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Webinar: Learn TWO super high leverage skills in EHS: Coaching & Selling

ByAndrew Barrett | Published: June 11, 2017
Presented by Safety On Tap
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Key Takeaways

When you can't fall back on the law and enforcement as a reason for change, what have you got left? Whilst relevant to US professionals, this will appeal to any health and safety professional seeking to secure their career and make a bigger impact.

Join Andrew Barrett as he reflects on the relevance of potential decisions about OSHA by the Trump administration, and how to future-proof your job regardless of what happens.

When you can't fall back on the law and enforcement as a reason for change, what have you got left? Whilst relevant to US professionals, this will appeal to any health and safety professional seeking to secure their career and make a bigger impact.

Topics include:

1. Why so many of us are barking up the wrong tree

2. The logical objection to what I'm going to talk about

3. The One Decision: Let go of.....

4. The First Hat

5. The Second Hat

6. Actions to take to safeguard your job starting today.

Here is a transcription of the webinar. We really hope you enjoy it and appreciate any and all feedback.

Jamie: Hello, and a warm welcome to everybody. I’d like to wish everybody a good morning, a good afternoon, or a good evening, depending on where you are in world. My name is Jamie and I am one of the co-founders of Safeopedia. Before we get started, we’ll just run through a few housekeeping items. Everyone will be on mute for the duration of the webinar. We really do want to hear from you, so get your questions into the go-to webinar console and we’ll do our best to answer all of them at the end of the presentation. Again, just as a reminder, today’s webinar is being recorded, so we’ll be sending out a link in the few days to everybody that registered for the webinar. Many people asked up front “how do I get in touch with the presenter after the webinar”. What we’ll do is we’ll put up a slide with some contact information at the end. That way, if we don’t get to your question, or if you do have a question after the fact, you can follow-up directly.

Today, we’re presenting Learn TWO super high leverage skills in EHS: Coaching & Selling. This Safeopedia Webinar is made possible by Safety on Tap. At Safeopedia, our goal is support the EHS professional, the operational folks, and really any safety-minded individual through free educational content, tools, and resources. We’d really like to thank those dedicated professionals for the great work they do on a daily basis.

It’s now my pleasure to introduce today’s presenter, Andrew Barrett. Andrew is best known as a communicator and a connector. Host of the popular Safety on Tap broadcast, his mission is to help leaders grow themselves and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Andrew believes that a health and safety professional who is invested in their own growth is more effective and a more satisfied professional. Andrew loves connecting with people, with their better selves, connecting people with new ideas and connecting people with a strong professional community. With that, my pleasure, Andrew, take it away.

Andrew: Thank you very much, Jamie, for having me. Hello, everyone all around the world. It’s a pretty chilly morning—very early morning here—half past five, on Thursday. I’m glad to be connecting with you all. The topic today is for us to learn a little bit about two what I think are super high leverage skills in EHS, which are coaching and selling. There’s an interesting little twist to that particular topic, which we might get to in the questions at the end. We’ll see if anyone picked up on it along the way.

I wanted to give you a bit of a participation alert. I really need your input in order to make this presentation work. Can we make a deal that if you’ll give me some of your thoughts and questions in the comment box, at a couple of times before the end—so you don’t just have to wait until the end—then in return, I’ll do the presentation. Does that sound like a good deal? I suppose it’s sort of a symbiotic relationship. Hopefully we’ll both get a better result, if we do that.

The first question—so we’re going to get started with participation—so hopefully everyone’s ready to go. I’m curious to get your thoughts and your ideas in the question box about what about this particular webinar that got your attention. What is it that brought you away from the busyness of your life today for an hour or so? Was it a word, or a phrase, or an idea in the topic or in the description? And what is it that you want to get out of the webinar? So if we could get some of those suggestions from you, in the question box, that would be great. I promise you I won’t keep going until I get some, so we really need your participation.

We’re not warmed up, Jamie. Do people usually get warmed up with questions?

Jamie: Yes, there’s a couple in here.

Andrew: There we go. Andy, thank you. I’m a consultant. Selling is what I saw that interested me. Fantastic. Thank you, Andy. I’m sure Andy’s not the only one online. We’ve got more than one person online, don’t we, Jamie?

Jamie: Yeah, we’re almost at our full max here.

Andrew: Well.

Jamie: I don’t want to run out of seats…it could happen. Here’s a question. Let’s see here. “Selling safety is not easy.” That’s a great one.

Andrew: Yes.

Jamie: That’s from Ray. Thank you, Ray. [00:05:00] Selling anything is not easy. But selling safety I think is one of the tougher sells. One from Jay, “Get ideas on encouraging my customers to realize the added value of EHS.” Great.

Andrew: Cool. I like that. Added value is a fantastic term, I think, and really taxing to what we’ll talk about today.

Jamie: Erin says, “Learning more about coaching and selling”.

Andrew: Cool. Well, this is the right webinar. You’ve nailed it, Erin.

Jamie: Absolutely. Fred says, “Just setting up a new health and safety system; want to be as effective as possible in rolling it out to the team.”

Andrew: Beautiful, and that’s great. Who was that from, sorry, Jamie?

Jamie: That was Fred.

Please check out Andrew's Podcast here

Andrew: Well, Fred, I think you’re on the money there too. That really talks to one of the early points that we’re going to get to around the particular skills. You’ve touched on a really, I suppose, traditional skills there around setting up a health and safety system. Coaching and selling is probably one of the less traditional skills. That’s fantastic. That gives me a really, really, good idea from a couple of people, just to start with, why you’re here. I’ll come back to why that’s important later. If it’s okay with you, I’ll run through the presentation today, and as you said, Jamie, afterwards we will tell you how to get more information or get in contact with me. I hope that’s okay with you guys. Let’s get those slides going. That’s the participation hands. When you see the participation hands, that’s when we’re going to need you to jump in.

Has anyone ever heard of bacon fried Oreos? I honestly had never heard of bacon fried Oreos until a couple of days ago. What about this one? Again, we’ll need some participation. Does anyone know what this is? We’ll see if anyone can guess in the question box.

Jamie: I don’t have anyone.

Andrew: I’ll give you guys a hint. It will seem obvious when I tell you. It’s peanut butter and curry in ice cream. So, peanut butter and curry-flavored ice cream. What about this one? This one might be a little more obvious. Jamie, did you want to have a crack at that one?

Jamie: I don’t know. That just looks like a New York steak to me. It looks delicious. Teriyaki something or other—Delicious.

Andrew: Teriyaki is a good guess. That would be a really traditional flavor. This is actually a chocolate and red wine sauce on a nice piece of venison, I think. So, chocolate—chocolate and a sauce on a steak. The things that all of these have in common: the bacon fried Oreos, the peanut butter and curry ice cream, and the chocolate and red wine sauce on a steak, is that it’s sort of bizarre combinations—sort of like food combinations. I think that you might be thinking that coaching and selling might be a bit like a bizarre combination with an EHS professional. The funny thing is that those couple of actual food combinations that were put up there, apparently, according to the internet so it must be true, many of them, people consider to be absolutely delicious. This is sort of the context for the talk. I found in my career as an EHS professional, and I’ve heard this from a number of other EHS professionals, that we often need to think about the combination of skills and attributes that we’ve got in order to be successful. Sometimes, they’re not the ones that you might expect.

