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Video – “Safety Leadership Explained By Former Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill”

paul-sr

In 1987, Paul O’Neill Gave his first speech as to shareholders as CEO of Alcoa. What did he talk about? …….He talked about “Safety”

“Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work,” O’Neill continued. “Our safety record is better than the general American workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1500 degrees and machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

The audience was bewildered. As Charles Duhigg relays in the “Power of Habit,” a furtive hand went up, asking about inventories.

“I’m not certain you heard me,” O’Neill continued. “If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures.”

For the new CEO, safety trumped profits.

The emphasis on safety made an impact. Over O’Neill’s tenure, Alcoa dropped from 1.86 lost work days to injury per 100 workers to 0.2. By 2012, the rate had fallen to 0.125.

The above “One Hour and Seven Minute” speech is an example of his philosophy and vision for safety in the workplace. It’s truly worth the time to watch!

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“The DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) For Safety”

A Focus on ‘Why?’ Accelerates Safety Performance

DuPont tests a new safety approach that goes beyond traditional behavioral-safety programs.

By: Bob Krzywicki, Global Practice Leader for Employee Safety, DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Instead of taking a sprawling corner office when he joined the company, former Alcoa Inc. CEO, Paul O’Neill, settled into his new role by taking his place in a cubicle. This wasn’t the only untraditional move O’Neill made as CEO of the aluminum giant.

Unlike other CEOs, O’Neill didn’t place profit or sales on the top of his agenda. Instead, he made safety his top priority and mission, saying that in order to be considered a world-class company; it first had to become the safest. His goal was to see that no employee was injured in the workplace. In 1987, when O’Neill joined Alcoa, the company’s rate of time lost due to employee injuries was one-third the U.S. average. Today, the time lost due to injury is less than one twentieth of the average and profits of the company broke records upon O’Neill’s retirement at $1.5 billion on sales of $22.9 billion. Today, Alcoa holds itself to the same standards and saw revenue increase to $6.4 billion in 2011.

Companies like Alcoa are no longer making safety a priority, but a value. Many of these same companies already have in place robust safety procedures and practices and have industry leading performances to match. That said, a growing number are looking for the next opportunity to move beyond plateaued safety performance, which for many is at or below a total injury recordable rate of 1.0 per 200,000 hours worked.

Take the DuPont Spruance plant in Richmond, Virginia. Since the 1960s, this plant has been producing Nomex, a flame-resistant meta-aramid fiber that is employed as a dielectric insulator for high temperatures. The plant is DuPont’s largest manufacturing site by employment and capital investment. The 550-acre plant, located on the James River, is the global headquarters for one of DuPont’s fastest-growing businesses, DuPont Protection Technologies.

The Nomex business at the plant has a great track record of growth and improvement over the last decade. Last year, its safety performance was considered better than the DuPont corporate average. But plant management wanted more – they were looking for something to take them to the next level of safety management. They wanted to ensure that plant operations didn’t get stale and stagnate.

A New Approach to Safety

Companies can and should look for a renewed approach to safety. With more than 210 years of experience as an owner/operator, DuPont continues to evolve its safety practices with a commitment to achieving zero workplace injuries and illnesses. Most recently, the company introduced the DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) for Safety– a methodology designed to facilitate organizational transformation through the individual. Its basis is a “below-the-waterline view” of people’s values, attitudes and unobservable beliefs, in addition to their observable actions and behaviors. For companies that find themselves in a safety plateau, DnA offers a way to go beyond traditional programs by integrating behavioral, social and cognitive science as a means of more effectively influencing individuals’ values and, ultimately their behaviors.

Behavior-based safety programs and other traditional methods for managing workplace safety rely on clear expectations, an observation process, and feedback. This approach places emphasis on compliance and is dependent upon an observation / feedback process. What it doesn’t address, however, is why behaviors change in the absence of an authoritative figure or when employees leave the workplace. What is needed is an approach that drives not only compliant behaviors, but individual commitment. No one plans to go to work and injure themselves and yet, despite all the procedural and behavioral reinforcement measures in today’s workplace, accidents still happen. Companies should not accept these as “human error” and move forward with business as usual

DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) for Safety

DnA for Safety is a new approach to safety because it takes into account how and why people make decisions. It accounts for motivational factors, which are both intrinsic and extrinsic, and addresses the means by which high-risk habits are formed. DnA enables companies to build a more effective, tailored safety program, based on the specific needs of a business and its personnel, using a more holistic understanding of what drives human behavior.

