In our 20-year journey of working with shipping organisations all around the globe, what we have seen is the striving for safety excellence, an embedded value for many shipping companies.
But to excel in safety and achieve a strong and proactive safety culture requires us to look at our ways of thinking, reviewing, and evaluating our safety performance. Key Performance Indicators are used to show an aspect of safety performance, but when we talk to people, on board and ashore, we see a different picture.
Continuous formal and informal performance reviews is an important prerequisite to ensure the safety performance both on-board and ashore.
With our long experience in performance management and development, we have identified that a reliable performance review can be achieved by taking these guiding principles into consideration:
Controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened requires that we think differently and think ahead. Human thinking leads to perceptions that again can affect our actions and behaviours. In other words, the way we think is decisive for our successes and failures – our possibility to excel.
Therefore, the focus should be on the way we think; meaning, the way we reflect, analyse, reason and argue. The degree of our thinking helps us make the right decisions when performing a work task. Our thinking, pre-defines the outcome of our decision.
How do we develop our ability to think in a proactive manner about our safety lifestyles? As it can be derived from John Dewey’s ‘thinking thoughts’, the only level of thinking defined as being proactive is when we consciously seek to learn before an event and the actions we make are justified through some level of analytic thinking. Aim to think about our ‘safety lifestyle’ (how we behave safely) and apply a critical and reflective mindset. The most important duty of shipping organisations is to create an environment that allows people to do so.
This article was published in the Greek maritime magazine, Naftica Chronica in May 2022