There’s a bit of a secret about those combinations, which I might tell you about in just a sec. I might actually get you to do a little bit more participation. I know we’re going in too strong quite quickly. Before we go into that secret, can I get anyone to put into the comments box if you ever had any kind of intentional learning – I’ll tell you about what that in a sec – about coaching or selling. Have you ever done a diploma or a degree, in safety or otherwise, with coaching or selling covered off in that educational talk stuff. Or, maybe less formal education, maybe a short course, or you’ve read some books, or listened to some podcasts, or watched videos, or anything like that? If you’ve done any of those types of activities, specifically on coaching or selling, either in general or in the EHS context, can I get you to stick your comments into the question box and just let us know which particular subject you were covered off and how you learned about it? Let us know. We’ll see if we get any. [00:10:00]

Jamie: Yeah, well as they come in, I can maybe start the ball rolling. I’ve taken a sales course, “Solutions Selling”. In previous life, had a software company and quite a different—You really get away from that used car salesman mentality and it’s more about providing actual value. That’s the take-away that I found the best.

Andrew: Beautiful, and that was a specific course on selling?

Jamie: Yes.

Andrew: Cool.

Jamie: We’ve got one here from Erin. I attended a selling class at AM Tech through SMG solution-based selling.

Andrew: Cool. Erin, just a second question on that one. Was that specifically on selling, or was that selling something, or selling EHS, or selling used cars?

Jamie: While Erin types her answer in, Fred said, “Leadership development skills through a previous employer. Very beneficial.”

Andrew: Thank you.

Jamie: Very cool.

Andrew: Yeah, cool. Leadership and sales skills, very interesting combination. I think that sort of touches on the context for this talk.

Jamie: Erin came back. She says, “Just selling”, so it’s a selling class.

Andrew: Straight selling.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: Beautiful. Okay, good. I think it sort of goes to show that we’ve got a full house of dozens and dozens of people on a webinar, live, and there will be dozens and dozens of more people who will watch this later, and we’ve had two people, at least, who have been brave enough to put their experience into the suggestion box there—the question box. Two people have covered selling off in semi-formal learning sets. It’s interesting, I think that’s reflected generally of the skillset of EHS people, is that coaching and selling isn’t something that we traditionally really focus on.

The secret about these strange combinations, whether it be coaching and selling with EHS people, or whether it be about a food, is this: just because it’s new or it hasn’t been done before, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t amazing. While those food combinations might sound strange, and maybe we didn’t grow up with those kinds of food combinations, it doesn’t mean that they’re still not highly, highly, popular and really effective in the sense that they bring people pleasure and enjoyment as a food source. I think that’s really the core take-away for selling and coaching stuff, as an EHS professional.

The thing about those combinations, though, is that our taste doesn’t change very much. Over time, we might love classic food combinations like, let me think, chocolate and ice cream, or mac and cheese, or tomato and basil or bacon and eggs. All of those food combinations continue to taste delicious despite the fact that some genius came up with the idea of the bacon fried Oreos. But what I’m finding with the EHS professionals is that the old combination of skills for us really aren’t as tasty anymore, I suppose. The endless compliance requirements, the risk assessing everything, the procedures, and the checklists, and the inspections, and the audits, the classroom training, the giving of more of that training to people after incidents, measuring all sorts of metrics and making meaning or trying to make meaning out of these tiny little changes in the data on a graph—all of these sorts of things would be in the traditional basket of health, and safety and environmental practice.

But the fact that they might have served us in the past, I think is different to the fact that whether they’re going to serve us in the future, because the difference is that while our taste buds change and they don’t change over time so the classics still taste great, the context for the EHS professional is changing rapidly. Things like multiple layers sub-contracting, offshore workers, itinerant workers, reductions in manufacturing, increases in the use of technology, and new technology uses, more mechanization and automation. In the external context, we’ve got things like significant changes like the change of president in the U.S., which evidentially is having a pretty profound effect on the way that EHS is being both regulated or legislated, and enforced. But even if we’re outside of the U.S., there’s just so many things that are changing that even regulators in other countries, in particular in Australia, they’ve sort of admitted that they have trouble keeping up with new technology and new ways of working.

In order for us to stay tasty as EHS professionals, and delicious, and appealing to businesses, so that they actually want us around and will continue to pay for our salary in return for our tasty support, I think a new flavor combination is required. [00:15:00] That flavor combination, I think, or a good flavor combination, not the only one, is selling and coaching.

I’ve got another question for you. I’m going to put up on the slide a couple of statements, which I want you to just have a look at really quickly and then pop your answers in the question box. Which of these statements can you identify within your current job? Compliance drives EHS activity in productivity. So that might sound like someone saying, just do the minimum to not get us in trouble. Or, B, EHS related activities are seen as a burden on top of productive work. So that might sound like someone saying,” I have work to do and this isn’t helping me.” Or, C, your leaders and your workers get EHS in principle, but they quickly glaze over it. That might sound like, “I get it but then how does this work in practice”. So they’re not the only things that you hear in your current job. You might have a workplace that’s fully engaged, and that’s totally wonderful, in which case maybe none of these statements you’ll identify with. In the question box, just can you let us know really quickly which one or more of these statements you might identify within your current job? Just let us know A, or B, or C, or any combination of those.

Jamie: We definitely have one from Abraham, “All of the above.”

Andrew: All of the above?

Jamie: Yeah. There’s a C. We’ve got a B and a C.

Andrew: B and C?

Jamie: And B is what I hear a lot about.

Andrew: B, B, you see a few more of those pop through here.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: B is what I hear a lot about, yeah, cool.

Jamie: Yeah.

Andrew: This applies, I suppose, if you work internally as an EHS professional inside one business or whether you work as a consultant where you work with multiple businesses, where you would have a bit of a broader view, a more diverse view. If you’ve got one or more of these challenges, the idea that I’m selling to you today just might actually help you. The best part is you get to buy into this idea for the cost of just spending the time to listen on the webinar today.

The first thing that we’ll cover off is about selling. What I would like you to walk away with, if this is the only thing you walk away with today, I want you to walk away with this statement: sell not tell. I firmly believe that as EHS professionals, a large part of the general approach that we’ve taken traditionally to EHS means that we’ve actually been barking up the wrong tree. We become obsessed with this idea of control: risk controls, purchase controls, we have loss control officers, we have operation controls and management systems, we have emergency control. We use the language of control, and we borrow plenty of that from the legislation too: you must do this, you have a duty to do that, there’s an obligation to do such and such. The thing is in reality, control is actually a fallacy. All of the work that we do has almost no element of actual control about it. We control what socks we put on in the morning but we don’t really control what happens at work.