This core element is what differentiates DnA for Safety from traditional safety programs. Traditional programs are about shifting behaviors within an organizational culture; DnA is about shifting an individual’s own beliefs and values. This technique aligns an individual’s attitudes and values with those of an organization, thereby ensuring that they believe and act in the safest manner possible. This transformation process is a journey and takes place one day at a time, one individual at a time.

The next frontier in terms of safety is not necessarily related to breakthroughs in safety management practices. To reach new levels of success is going to require more effective safety leadership; less push and more pull, less emphasis on doing things right and more on doing the right things.

Setting a Sustainable Transformation

The DnA for Safety methodology is positioned to deliver such results and the Nomex plant was an ideal pilot. The program launched in December 2011 and provided a combination of training and coaching sessions, as well as workshops, to operators, first line supervisors and leadership at the plant. More than 30 managers and team members were trained. The process included:

  • A 2-day operational-level offering for the business safety leadership/DnA implementation team
  • A subsequent 2-day line supervisor offering
  • Focused coaching sessions for business leadership, line managers and first line supervisors
  • A 4-hour “shop floor” delivery for more than 400 hourly employees
  • “Supervisors skills workshops” delivered over a period of 6 months to strengthen safety supervisory skills

The DnA pilot program received a positive response from participants across all levels of the Nomex plant. The majority of the employees who participated in the “shop floor” sessions rated the class as the best safety engagement program they ever experienced. The feedback came from employees who ranged in career length from several years to over 40 years, and many people reported DnA for Safety was the ‘best ever’ program they’d encountered.

In comparison to other manufacturing operations at the Spruance site, with the DnA program, Nomex remains the site’s best performing business with regard to safety performance. The next step for Nomex is to continue the journey to safety improvement by implementing DnA methodology and reinforcing it as a part of their daily routines and work practices.

In order to be great, companies need visionary leaders that are constantly influencing change and striving for excellence in safety. To more effectively initiate change requires more effective leadership capabilities. Traditional methodologies drive results, but have limitations. With a better understanding of the individual decision making process, organizational leadership is far better equipped to motivate and inspire employees and to ultimately transform entire organizations.

Download Program Overview Here: http://www.dupont.com/content/dam/assets/products-and-services/consulting-services-process-technologies/articles/documents/DnA_USA_Brochure_06192012.pdf

Bob Krzywicki is a global practice leader for employee safety at DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS).

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DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) For Safety

A Focus on ‘Why?’ Accelerates Safety Performance

DuPont tests a new safety approach that goes beyond traditional behavioral-safety programs.

By: Bob Krzywicki, Global Practice Leader for Employee Safety, DuPont Sustainable Solutions

Instead of taking a sprawling corner office when he joined the company, former Alcoa Inc. CEO, Paul O’Neill, settled into his new role by taking his place in a cubicle. This wasn’t the only untraditional move O’Neill made as CEO of the aluminum giant.

Unlike other CEOs, O’Neill didn’t place profit or sales on the top of his agenda. Instead, he made safety his top priority and mission, saying that in order to be considered a world-class company; it first had to become the safest. His goal was to see that no employee was injured in the workplace. In 1987, when O’Neill joined Alcoa, the company’s rate of time lost due to employee injuries was one-third the U.S. average. Today, the time lost due to injury is less than one twentieth of the average and profits of the company broke records upon O’Neill’s retirement at $1.5 billion on sales of $22.9 billion. Today, Alcoa holds itself to the same standards and saw revenue increase to $6.4 billion in 2011.

Companies like Alcoa are no longer making safety a priority, but a value. Many of these same companies already have in place robust safety procedures and practices and have industry leading performances to match. That said, a growing number are looking for the next opportunity to move beyond plateaued safety performance, which for many is at or below a total injury recordable rate of 1.0 per 200,000 hours worked.

Take the DuPont Spruance plant in Richmond, Virginia. Since the 1960s, this plant has been producing Nomex, a flame-resistant meta-aramid fiber that is employed as a dielectric insulator for high temperatures. The plant is DuPont’s largest manufacturing site by employment and capital investment. The 550-acre plant, located on the James River, is the global headquarters for one of DuPont’s fastest-growing businesses, DuPont Protection Technologies.

The Nomex business at the plant has a great track record of growth and improvement over the last decade. Last year, its safety performance was considered better than the DuPont corporate average. But plant management wanted more – they were looking for something to take them to the next level of safety management. They wanted to ensure that plant operations didn’t get stale and stagnate.

