Safety Week 2016: Incident and Injury Free:

Uncompromising Leadership

May 2, 2016

Hunter Roberts has been on an IIF journey approaching 10 years, so it seems it’s gone beyond a “flavor of the month,” and is now a key piece to who our company is and how we run our projects. IIF is different than traditional safety programs in that it doesn’t exist until we define it, personally and organizationally. That means it won’t work unless it’s personal, relevant, and important to the work we do.

We know that IIF is about taking a stand for the elimination of worker injury, and in order for that commitment to be real, we have to fundamentally care about our people and the processes we use to send everyone home safe. The sad reality is that sometimes people don’t return home in the same condition they came in, and that’s why it requires a daily commitment. But some people have questioned, “How can we say We Care and still penalize people for violating IIF principals or common safety guidelines?” We’ll answer that question in a minute.

First, I have some questions for you. We titled this “Uncompromising Leadership.” What does that mean to you? What does Uncompromising Leadership look like in the way we speak, the choices we make, and our behaviors? If we’re not willing to compromise people’s safety and well being, what does it sometimes require us to do?

Hunter Roberts believes this means that sometimes we have to make difficult calls and there have to be consequences for unsafe conduct, including removing people from the project who don’t share our values, holding contractor principles accountable if expectations to our standards aren’t met, or declaring a breakdown/stand-down if we’re misaligned and off the safe path to project execution.

So it sounds like IIF is about being fair and firm; otherwise, our commitment doesn’t have the integrity it needs. I once heard someone say, “Caring isn’t just an emotion, it’s an action, and sometimes the called-for action isn’t easy to do, but we do it because we’re sincerely looking after one another’s well-being, just as we would if our sons and daughters were on this job.” That’s uncompromising leadership in action.

To this end, we should use the Four Rs to guide IIF in Action: 1) Doing it Right and having the conversations to make it right; 2) Recognizing the hazards and latent weaknesses in how we execute work; 3) Reaching out across trades and building relationships needed for high performance, and 4) Raising your voice, speaking up to others in harm’s way as well as acknowledging when and how we get it right under difficult circumstances and barriers.

Thank you for sharing your perspectives and your time this morning. Let’s support one another in using and recognizing the Four Rs towards building better projects and towards an Incident and Injury Free workplace.