Finally enough, even the managers and leaders in our organization don’t have much control. It’s largely influence. There’s just so much discretionary decision-making that goes on at work. Someone might be there but not working very hard. They might not be very much focused on quality. They might be goofing around a little bit. So, even for those line managers and leaders, it’s less about control and more about influence. The thing is we hate being told what to do. We have this sort of natural aversion to taking freedom away from us. We sort of gristle at the idea of someone telling us what to do. It just doesn’t work, I suppose is my proposition.

What is it, as an EHS professional, what is it that we’re actually selling? I don’t think it means selling something for people to buy. I know we’ve got a couple of consultants online. That kind of selling, you would be well placed with the very general sort of selling courses that I think someone like I, it was Erin or maybe the course that Jamie’s been on, those sorts of things generally will serve you pretty well if you’re selling services or products. But what I’m talking about as an EHS professional is the idea of selling ideas and selling that ends with action, in a really sort of general sense. [00:20:00] I’ve got this book, which you might be able to see on the camera, by a guy called Dan Pink, which is called “To Sell is Human”. He talks about the idea that these days everyone is in sales almost, in business, because so many of us have jobs that require us to move people to do something. And so the kind of examples that he uses are things like a doctor might have a patient sitting in the room who’s a smoker, who’s got diabetes or something like that. His job is to sell that patient on the idea that quitting smoking is a good idea. That has a health impact, but there are other sort of more general things. Lawyers often in any sort of legal situation are trying to sell juries, or judges, on the case that they’re actually putting forward. Now, they don’t call it selling, but it’s like selling where we’re trying to move someone with an idea and to take action. That’s the sort of concept of selling that I’m talking about today and that hopefully you can reflect on.

Please check out Andrew's Podcast here

We sort of sell the idea of health and safety on things like risk management being important, that, what else, that safety requires an investment, that we sell the idea that compliance isn’t always going to give you a good healthy and safe outcome. We sell the idea that health and safety management is good business. We sell the idea that young workers are more vulnerable, or that certain chemicals are dangerous, or that safety is not common sense, or that a focus on low severity but high frequency type events like slips, and trips, and falls and that sort of stuff can take away our focus from the really catastrophic events. That’s definitely a learning that came out of something like Deepwater Horizon. The list goes on of the ideas that we try and sell people on, in EHS.

We want to sell people on the idea, but that ultimately needs to end up in an action. The actions might be something like getting someone to undertake pre-start meetings if they haven’t done that before, or in extending that concept, having that pre-start meeting and discussing certain topics at the pre-start meeting, or maybe once they’re doing the pre-start meetings talking a little less as the leader and asking some more questions and listening a bit more at the pre-start meeting. Or holding the meeting, and asking more questions, and listening more, and talking less, and then taking action on the issues that get raised out of that pre-start meeting to show the workers that you’re taking things seriously. That’s sort of an example of just one particular thing which is pre-start meetings that you can extend with selling at each stage different ideas, and then different actions that sort of evolve over time. You might sell people on the idea that the hazard that was identified three months ago needs to get fixed, or workers should be involved in selecting or evaluating the new bit of equipment that’s going to be purchased, or that actually we need to complete scheduled inspections—whatever it is.

So, how does the non-sales selling work for the EHS people? Well, we need to start by understanding the challenges that people face. This is important. Understand the challenges that other people face. It might be that in a particular workplace those challenges are a high rate of incidents, or a large number of uncontrolled risks, or it might be that general work is not going very well, there’s quality problems, or customer satisfaction, or [Inaudible 00:23:39], or production issues, or something like that. The thing is that when you focus on understanding the challenges that people face, people know, are aware of, the things that they don’t want a lot more than the things that they do want. They know more about the problems that they’re facing than what might be the solutions to those things.

Did you notice at the beginning of this presentation I started with that? We talked about in that A, and B, and C sort of options. I asked you guys, with a couple of choices, what your problems might be. So, we weren’t focusing on what the solutions might be because I wanted to make sure that I understood the challenges that you guys face. That’s the start of the selling process. And then, we want to frame our work around the value proposition that we offer in helping people to solve those challenges. Is their current challenge about quality, or production, or staff shortages, or inconsistent work, or a demanding customer? None of those things are EHS things, but we need to understand those things in order to frame our solutions around those particular problems. [00:25:00] One of the people, whose name escapes me now—but thank you for your contribution at the beginning—talked about the idea that EHS can add value to the business. And that’s very much the idea that we’re selling. Instead of selling EHS just on the core basic value that looking after people is a good idea, that’s a hard sell, as we said at the beginning. But if you can actually frame it in the context of current challenges that people face, then you’re likely to actually not only get the idea across the line, and the action that will actually help from an EHS point of view, if you frame your solution around how that helps them with those other problems as well, and there’s plenty of support with this idea that good EHS approaches in business can actually help bottom line and top line performance, it can help production, and quality, and communication, and engagement, and customer satisfaction, and all of those sorts of things, then you’ll be really, really, successful.

We might go just through a bit of a trap, which is the idea that the EHS professional is often drawn to jump to the rescue, to be the hero, to be the center of attention, the savior in the situation. It’s almost like we’re the too eager student in the classroom whose hand shoots up at the slightest hint of a request for volunteers. If this is you, if this feels like you in your role, then it might feel like you’re being helpful, but I think in the long-run that might be a bit of a challenge where it might not be helpful in the long-run. The thing is you’re the one definitely not selling if you’re the one sticking your hand up all the time in order to take the action. It’s not just about selling ideas. It’s also about getting the actions across the line as well. This often happens in that awkward silence where we might be working with someone else, suggesting and selling the idea, and then taking some action. Then, often, there’s a bit of a delay, we don’t get a response, we’re having a conversation and there’s silence, or they’re hesitating, and we try to jump into that gap, and we want to do it. So we might say, “Hey, Bob, how about I do that first inspection for you then.” Guess what? Bob’s going to agree. You might have sold the idea to Bob, but by you volunteering to actually do it, you haven’t actually sold Bob on the action, and so that’s not a real sale. Don’t be fooled in thinking you’re selling just the idea if it doesn’t actually end up taking the action.

