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Break the Hamster Wheel of Blame, Shame, Retrain

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It's a corporate tale as old as time - well, at least as old as our focus on the safety of work. Something bad happens and we swiftly pull out our trifecta of blame, shame, and retrain.


There are a few key noteworthy “sacred cows” of traditional safety that are the likely culprits of this typical blame, shame, retrain cycle: 

    

All incidents are preventable

And…

Closely examining and preventing small events allows us to predict and prevent big events on the horizon

So…

“Safe” means an absence of negative occurrences

And, because…

Most events are caused by “human error”

We should focus on fixing people because…

If people just followed the rules, cared more, tried harder, or were more "situationally aware," then nothing bad would happen


Blame, Shame, retrain cycle | Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) is a fundamental shift in how we view people. It is the move away from viewing people as problems to be managed, and the shift towards viewing people as problem solvers.

When these strategies eventually let us down, rather than honestly reflecting on the effectiveness of these deeply rooted beliefs, we double down on doing them harder.  We write more rules, we preach to the frontline a harsher sermon about caring more, we measure and incentivize more, we beat the involved employees for not following the rules hard enough, we hold safety professionals and leaders accountable for failing to predict and prevent or for not oversighting hard enough, and we try to blame and shame our way to safety success. 


Is it any surprise that we can’t seem to make any meaningful positive change in our workplaces?  We continue to cling to these strange beliefs that we get better by doing the same things harder, if we finally rid our companies of bumps and scrapes then we will stop killing people, and if we finally fix people, all will be well.


Human & Organizational Performance (HOP) moves us away from this cycle of blame, shame, and retrain, and towards curiosity, learning, industrial empathy, and improvement.


If you're new to Human & Organizational Performance (HOP), it is an operating philosophy built on 5 core principles.


A quick review of the 5 Human & Organizational Performance (HOP) Principles:


To me, at the core of it all, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) is a fundamental shift in how we view people. It is the move away from viewing people as problems to be managed, and the shift towards viewing people as problem solvers.


If we genuinely view people as the solution, if we view error as normal, if we value learning and seeking to understand context, why would we blame, shame, and retrain?  We wouldn’t.  These better beliefs and assumptions drive us towards better approaches – approaches that sound a lot more like curiosity, learning, industrial empathy, and improvement, and a lot less like blame, shame, and retrain.


If you want to break the blame, shame, retrain cycle in your organization, Human & Organizational Performance (HOP) is a great way to get there.

 
Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) is a fundamental shift in how we view people. It is the move away from viewing people as problems to be managed, and the shift towards viewing people as problem solvers.




Sam Goodman

The HOP Nerd LLC


480-521-5893





 

Sam Goodman is the founder and independent Human and Organizational Performance practitioner of The HOP Nerd LLC. He is the author of multiple books focused on Human & Organizational Performance, the safety of work, and the safety profession, and the host and producer of The HOP Nerd Podcast. Sam is an experienced safety and HOP practitioner, accomplished author, passionate speaker, and respected consultant and coach.


 With extensive experience in the field, Sam has worked with a diverse range of industries, including commercial nuclear generation, utilities, construction, manufacturing, energy, healthcare, transportation, and more. He has collaborated with numerous organizations to operationalize and embed HOP principles and techniques.


In addition to his consulting work, Sam is a prolific author, sharing his knowledge and insights through various publications. His latest book, the best-selling "10 Ideas to Make Safety Suck Less," has become a vital resource for professionals in the HOP field.


Sam offers the flexibility, passion, and know-how to help your organization begin, or go further on its HOP journey.     

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