A New Approach to Safety

Companies can and should look for a renewed approach to safety. With more than 210 years of experience as an owner/operator, DuPont continues to evolve its safety practices with a commitment to achieving zero workplace injuries and illnesses. Most recently, the company introduced the DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) for Safety– a methodology designed to facilitate organizational transformation through the individual. Its basis is a “below-the-waterline view” of people’s values, attitudes and unobservable beliefs, in addition to their observable actions and behaviors. For companies that find themselves in a safety plateau, DnA offers a way to go beyond traditional programs by integrating behavioral, social and cognitive science as a means of more effectively influencing individuals’ values and, ultimately their behaviors.

Behavior-based safety programs and other traditional methods for managing workplace safety rely on clear expectations, an observation process, and feedback. This approach places emphasis on compliance and is dependent upon an observation / feedback process. What it doesn’t address, however, is why behaviors change in the absence of an authoritative figure or when employees leave the workplace. What is needed is an approach that drives not only compliant behaviors, but individual commitment. No one plans to go to work and injure themselves and yet, despite all the procedural and behavioral reinforcement measures in today’s workplace, accidents still happen. Companies should not accept these as “human error” and move forward with business as usual

DuPont Integrated Approach (DnA) for Safety

DnA for Safety is a new approach to safety because it takes into account how and why people make decisions. It accounts for motivational factors, which are both intrinsic and extrinsic, and addresses the means by which high-risk habits are formed. DnA enables companies to build a more effective, tailored safety program, based on the specific needs of a business and its personnel, using a more holistic understanding of what drives human behavior.

This core element is what differentiates DnA for Safety from traditional safety programs. Traditional programs are about shifting behaviors within an organizational culture; DnA is about shifting an individual’s own beliefs and values. This technique aligns an individual’s attitudes and values with those of an organization, thereby ensuring that they believe and act in the safest manner possible. This transformation process is a journey and takes place one day at a time, one individual at a time.

The next frontier in terms of safety is not necessarily related to breakthroughs in safety management practices. To reach new levels of success is going to require more effective safety leadership; less push and more pull, less emphasis on doing things right and more on doing the right things.

Setting a Sustainable Transformation

The DnA for Safety methodology is positioned to deliver such results and the Nomex plant was an ideal pilot. The program launched in December 2011 and provided a combination of training and coaching sessions, as well as workshops, to operators, first line supervisors and leadership at the plant. More than 30 managers and team members were trained. The process included:

  • A 2-day operational-level offering for the business safety leadership/DnA implementation team
  • A subsequent 2-day line supervisor offering
  • Focused coaching sessions for business leadership, line managers and first line supervisors
  • A 4-hour “shop floor” delivery for more than 400 hourly employees
  • “Supervisors skills workshops” delivered over a period of 6 months to strengthen safety supervisory skills

The DnA pilot program received a positive response from participants across all levels of the Nomex plant. The majority of the employees who participated in the “shop floor” sessions rated the class as the best safety engagement program they ever experienced. The feedback came from employees who ranged in career length from several years to over 40 years, and many people reported DnA for Safety was the ‘best ever’ program they’d encountered.

In comparison to other manufacturing operations at the Spruance site, with the DnA program, Nomex remains the site’s best performing business with regard to safety performance. The next step for Nomex is to continue the journey to safety improvement by implementing DnA methodology and reinforcing it as a part of their daily routines and work practices.

In order to be great, companies need visionary leaders that are constantly influencing change and striving for excellence in safety. To more effectively initiate change requires more effective leadership capabilities. Traditional methodologies drive results, but have limitations. With a better understanding of the individual decision making process, organizational leadership is far better equipped to motivate and inspire employees and to ultimately transform entire organizations.

Download Program Overview Here: http://www.dupont.com/content/dam/assets/products-and-services/consulting-services-process-technologies/articles/documents/DnA_USA_Brochure_06192012.pdf

Bob Krzywicki is a global practice leader for employee safety at DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS).

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“One of the Best Safety Speeches Ever By Alcoa CEO”

by Marie-Claire Ross at Digicast.com

A great safety speech isn’t about telling staff to improve safety. Instead, it’s a unique opportunity to motivate staff to work together for a common good.

On a windy day in October 1987, the new CEO of Alcoa, Paul O’Neill, gave his maiden speech to shareholders. Most CEO’s would use this opportunity to get shareholders excited that they were going to focus the company on increasing sales and reducing costs, for improved shareholder return. But O’Neill was different.

“I want to talk to you about worker safety.” In an instant, shareholders wondered why he had omitted to talk about improving profits. After all, Alcoa was in a mess.

“Every year, numerous Alcoa workers are injured so badly that they miss a day of work. Our safety record is better than the general workforce, especially considering that our employees work with metals that are 1500 degrees and we have machines that can rip a man’s arm off. But it’s not good enough. I intend to make Alcoa the safest company in America. I intend to go for zero injuries.”