I will talk to the idea that there’s real shades of grey with this too, which I might actually explain best with a bit of an example. We’re using our friend Bob at work. Let’s say Bob has been resistive to this idea of holding pre-start meetings with his crew for the purpose of actually planning the day, and discussing any hazards and risks, and control measures, and any issues that they might have. Bob might have been told to do this by you, or by your management system, or by the procedure, or by the boss, or whatever. But Bob might have some special kind of treatment. Let’s assume that he’s not going to get into any trouble if he hasn’t done these pre-starts. And I’m sure everyone can think of a Bob that they know. Let’s focus on the sale that we’re trying to make here with Bob. Imagine you sell Bob on the idea that the pre-start is a good thing to actually do, but he doesn’t want to run the meetings. So, you might sell him on that first teeny-tiny little step, which might be, “Bob, how about you get your crew together next week, every day for the week, and we’ll do these pre-start meetings, and only then for the week, as the EHS professional”. How about we do that for the week and then we’ll see how we go after that. Ah-ha, you might be actually thinking; Andrew, you’ve used an example where I’ve sold Bob on the idea but not on the action. But, here’s the subtlety associated with selling the idea. We did make a bit of a concession on the action that was taken, but I wasn’t actually trying to sell Bob on the whole idea, and Bob running the meetings and doing the whole kit-and-caboodle. He agreed to actually organize his guys to do these pre-starts for over the entire week. That’s an important action that he’s actually taken that comes off the idea that the pre-starts are a good idea.

The first sale makes the next sale easier, which is where this idea in really conventional selling really comes from about the Ascension Model. Basically, the idea is that small commitments lead to bigger ones. [00:30:00] It might be that you purchase just the small sample packet of some food or something like that, and then you might come back next time once you’ve tried it, you like it, and it makes you happy, and it feeds your family, and all that sort of stuff, and then you might actually buy the bigger packet. So, there’s this Ascension Model, and this works in all sorts of different sales contexts. You can use the same idea when you’re selling ideas and actions to people. With Bob, we saw we’re working on an Ascension Model where we’re starting with the small actions and we’re going to work our way up.

There’s many good reasons why this kind of approach works. There’s a bucket load of psychology to explain it, which I won’t go into here. Take my word for it, the important sale is the first one, so getting traction. So, we’ve sealed the deal on Bob’s crew for an entire week coming, arriving, and doing these pre-starts at a particular time, and the exchange effectively is that we, as an EHS professional, have the opportunity to show Bob and his crew what a good pre-start looks like. We can make it meaningful. We can make it interesting. We can make it worthwhile. We can provide a structure. We can deal with issues as they arise. We’re now not selling just Bob on the idea but we’re going to sell his crew on the idea. Remember, we’re coming back to that connection between the problems that someone might have and how our solution helps to connect with that problem. In that sense, we need to make sure that we are not just doing all of the EHS focus things and just being selfish about this opportunity, but rather how we can piggyback off of this opportunity to help solve some of the other problems. This is where getting connected with the crew, listening very carefully, to them and to Bob to help maybe, you can say, “Hey, let’s do these pre-starts.” That might be a good opportunity to talk about planning as well because Bob might be experiencing some issues with the way that work is being done in terms of the work frequency for example. You can kill a couple of birds with the same stone, so to speak, in that process, where you’re connecting your solutions with problems that they’ve got.

You might do the Ascension Model of the sales, actually then say to Bob, “We’ll run the meeting,” you’ll show them what good looks like, you get the crew engaged, so we’re selling them then on the idea that it’s a good idea to do this ongoing. And then towards the end of the week, you might then have the next sale with Bob. That sale might be, “Bob, can you run these meetings next week,” “How about, Bob, if you have any questions, I’ll be here, I’ll come to every single one of them and we can go through any of those questions beforehand or afterwards but you don’t have to do it during the meeting so that you’re comfortable, you don’t feel like you’ll look silly, Bob. We’ll see if we can actually get you in front of these pre-start meetings so they’re going to improve in quality. Have we got a deal?” That would be the next sale that we might actually try and get with Bob, off the back of the first sale. That, I suppose, is a bit of an example of how this concept of selling might actually work, so connecting challenges that people have, which they’re very acutely aware of, with the solutions that we offer, and framing our solutions around the problems that people have.

Let’s have a look at coaching then. What do I actually mean by coaching? Let’s have a look at, let’s think about an elite sports team. This is, for those of you who don’t know what this is, I’m using a very specific example from my part of the world, this is cricket. You can see the coach there is helping the batsman with his swing. I’m sure you’ll identify with sporting analogies irrespective of what sport you play. When you think about elite sports teams, in fact even half-decent sports teams, they’ve got a coach. Successful teams have coaches. There’s a few reasons why coaching is actually a really useful approach to take in your work. Let’s take a look at how this might actually work in practice.

Thinking about any sport that you might be interested in or you might play, here’s the participation bit again; hands up. In the question box, tell me a bit about what you think are the sorts of universal aspects or attributes of a coach that actually make them successful? What are the things about a coach that help them contribute to a great outcome for a sports team? In the comments box, check your ideas around what about a coach actually grabs your attention.

Jamie: Alright, Andy, first place.

Andrew: Andy, jumping in quick, that’s great.

Jamie: Yeah, “Planning and communication. “

Andrew: Of course.

Jamie: Erin?

Andrew: While they’re coming in, the coaches, when the coach talks, the team generally listens to the coach, right? Communication is important. But, the coach is also listening to the team and getting feedback as well, so that’s a two-way communication. [00:35:00] Planning is absolutely there. The coach spends most of their time and effort on two things: on training, and part of that training is preparing a game plan. Absolutely, that’s great, Andy. Who else have we got, Jamie?

Jamie: Erin has a good one here, “Having a game plan.”

Andrew: Having a game plan. You’re on the same page, Erin. Absolutely. It doesn’t matter whether that’s complex moves or whether that’s the principles associated with playing the game, absolutely that’s right, yep. Who else have we got? Jamie, is there anyone else?

Jamie: Vinny D. says, “Easily approachable.” Great one.

Andrew: Easily approachable. Interesting. So there is a really special kind of relationship, I think, between the coach and the team. I think some coaches often come across as pretty tough, pretty hard. But I think the vast majority of successful coaches are easily approachable. There is a good relationship there between them and the players. Who else have we got, Jamie? Is there anyone else?

Jamie: Oh, yeah, there’s quite a few coming in here.

Andrew: Oh, that’s great. We’re on fire.

Jamie: Abraham says, “Passion.”

Andrew: Passion. Absolutely. No question about that. You can’t coach unless you actually believe in what you’re doing. I think that part of that passion actually comes back to the personal connection that a coach has with the team. Often, we’ll find that in elite sports people go on to become coaches later. I think that’s a really good example of how the passion for the game really continues in their career, even if they put the ball, or the bat, or the stick, or whatever down. Have we got anyone else?

Jamie: Yeah. There’s actually a couple of great ones. Erin says making the team practice. A little more practical advice. I like it.

Andrew: Yep. Absolutely. Goes along with the game plan. We spend a whole lot more time as a coach in the practice arena, or on the practice field, than we do in the game. That’s a really good example. Yep.

Jamie: This one is my favorite as I’m learning with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, lead by example. So, do what I do because they’re not doing what I say.

Andrew: Yeah, absolutely. The difference between what we communicate and how we behave, absolutely. And in the picture that we just had, the coach was literally down on the ground, putting the ball on the exact place on the bat where he wanted to see the batsman strike the ball. So, that’s getting close to the action. That’s almost as good as putting the pads on and grabbing the bat, and a lot of coaches will do that. Who else have we got?

