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  • Writer's pictureLeverage Safety

Power of Jokes and Stories in Shaping Safety Performance and Culture

Updated: Jul 19

Jokes and stories may seem like simple forms of entertainment, but they have the power to shape our thinking and influence our behaviors. In fact, in most organizations, jokes and stories already play a role in shaping the direction of safety performance and culture.

They have the ability to make us think differently, challenge our assumptions, and spark progress. It made me reflect on the thinking patterns within organizations and how they can either facilitate or hinder transformation and improvement.

While jokes may not always be the most appropriate mechanism for thought change, stories are a universal tool that can inspire and influence. In my experience consulting with various organizations, I have found that every organization has a wealth of stories from its history.

These stories recount how work was performed, decisions that led to change, and lessons learned along the way. By leveraging these stories, we can help leaders change their decision-making process and foster a culture of safety excellence.

Coaching and consulting with executives on both day-to-day operations and strategic decisions regarding culture and safety performance, we focus on "maturing safety excellence thinking." While some individuals respond to facts and figures, the majority are influenced by stories and visuals that capture their attention and emotions.

So, what stories can you tell within your organization to shift how people view safety and its role? How can you help them understand that safety adds value to production instead of competing with it? What stories can redefine safety excellence, showcase successful examples, and emphasize the collective responsibility for safety?

It's essential to pay attention to the stories and jokes circulating within your organization, particularly in relation to safety. These narratives can either support or hinder your efforts to improve safety. Outdated perspectives on safety hold back leadership teams from striving for greatness. Instead of constantly seeking new programs or processes, consider working on maturing the safety excellence thinking within your organization.

Remember, jokes and stories have the power to engage, inspire, and transform. Harness their potential to shape a safety culture where everyone is invested, motivated, and committed to achieving excellence.

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