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Identifying Your Primary Customer: A Key Element of Safety Strategy

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


Developing a strategic approach to safety is more than just crafting a plan or vision; it's about adopting a mindset that continuously generates value across all organizational levels. As an HSE professional, I've seen many organizations struggle with articulating a coherent safety excellence strategy that truly adds value to both the organization and its people. This blog post aims to highlight the critical role of identifying your primary customer in shaping an effective safety strategy.


Understanding Strategy in Safety

Strategy in safety isn't about rigid plans or set visions; it's about a way of thinking. It's about making informed choices, taking calculated risks, and navigating trade-offs to deliver sustainable value. Strategy is dynamic and should steer the organization towards not only performance excellence but also a deeply ingrained safety culture. Upcoming articles will delve into questions that guide the development of a safety strategy, helping set goals, prioritize actions, and align initiatives with organizational objectives.


The Centrality of Identifying the Customer

At the core of any successful strategy lies a clear understanding of the customer. In safety initiatives, 'customers' are those affected by or involved in these efforts. This can range from contractors, new employees, hourly workers, to supervisors, managers, and executives. Knowing who your primary customer is enables you to focus your resources and efforts on effectively meeting their specific needs and expectations.


Strategic Choices in Safety

While safety is a universal concern, addressing every individual's needs within an organization is impractical. Strategic effectiveness requires honing in on what you can do exceptionally well and for whom. This might mean focusing on shifting executive leaders' perspectives, providing supervisors with the necessary training and coaching, or zeroing in on the groups most vulnerable to injuries as indicated by data analysis. Identifying your primary customer lets you channel your efforts where they have the most significant impact.


Asking the Right Questions

To identify your primary customer, contemplate these questions: Who are our varied customers in safety? What insights do we have about them? What data reflects their needs and priorities? Which customer should we prioritize based on this data? Are there any customer groups we might be overlooking? How might these customers' values and needs evolve? The answers to these questions will be instrumental in guiding your safety strategy.


Engaging Customers and Delivering Value

In the context of safety strategy, 'market share' is akin to the attention share of those impacted by safety efforts. Capturing and retaining this attention, ensuring customers perceive value in your safety initiatives, is crucial. Engage with your primary customers, understand their needs, and provide tangible value to encourage their participation and support. This approach lays a solid foundation for your safety strategy, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


Identifying your primary customer is essential in formulating a sound safety strategy. By understanding who you need to engage with most effectively and focusing your efforts on meeting their specific needs, you can maximize the impact and efficacy of your safety initiatives. Remember, effective strategy development is a continual process, and by aligning it with your customers' perspectives, you can create lasting value and achieve exemplary safety standards in your organization.

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