Jamie: That’s it for those. That’s it for now.

Andrew: Beautiful. Fantastic. You guys have touched on a number of the great attributes that you’ve really easily recognized about the value of coaching in sports. One of the other things that I think you touched on there, when we talked about game plans and when we talked about practice, that inherently implies that the coach is heavily involved in the game plan and in the practice, closely involved. But, in the game, on game day, the coach isn’t on the field, isn’t on the pitch. I think that’s a really important sort of symbol for us to actually appreciate the value of coaching. The coach is not on the field with the players. We can learn a lot from that as EHS professionals. They’re still watching closely. They’re still communicating. They may even be right on the sidelines. They’re really, really, closely involved, but they’re still not on the field.

The other thing about the coach and in particular that they are being off the field during the game but they’re closely involved in the game plan and in the communication is that the coach has a very different perspective on the game. Because they’re not on the field, and because they don’t have a particular position that they’re playing, and they don’t have their focus narrowed to whatever it is that they’re playing – so I’m a linebacker, or I’m a goalie, or I’m a forward, or I’m a winger, whatever it is – they don’t have the constraint associated with playing that position, which I suppose is like workers in an organization playing their role in how they actually produce goods and services for the business.

For us as an EHS professional, we can identify with the coach on the sporting field because we’ve got a broader view of what’s actually going on. There’s a huge amount of value in that, especially talking to the players on the team about they work together. And that includes the captain as well. The captain is often symbolic of the leaders in the business who are still on the field playing the game, and we might be working closely with the captain of the team too.

If you’re spending your time as an EHS professional on the field, playing the ball so to speak, you might be involved in things like really nitty-gritty stuff. [00:40:00] And I’m not saying this is wrong; but I’m saying it’s really close to the ball on the field. The ordering safety equipment for people, or the writing procedures for people, or the updating documents, or the doing of inspections, or the chasing people up who have outstanding actions, they’re really common things that EHS professionals do but they’re the tactical things of everyday work. They’re playing the game, if you will.

How can we ever hope to win the championship? And, the championship for us is great health and safety outcomes. How can we ever win if we are trying to be on the field all the time? If we’re not on the field, if we’re not involved in work all the time and doing all these things, what happens when we get off the field? Are the rest of the team playing to the game plan, or do they all stand around looking at the ball?

You effectively as an EHS professional, I firmly believe, are destined for greater things. I’m suggesting that this coach analogy and idea, I want to encourage you to get off the field and into the coach’s box. Take your boots, or your skates, or your skis, or your sprigs, or your trainers, whatever it is that you’re wearing on your feet, symbolically take them off. I think you get my drift about the analogy. Get into the coach’s box. I think this is one of the most important changes that you can work towards in your workplace, is stop playing the game so much for others and start coaching. I really want to challenge you, yourself, how much are you coaching and how much are you playing the ball on the field?

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Let’s have a chat about coaching and selling actually fit together because you might be thinking that they’re a bit of a strange combination. The first step is, selling is the first step, I should say. You’re selling the idea and the action; but then when that happens, when they’ve actually bought from you, so to speak, in taking the action, like Bob is going to hopefully do next week with his pre-starts, you’re a successful salesperson when they’ve taken the action. But, that’s just the beginning. What happens after that? If you think about selling a physical product, once it’s sold, you sort of physically hand it over to the customer, right? It’s theirs. Let’s imagine you buy a dishwasher. It ends up in someone’s kitchen. But, as the salesperson of the dishwasher, you’re not going to go there every night and stack the dishes for the person, or for the customer, right? They might actually be perfectly happy with some basic instructions with the manual or whatever in order to stack the dishes themselves. That’s sort of a physical sales kind of example.

If you’re selling ideas, or complex concepts, or the difficult or messy things that often come along with trying to implement good EHS in businesses, especially when it comes to people, unpredictable and messy people at work, and often we need to provide some after-sales support. If someone’s using the dishwasher and they can’t figure out how to turn it on, or they can’t figure out where to put the dishwashing solution, they might actually call the after-sales support. That, I think, is where coaching comes in, in relation to the selling idea. It’s like your after-sales support. It’s what makes the customer continue to get the same satisfaction time and time again, after the original purchase, and with the assistance when things go wrong especially. That’s particularly helpful to a customer. It’s the same thing at work.

We use the analogy with Bob. Let’s take these pre-start meetings. We sold the first of him organizing them. How do we keep that going? You can probably tell by now that it’s sort of coaching and sort of selling at the same time by us delivering that first week of pre-start meetings. We’re sort of coaching Bob through what good actually looks like. In that sense, you could look at that as being the coach, us being the coach, being on the field. We’ve got all of the players like Bob and his team on the field, on the right field where we want them to play. We’re using that week as practice sessions. We might have a bit of a structure for how to do it. We’ve provided Bob with the opportunity to ask questions and clarify before and after. That’s providing that sort of game plan to Bob. We’re gently pushing Bob, coaching, encouraging, always communicating, getting feedback from Bob about leaning towards him running the meetings the week after. The week after, guess what we offer to Bob? We offer that we would be on the sidelines. We’re going to be right there close to Bob as he steps onto the field, on his own field, with his team, for the first time the week after, in that example of doing those pre-start meetings.

As a coach, we have different styles, and it will suit different people. Sometimes, we need to yell from the sidelines. Sometimes, we just need to play it really quiet and have those huddle discussions at halftime. [00:45:00] Hopefully, you’re getting this idea of the analogy of the coach helps you to sell and then to support the things that you’re selling, ideas and the actions that you’re selling in your business.

How you can go about this after-sales support is this coaching thing with confidence. I’ll go through really quickly this basic sort of coaching model. I’m going to go through it quickly because I didn’t invent this. There’s plenty of information out there on how you can actually use this idea. I call it the Better Now How Model. It’s very, very, similar to the Grow Model, if anyone’s ever experienced that, and I remember someone – oh, no, we didn’t get anyone who’s gotten any coaching training before. The Grow Model is very similar to what I’m going to talk about. How does this actually work? I’ll tell you about it really quickly. The better is effectively the goal. That’s what we want to get to. With Bob, that was Bob running the meetings every day, the pre-start meetings for his crew. That’s the better that we wanted to work to. It’s important that we really focus on really specifically what those things are. Now, you can probably imagine that we would have probably had that discussion with Bob at some point in time but, Bob, that might be a bit daunting to Bob to look at him running his own pre-start meetings for his crew. Instead, the first goal that we were focusing on was just getting Bob to get his team to arrive for the pre-start meetings every day. That was the first sort of better that we were discussing with Bob. That’s the goal.

Then, we have a look at where we are at the moment. Now, that’s usually somewhere off achieving the better that we want, where we are now. That’s not least of which because we might feel that we’re a long way off. But, on reflection, we might actually feel like we’re closer to the goal than we might actually think. It helps to focus on just where we are now. And the how? It’s a question. The question is how are we going to get from our now to our better? That’s the pathway. This is where the coach helps. We’re touching on things like you guys picked up before, that’s coaches coming up with the game plan, that’s going through the practice sessions, that’s providing the feedback to people. This is where the coaching helps to get people to their better, selling them on the idea, and the actual action that we want to see.

