Lets talk about SAFETY

I have always loved peeling, cellophane off a box labelled company stationary. While the contents always happen to be slightly different from what I asked for, may that be the logbooks, security tags or the infamous inspection tags. It’s never void of one thing. I call it the ‘Surprise element’, the one which I did not ask for. The Most widely inferred surprise element would be company newsletters, honestly, it ain’t that surprising anymore, but who does not love a fresh print.

Last quarter, while we were docked at a port in Netherland, arrived a similar carton neatly stacked. Amongst the others we happen to receive a book, that I almost mistook for Graham Danton’s Seamanship, which it clearly wasn’t. An inch thick paperback Titled ‘6 Hour Safety Culture’ By Tim Autrey. No mistakes were made and no time did we waste to mock its ironic Mass to Claim Ratio. Some people can see humour in almost everything. luckily for us, we had one onboard our team.

Yes, we giggled and joked but deep down we all knew, Safety ain’t a matter of mere laughter. It is the ABC for survival at sea. So lets talk about Safety.

The Author has a very intriguing way of getting to the point in a manner that will keep you hooked. It was more like reading a literature, cause you cannot stop at any chapter without taking a peek at the next.

I see a resemblence when Autrey say ‘influence’ over ‘force’. I was never forced to quit my habit of late night partying. My parents understood that as a teenager, an individual is inclined to some of the social vices. They took their time explaining as to why frequent parties can be problematic and left the decision making to me. I won’t say it happened overnight but in a span of few months I started attending lesser of these events, only to spend evenings with parents. Force on many levels, awakens the rebel in us and is often a short term remedy, while influence is truly a winner.

The power of ‘we’

Its only when an individual wants to do it the right way, will he do it the right way. And this want of him can be inculcated when he feels that he is important to the team. Running the process with the frequent use of We, brings optimism and a self accelerated proactiveness in every member. It has been proven in the past that such a team manages to bring out the best in each only to propel the institution or the process to incredible grades.

Tim compares human brain to that of a lizard. A lizard brain has the primary function of survival. Anything that threatens our survival, we tend to react, defend. Excuses may be the most common example of a lizard brain-defence, sometimes anger or even whiplash. The lizard brain simply wanna conserve energy, looking for simple-concrete solutions to complex challenges. This fraction of the Authors observation is nothing modern. Ships captain has not even completed his statement as to why a procedure is not being pursued, our brains has already started forging a presentable justification. Author want to highlight that as a leader, while tackling problems and developing solutions, only simple and concrete remedies will sustain.

The first few chapters try to accentuate the human behaviour, detailing Malsows Heirarchy of Human needs and Herzberg Motivation factor, the later being customised for workplaces.

An individual can move to the next level only when the one below, is satisfied.

It now make so much sense when my organization ask to improve interactions among crew members by weekly gatherings, sports, recreations etc when at sea. Love and belongingness before self esteem as you can see.

The great divide

Great Divide separates optimist from the cynic. The people who ‘can’ from the people who cannot.

Breaking though require us to Accept personal shortcomings and Act against it. As Tim rightly say, Only problems can have solutions. It’s difficult to find Solutions for troubles that we believe doesn’t exist.

Though the Author claims that lizard brain need simple solutions, I could not find a simple solution for my lizard brain for the question “How do I steer my team?” Yes, he did talk about self realization, influence and lead by example. I was already half way through the book but no concrete solution on Motivating ships staffs. I cannot give them a raise, Our hands are tied when it comes to over time, so the question remained HOW?

Code of honour

This is a cultural transformation tool where members of a team sets their own expectations, based on whats important to them. The team members essentially determines their ideal work environment, how they want to interact with one another, and what they are willing to commit for within their team. Then a set of six to twelve bullet points are made made based on the above to which each member commits and agrees to be accountable for. Tim claims on an average it takes about 6 hours to facilitate the code of honour. And hence the title of the book. The success of code of honour thereby prove that Monetary benefits can be momentarily beneficial while gratitude and engagement is a greater driving force.

Until now, I knew safety in the form of policies, rewards and assessments. But Safety as an involvement, accountability, and a moral authority was modern to me

This book is advisable to every rung of the hierarchy and I am personally glad that I have read it.

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