As quoted in the Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg, the audience was confused. Why wasn’t O’Neill making them feel warm and fuzzy? How were they going to make money by focusing on safety?

Eventually, someone raised a hand and asked about inventories in the aerospace division. While another person asked about the company’s capital ratios.

O’Neill held firm, “I’m not certain you heard me. If you want to understand how Alcoa is doing, you need to look at our workplace safety figures. If we bring our injury rates down, it won’t be because of cheerleading or the nonsense you sometimes hear from other CEOs. It will be because the individuals at this company have agreed to become part of something important: They’ve devoted themselves to creating a habit of excellence. Safety will be an indicator that we’re making progress in changing our habits across the entire institution. That’s how we should be judged.”

At the end of his speech, the crowd ran out the door as if there was a fire. All in a panic-stricken rush to sell their Alcoa stock as fast as they could.

Those who held onto their Alcoa stock were handsomely rewarded. Within a year of O’Neill’s speech, Alcoa’s profits hit a record high. By the year 2000, when O’Neill retired, Alcoa’s market capitalization was 5 times more than what it was in 1987.

So what made O’Neill’s safety speech one of the best in the 20th century?

He started with why. As Simon Sinek says in the brilliant book, “Start with a Why”, great leaders communicate from the inside out. He started with a powerful “why”. O’Neill’s speech certainly got the attention of his audience. He then moved to “how” they were going to improve safety and then the “what”. Other leaders communicate the “what”, “how” and then the “why”. It would have been easy (and expected) for him to have just talked about improving sales and reducing costs (what) and then “how: they would do it. This would have kept shareholders and share brokers happy. Instead, he chose to talk about safety and become the champion for Alcoa workers.

One Behavior Change at a Time

As quoted in The Power of Habits, O’Neill said, “you can’t order people to change. That’s not how the brain works. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company”.

He chose improving safety as the key habit to bring the entire company together. He chose a habit that would have everyone in alignment – unions and managers. And it meant total operational transformation.

Humans can only learn and remember so much information at once. The more information you give people – the more they can get paralyzed by it.

According to Chip and Dan Heath from “Made to Stick” creating a memorable message is all about stripping an idea down to its core.

O’Neill did this brilliantly when he focused the workforce on one aspect – safety. And then he made this memorable by creating the tagline “Zero injuries”.

The Power of the Group

But what he also did rather skillfully was to encourage group behavior. He encouraged Alcoa workers to consider the safety of the group rather than themselves. He rallied the workforce to work together for a common goal.

Humans see themselves in terms of other people and groups. Evolution has taught us that it is beneficial to live in tribes, where we can share out the work of daily survival.

O’Neill harnessed the strong human need for group identity to build a thriving organization. The trick in using group identity when wanting staff to change behavior or embrace a new goal is to word it so they make a decision based on what’s best for the group. Activating peer pressure is an effective way to get a group to persuade others to act in a certain way

And you’ll notice that O’Neill never used the word “I” in his speech. Saving lives wasn’t about him. It was about the group – it was about the Alcoa workforce.

He also cleverly used a shareholder meeting, to let his staff know, that he wasn’t there to increase shareholder returns. He was there to improve their quality of life, to ensure that they would arrive home safely at the end of the day. By launching his first speech to outsiders, he powerfully communicated to staff, just how committed he was to improve their workplace. That he could be trusted. That he was on their side.

He even took this further. According to Tim O’Bryan, in an article titled “Analytical Decision Making and the Alcoa Transformation”, O’Neill introduced a new companywide policy that whenever someone was injured, that the unit president had to report it to O’Neill within 24 hours and present a plan for making sure it never occurred again.

This opened up the flow of communication. Workers told their floor managers who told the vice president about injuries but also to raise warnings when they saw a potential problem. A suggestion box was filled with ideas for solutions so that if the vice president requested a plan, a collection of suggestions was submitted.

Spare No Expense on Safety

O’Neill believed that they way to keep employees staff was to discover why injuries were occurring in the first place.

This was done by studying what was going wrong in the manufacturing process. Employees received training about quality control and how to work more efficiently. By ensuring that employees developed the habit of doing tasks right in the first place, their work became safer.

Starting with his inaugural speech, Paul O’Neill transformed Alcoa into an efficient, open communication workplace that was the safest aluminum company on earth. By transforming workplace safety into a daily habit, O’Neill improved efficiency and sales.

By taking care of the “why”, he took care of the “how” and “what”.

See more articles by this author at Digicast.com

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