That’s the Better Now How Model of coaching. We started with selling, selling ideas and then action. We’re going to use our coaching as our after sales support, if you like, using this Better Now and How Model. We’re framing our sales process around the solutions that we might be able to provide, that connect with the problems that people have, because, often, on the face of it, people don’t often see that having an incident potentially is a problem because it’s too abstract, it’s going to happen to someone else, not to me, we’re all sorted, it’s just common sense. All of these objections come in to the altruistic motivations for EHS in workplaces. Our job is how can we connect our solutions with the current problems that people have. That, I think, is a really, it might feel daunting, but I think it’s actually a really empowering sort of perspective to take with how you really truly sell and believe in the EHS stuff that you’re trying to see done in your workplace.

Now, we’re close to the end. You might be thinking that you’ve got a lot of objections and questions, which we’ll get to in a sec. I want you to challenge the things that we’ve talked about today because I’m trying to sell you on taking a different kind of idea into action in your workplace, to shift out of playing on the field, for example, and into more of a coach role. That might sound daunting, or challenging, or impossible so you’re probably going to have some objections. This is good because making sure that you are addressing the objections, and I address the objections as trying to sell this idea to you, is a core part of the sales process. You need to have to think about that when you’re selling your ideas and actions to people in the workplace, is to anticipate and to understand, and to respond to the objections that people have. I think this is one of the biggest areas where EHS people fall down, is that we default back to control mode when we get challenged on things. “It takes too long to do the inspection,” says Bob; or, “I’ve got no idea how to do this pre-start thing,” or “I don’t get value out of it,” whatever it is. Objections get raised and then we default to you just got to do it just because. It’s important in the selling process that no one will buy what you’ve got unless you deal with their objections. It’s a core part of selling.

On that note, when we’ve covered our sales and coaching, I want to hear your objections. In the question box, in the frame of questions, or points, or things that you’re not sure about, or challenges to what we’ve talked about, now let’s hear from you and get your objections.


Are you guys still there? I can’t hear anyone. Are you there, Jamie?

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah, I’m here.

Andrew: Cool.

Jamie: Yeah, there’s lots of people still here.

Andrew: I wonder whether we’ve got any objections? I’m sure we’ve got objections, or questions. This is an important part of the sales process, guys, so I want you to engage in it. Learning by doing.

Jamie: One objection I’ve heard, so being a little over 20 years in construction, one of the objections, I’m not a safety person, but I’ve seen it a lot.

Andrew: Yep.

Jamie: Safety professionals, safety managers, a lot of times are, A, referred to as safety cops. But, one of the objections that I hear a lot is not the education but somebody looks young, they don’t have the experience that I have, so maybe the more experienced workforce, a newer safety professional, or even a safety professional that doesn’t know what I know as the worker, how can you tell me what to do properly, that kind of thing.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a really good point. I’ve had that experience myself. I wear a beard, and one of the reasons why I started wearing a beard is because I had this idea in my head as a young EHS professional that I needed to look older than I did, because I felt like in my own head I was a bit of an imposter because I didn’t have the years of experience, either as an EHS professional or doing the work of the kind of people I was trying to help, the kind of day to day work that people were doing. I can tell you that growing a beard is not the only solution to that, especially for half of the population. But, what I will tell you is that this idea of coaching is a really good one in the sense that not all of the coaches that are out there, the sporting coaches, have even played at elite level. I think it’s important for you to understand that for you actually to be successful as an EHS person, to sell the ideas that we believe in, because that’s what we know about – we know the reasons why risk-management works, or how a system works to help a business, for example, that’s our core bread and butter—so we can sell people on the ideas because we know that they work. That’s the area of expertise that we’ve got.

But as a coach, we can also draw on that idea that we don’t have to have spent the same amount of time on the field as the players that we’re trying to help. Again, using that analogy, I think spend time on the field with them in practice. Go out there as an EHS person and really truly try to understand what’s going on. That cricketer that coach was closely looking at how that batsman was holding that cricket bat and where the ball was striking the bat. I think that you’ve got to get a really good understanding as to what’s happening out there in the real work that’s being done by people. And when you do that, you have an understanding of the work without having to actually having to do the work itself. And that is a really important principle associated with selling, is that you have empathy because you understand the perspective that people are coming from. You understand their constraints, and their challenges, and that sort of stuff. That goes a long way to you actually having influence, and selling your ideas, and the actions of being a good coach, without you having to have had the 25 years of experience, Jamie, say, that you had in the construction industry. It doesn’t mean that you can’t help.

Great question. What else do we got?

Jamie: We have a great question here from Andy. Often times, we hear production takes priority over safety following a recommendation for improvement that requires an investment of time or money.

Andrew: Yep.

Jamie: Very interested in your response.

Andrew: Yeah, cool. I think the first idea that we’ve got to sell there, just touching on the particular words that you’ve used there, Andy, is production is a priority over safety. I think, and my wife says this, priority is singular. What that suggests is that it’s one or the other, production over safety. I think the first idea I would try and sell is that’s the kind of language that you’re hearing, is that safe production is the priority. When we actually try in our language, we support or we don’t challenge this idea that safety and production are two separate things, I think we implicitly encourage that actually continuing. [00:55:00] That’s the first one that I draw on just out of the language that you’ve used there, Andy.

The other one is that in terms of recommendations requiring improvement – I’m sorry, improvements requiring an investment of time or money, I think that again using the example of Bob and the pre-starts, I think as EHS people, sometimes, we get really obsessed, I suppose, with the perfect solution. We can actually see using our hierarchy of controls, or the compliance code, or the best practice, whatever it is, we can see what it should look like, and we get uncomfortable when we haven’t achieved that. We can see it better but the now isn’t quite there. I think what you’ve got to actually refocus on then is actually those small incremental sales steps. With Bob, we didn’t go with the full kit-and-caboodle, which is to say we’re going to write a procedure, you have to do your pre-start meetings every day, and we’re going to have a KPI, and we’re going to report to the management on that. We didn’t go, in all guns blazing like that. What we did was we went in on a small simple step on that Ascension Model, of selling. I would recommend that in terms of investment of time or money, that’s generally the sort of thing that you need to work on in the longer term. You need to work your way up to that. It could be literally as simple as getting them to spend money on something smaller. It might not even be connected with that particular solution that you’re trying to implement. It creates a habit, which is when we as the EHS professionals, along with the team of people who we’ve consulted with to come up with the solution, when we collectively go to management and say we need time or money, start small and work your way up to that. That becomes a habit, I suppose, in a sales sort of sense that we can work people up towards.

