence. Let’s delve into these aspects.


Understanding Operational Decisions and Safety

For organizations in the oil and gas sector, operational decisions carry significant weight. These decisions should be grounded in safety considerations, ensuring that every step enhances or at least does not compromise safety standards. While eliminating risk entirely may not be feasible, it’s crucial to analyze how each decision either supports the journey toward safety excellence, maintains the current safety level, or potentially regresses.


Impact on Behavior and Ownership

Decisions influence individual behaviors within the organization. To effectively shape behavior, we need to delve into the motivations driving these actions. Changing these influencing factors can lead to a positive shift in behavior. It's about understanding and modifying the underlying motivations to encourage safer practices.


Ownership of safety is a key factor in achieving operational excellence. Echoing Dr. Deming's philosophy, fostering a sense of ownership among employees ensures that they are not just meeting performance objectives but are actively contributing to the safety culture. Each decision should reinforce this sense of ownership and responsibility towards safety.


Gaining Insightful Perspectives

Decisions often prompt immediate emotional reactions before logical assessment takes over. It’s crucial to empower others to make informed decisions that uphold the core value of safety. Engaging in dialogues and listening to the workforce provides insights that can significantly affect operational safety decisions.


Navigating Towards Safety Excellence

Our goal should be to excel in safety, meaning every decision should be a step in that direction. It’s important to evaluate whether our choices advance, stall, or derail us from our safety objectives. Safety excellence should be the benchmark against which all decisions are measured.


Building a Culture of Continuous Progress

Core values become part of the organizational culture only when they are shared and not confined to a specific department or individual. This requires ongoing dialogue and consistent evaluation of decisions against the organization’s safety goals and values. Creating a safety excellence culture is a collective responsibility that needs active participation at all levels.


As we aim to align organizational efforts with safety excellence in the oil and gas industry, the importance of strategic decision-making cannot be overstated. It involves a comprehensive approach to safety, considering its impact on behavior, ownership, and cultural alignment. By prioritizing safety in every operational decision, promoting ownership, seeking insights, and maintaining a focus on excellence, we can foster a culture where safety is not just a goal but a fundamental part of our operational ethos. Let’s embark on this journey together, prioritizing safety at every step of our operations.

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