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Safety Begins with Mindset

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Safety Begins with Mindset

Bob Marshall, author of “The Marshall Model of Organisation Evolution,” says, “Mindset is the Key to Improved Effectiveness.” I could not agree more with him. I believe “Mindset” is not only key to improved effectiveness, but it is also the bedrock organisational safety.

So what can we learn from this model about safety in your organisation?

The key utility of the Marshall Model is that it helps organisations to discover how to reduce risks associated with change, relative to its level of effectiveness with respect to the breadth and depth of challenges come with each level of evolution and learning.

It sheds light on the context within which an organisation can choose the right strategies, methods and tools that enhance the process of learning and growing from less effective to more effective.

The model elaborates 4 mindsets. Each defines how an organisation generally approaches problem-solving. I consider finding safety solutions a key area of problem-solving, hence my reasoning for using it as a tool for crisis prevention analysis.

1. Ad hoc Mindset
Ad hoc organisations invest little effort into the way things are done. Not much attention is put into the way regular works is done. In other words, such organisations believe in just doing it; often this is done haphazardly.

If your organisation is regularly fighting fires without having time to take stock, chances are, you have some an ad hoc mindset. This can undermine your safety sooner or later.

2. Analytic Mindset
Such organisations are very structured and organised. They tend to be rigid, aka like Theory X-type as per Frederick Taylor. Generally, such organisations are very mechanistic, cost-sensitive and have a very high regard for managers.

If your organisation is too structured and does not trust the suggestions from lower level staffs, you may be losing the benefit of their relative proximity to risks and threats that can destabilise your organsation.

3. Synergistic Mindset
This mindset is predominantly Theory Y type in which there is a greater level of willingness for learning and sharing of knowledge and values. As a result of its holistic view, synergistic organisations are largely systemic-focused entities.

Are you highly reliant on your teams and the efficiency of shared values and vision?How well, will your organisation cope in the event of major lay-offs that disrupt teams?

Chaordic Mindset
Organisations that have the chaordic mindset believe that being too structured, organised can result in a slow mechanism of response to new opportunities or risks. As a result of this understanding, such organisations put more emphasis on effectiveness.

The chaordic mindset is ultimately very capable of responding to new challenges instantly. The question is, how well does your oraganisation train new employees to get up to pace to be able to function reflexively to reflect your beliefs.

In conclusion, for an organisation to improve its level of effectiveness, it must be prepared to keep shifting to the right along the x-axis ie what Marshall calls “Rightshigting.” A failure for your organisation to keep shifting means that when strong winds arrive, your structure, system, people and processes (mindset) will not be agile enough to survive the storms.