The other thing is that you have to be empathetic to the position that people are playing. Like a coach does, you can’t give the same advice to the people in the forward line as you can in the back line. The goalie doesn’t get the same coaching as the person in the center of the field. In that sense, when it comes to investing time or money, one of the biggest objections that I see is that EHS people don’t understand the business constraints that come around that. They don’t actually understand the P&L, the profit and loss, actually looks like in the business. Understand what the balance sheet looks like. Understand what the budget is and when money gets approved, and whether it’s capital or operational expenditure. These are all the sorts of things that show that I have an understanding, that the leaders have all of these other constraints to manage and planning processes, and whatnot. When it comes to our EHS game plan, part of what we’ve got to do is to work out how that time or money gets actually integrated into the business’s broader game plan. I think that would be really successful. That’s a common sort of trap, I suppose, that I see around the place. Hopefully that helps Andy. Any other questions?

Jamie: Yeah, Jenn has a good question. It’s general but I think it’s real on point here. How do you sell or promote a safety culture? Not necessarily an objection but it’s such a daunting task. How do you promote a healthy safety culture?

Andrew: It’s a good question. I, without getting too philosophical about it, I think this idea of safety culture has been sort of pretty convincingly challenged. Safety culture isn’t really a thing. We’ve tried to describe what this thing is. We’ve tried to describe it, measure it, and then work at how we can influence it. Culture is culture. That would be one of the first things that I would recommend. In terms of any sort of future learning that you’re going to do after this, I like the idea that culture is about work. Culture goes down to the team level, all the way through to the organizational level. #00:59:11# is the guy who wrote – is absolutely phenomenal – as an organizational psychologist. And he talks a lot about this idea that there are cultures and sub-cultures all around organizations, there no one sort of homogenous culture, and there’s definitely not a safety culture. I would ask a question then and say, Jenn, what is it about safety culture, the idea, first? What is it that you can describe to start selling it? And then the second thing is what are the actions?

I think that sometimes safety culture can seem a little bit fluffy. It can seem a little bit like that far off distant goal. It’s probably not clear and concrete enough for us to be able to connect it with the problems that people currently face. The way that I do this, and I work a lot with small businesses, who are really, really, challenging to work with from an EHS point of view is that we stop talking about safety culture and we just focus on work, and work culture, and how work can be better. [01:00:11] If we use examples like the pre-start with Bob, we can really easily and quickly leverage the benefits associated with good communication, two-way communication, problem-solving, getting feedback and input from the crew. Without even the words that the crew are using, we can get an idea of their fatigue and their attitudes towards what’s going on at the moment. There are a whole bunch of other really great benefits to doing that pre-start, which achieves a safety objective, that also contributes to those other kinds of challenges or problems that Bob and the rest of the organization might face.

The long and the short of it, for safety culture, I would recommend is stop focusing on safety culture and just work out what is it in a more practical sense, are the problems that people face, and then how we can connect some actionable EHS-related things to it. So, how can audits help identify more in terms of what’s working and what’s not working, how can we better communicate with people. Whatever it is, I would sort of break it down to the more practical level. If you’re talking to leaders, and managers, and supervisors about safety culture, they’re probably going to switch off so I don’t know that that would be helpful. That would be my recommendation, Jenn.

Jamie: Is that, when you’re talking about Ascension Model, the small commitments lead to the bigger ones, it reminds me of that saying eating an elephant one bite at a time.

Andrew: Absolutely.

Jamie: Not that I eat elephants, but…

Andrew: Although I’m sure someone will try one, one day.

Jamie: If there’s bacon around it with an Oreo in the center, I’m open.

Andrew: That’s right. Eating an elephant one bite at a time is a beautiful analogy for that.

Jamie: I know we’re sort of over time here, but Chris has a good question. Andrew, apologies to you for a little over time.

Andrew: No, no. I’m here for you. I’m here for you.

Jamie: Right on. And I’m here for them, so let’s keep going then. Chris has a good question. And, Chris, I’ve asked you to clarify and you have so I’ll try not to blow this one. He’s asking the question along the lines of it’s necessary to leave room for others to come through with their coaching, needed to deal with mistaken approaches. When I asked him to clarify, he said, “Trying to avoid mistakes from the group.”

Andrew: Yep.

Jamie: Fixing bad habits that have been engrained along the way.

Andrew: Yep.

Jamie: So people without real prior experience—anyway, I probably botched that but I think you get what I’m trying—

Andrew: No, no, I can. So, “Trying to avoid mistakes in a group if you haven’t had that direct experience yourself”, is that the question?

Jamie: I think so. And maybe some mistakes that have just turned into habits along the way.

Andrew: Beautiful. Using the coaching analogy, a good coach isn’t just a one hit wonder. They’ve been in the game for a while as in they’ve had years and years of coaching, and hopefully a few championships under their belt. I think that in that sense it’s important, as a coach, so you as a coach, that you draw on the full breadth of your experience. I, personally, tell plenty of stories about what I’ve learned at this other workplace, or this particular incident happened at this other place, in order to try and draw connections for the people who I am immediately working with for a particular problem or situation.

There’s this real paradox within health and safety which is if we don’t make mistakes we can’t learn. That’s a very human truism. But, we’re often fearful of making mistakes because that can result in injury or illness. I think the principle that goes along with us learning from many misses, or near hits if you want to call them that, no one does get hurt, or there’s no major outcome, but something very nearly did, I think that principle is a really good one. But you don’t necessarily have to rely on that experience happening within that team or within that workplace. As a coach, draw on the different experiences of others. Now, if you’re an earlier career, or you just personally just haven’t had the breadth of experience, and you’re really, like the emoji on the screen, you’re really sort of thinking about it and you can’t think of an experience or a story to share that connects people with the potential mistakes that might happen, then ask the group because the biggest untapped resource that happens in these kinds of interactions is there might be one EHS person and you might be doing a great job acting as the coach.

[01:05:00] But if you’ve got a crew of 10 people, or you’ve got a site that’s got 100 people in it, or if you’ve got a business that’s got 1,000 people in it, then there’s 10, or 100, or 1,000 times the experience that you can draw on in that instance, a good coach. It doesn’t have to feel like they’re going to give all of the answers, or have all of the solutions to help people with; but asking really good questions. So, as a coach, I coach just people in the community that we run for supporting EHS people, and my job is to ask really good questions like can you think of a time when maybe you’ve had this experience before, or have you heard any other stories of this kind of thing happening in your industry. I think that in that sense, if you see the potential for mistakes to happen, you can ask really good questions as a coach and draw on the experience of the group. I truly have really not been able to actually come up with a great interaction that draws on other people, because the numbers are with you. If you’re engaging people and asking good questions of people, the numbers are with you to try and help bring out that story, or that lesson, or those mistakes that you’re trying draw out. Hopefully that helps, Chris.

Have we gotten any others, Jamie?

Jamie: Yeah, there’s three left, and maybe we’ll cap it at that.

Andrew: Yep, yep.

Jamie: Definitely don’t want to breeze over your amazing podcast. I definitely want people to experience it. Here’s one from Dave. Often EHS issues cross into so many different areas of responsibilities: production, operations, procurement, quality, etc.

Andrew: Yep.

Jamie: How can we sell changes into these areas that we’re not experts in? So there’s that I’m not an expert again. Excellent question.

Andrew: Yeah. Well, I think we did partly touch on that back then. I think as a good EHS person, you will recognize that EHS is not just this one track thing, that it is pervasive in everything that happens in the organization. Understanding those linkages, I think, are really important. The most successful EHS people that I know, and the most success that I’ve had as an EHS person, is when we go deep into other parts of the business. I think this is a bit of a barrier for some of the EHS people, thinking, oh, well that’s not my responsibility, or I’m not an expert in that. If we think about things like fatigue, that’s a tricky kind of risk to try and manage. We have to look at the way that work is designed, and work scheduling, and the allocation of resources. We have to look at that. And that might feel uncomfortable. But, those are the discussions that need to happen with your Human Resources people, and your operational people, and how they budget, and how they work on their rosters, and that sort of thing. You cannot just write procedures, and quote legislation, and things like that to try and manage a problem like fatigue. You have to get deep and dirty in something like the way work is designed and scheduled. If you think about things like contractors, sub-contracting is just exploding everywhere in the world. That makes it really difficult to manage work, different to the traditional employer-employee type model.

You have to get involved in the procurement process. It’s not as simple as just writing a procedure and flicking it off to the people who go and engage those contractors. You really need to understand the contracting model, what are the things like supply and demand in the market, and how are those kinds of factors affecting it; is pricing a factor in terms of the quality of the subcontractors that people can get. Again, these are all of the traditional sorts of things that EHS people would probably go, “oh, that’s not my thing,” and we stay away from it. No, I’m saying get involved in it. You don’t have to be the expert but you can be the coach in order to actually understand what’s going on in those parts of the field in order to try and then influence how you might connect your solutions with the problems that they might face.

Jamie: Alright. Fanny has a great one here, and I’ve seen this a lot. “What if there is a difference in what leaders, or managers, or workers want? How can I sell the same EHS things to different people?”

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a good point. I don’t think you can sell the same EHS things to different people. I think this again is a bit of a trap where often we sort of think there’s a one-size fits all. The ideas and the actions that you’re selling to senior leadership, senior leaders, is trying to be different to the guys on the shop floor. [01:10:00] It’s not to say that you’re going to have different systems, or processes, or anything like that. But, the senior leadership guys aren’t going to be interested in how you actually do the maintenance task on the equipment, for example. They’re going to be interested in the indicators that our system has implemented, and what about the monitoring tasks that are being undertaken, and what feedback are we getting from people, from our leaders, and are we managing incidents and learning from those things. Those higher level type ideas, we need to sell to leadership and the action that they need to take on that is vastly different from the things we need to sell on the shop floor which might be as simple as changing tools, or steps in a work process, or what not. Our job is not to come up with that, but to help coach people to improve on those things. But, you just need to understand that when you’re communicating with people, and when you’re serving them, they’re going to have different problems; and so you need to frame, as I said, I used the word frame your solutions in that way. I’m not saying create a whole bunch of different solutions necessarily but contextualize what it is that you’re doing so that it talks to the problems that they’ve got, and then you’ll be a good salesperson.

Jamie: Alright, final question of the afternoon. This is a great one. So, “I have salespeople in my organization that have a heck of a time selling anything to anyone. How can I be expected to sell when I’m not actually a salesperson?”

Andrew: That’s a good question. That’s interesting to me, and I would probably be maybe reflecting on how long the business is going to be around if the salespeople aren’t selling. What I would encourage you to do is to ask questions. If you’re not feeling confident about selling, then one of the best things that you can do is spend time with salespeople. In order to just understand some of these principles and practice, I will say though focus on the principles and not literally how it works. If you’re a fuller brush salesman, the fuller brush men that used to run around the US in the 50s and 60s, they don’t exist anymore because that business has actually changed the way that they sell. I think they’re still around. You need to just understand the principles around sales rather than literally what’s happening. But, I wouldn’t take that as a discouragement at all. I find that the skills and the way that EHS people learn and I suppose their modus operandi, the way that we go about things, has a great potential to sell because we are solutions-focused, and we are structured, and we generally communicate pretty well. All of those things really help. There’s also, in this book, The Daniel Pink book, he talks about the fallacy that all salespeople are extroverts, which is not actually true. The best salespeople actually have a bit of a balance. They sit in the middle between introversion and extroversion. I find that a lot of the EHS people are like that as well. They’re not the total extroverts, but they’re not the total introverts too. In that sense, without that understanding your situation, I would suggest that you just really try and understand why those salespeople aren’t actually selling in order to learn whether there’s any lessons out of that. But, looking at the principles of selling in your context, I would just get in and do it because that’s the only way that you’re going to learn and get feedback.

Jamie: Alright. Well, that wraps up the questions, Andrew. Again, just a reminder, subscribe to Andrew’s podcast. Fantastic. I listen to it when I’m driving. It’s quite nice. I don’t have to watch anything like a video. Thanks for that. If you’re not subscribed, great resource. He’s got some great interviews with people. I highly recommend it. That’s my personal opinion just because …

Andrew: Thank you.

Jamie: No, it’s because it’s fantastic.

Andrew: And I should say that the podcast, Safety on Tap, as a podcast is a free resource that I provide for EHS professionals, in order to support your growth as a leader. It’s not the sort of thing that lots of people talk about around management systems, or compliance, or audits, or the traditional sorts of EHS stuff because I think there’s plenty of that good stuff around and I know that Safeopedia is a fantastic resource. There’s some really practically EHS things. What we’re focused on in the podcast is really the sorts of things that aren’t really common to support the growth of leaders. [01:15:00] We talk about the influence of selling and coaching. We talk about pushing out the boundaries of current practice, where we understand people. We look at ways of more effectively communicating, we talk about the idea of marketing what we do. We tend to I suppose approach the edges from the perspective that not many others do. I generally find that knowing the core business of EHS is just the beginning. But then actually being able to turn that into something amazing inside a business requires all of these other types of skills and ideas, which are the things that we like cover on the podcast.

Please check out Andrew's Podcast here

Jamie: Awesome. Well, thanks. Thanks, Andrew. I really want to thank everybody that attended the webinar today. A quick reminder, we will be sending out a link to the recording in a few days. With that, we’ll sign off. I want to thank everybody.

Andrew: Thank you, everyone. I really appreciate your time.

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Best Practices Safety Culture

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Written by Andrew Barrett

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Andrew is best known as a communicator and a connector. Host of the popular Safety on Tap Podcast, his mission is to help leaders to grow themselves and drastically improve health and safety along the way. Andrew believes that a health and safety professional who is invested in their own growth is a more effective and more satisfied professional.

Andrew loves connecting people with their better selves, connecting people with new ideas, and connecting people within a strong professional community.
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