Page 20 - Texas811 Magazine 2021 Issue 4
P. 20

Closing the Gap
Could Be Good For Safety
By Larry Cole, Ph.D. TeamMax
reputation you’ve created with your behaviors that you may not see, i.e., a blind spot.
Third is the willingness to ask
others what you can do, e.g., using a different safety procedure or changing interpersonal performance to close the gap. In doing so, accept the fact that you are guilty until proven innocent! Hopefully those you ask will offer solutions. If not, you’re being told another story you may not want to hear but should! If not — another gap is created that could derail your career as it did for Tom. Remember you see what you want to see and hopefully you want to see what others see about you.
Fourth is implementing the suggestions offered to work more safely. Last, but certainly not least, is securing feedback about the progress you are making.
Fact: Peak performers seek feedback from every source and prefer to
know what is not working well
before learning what is working
well. You probably know why — because the former is richer with learning improvement ideas than
are compliments. Closing the gaps allows the elite performers to improve their performance on their journey to excellence and being incident and injury free.
Larry Cole, Ph.D., is founder of TeamMax a consulting company that helps people work together. Please send questions and/or comments to Larry at
You don’t have to close the gaps that I’m describing in this article, but it could promote physical and psychological safety for you and others if you did!
We’re blinded by our own vision because we see what we want to see. Think about that statement for a moment. Our thinking is the culprit and creates gaps that can be detrimental to our safety, the safety of others and our personal and professional impact.
Let’s start with a safety procedure. Suppose you believe a particular safety procedure is the best. What you see with that safety procedure is driven
by your is the best. Now here comes the gap. It is possible that an alternate procedure could be even safer than your selected one, but you won’t see it, because your thoughts are controlling what you see.
A similar example occurs with the reluctance to try a new equipment or technology. Some people like and want to continue using the old in spite of the fact the new technology is improved. Again, thinking blinded the vision and created a gap.
The gap we’re discussing brings me to this point — the perception others have of you is more important than your self-perception. Unfortunately we have a positive bias to think we’re better than in fact we are. Remember perception controlled by our thinking creates our reality!
Let me tell you about Tom (not his real name). I was asked to help him control his anger. Everyone was a victim of
his emotional outbursts, consequently morale and production plummeted with his work crew. Obviously the emotional outbursts created a safety hazard for everyone. The challenge was that he didn’t see himself as expressing anger instead only doing what he needed to do to get the job done.
His vision created a major blind spot and a gap that he wouldn’t cross. He continued rationalizing his behavior as he told me several times that he acted just like his mother. I even asked if I could talk to his mother about changing her behavior thus
he would automatically change and close the gap between what he saw as opposed to what others saw. After a
25 year career with the company he was released because his vision, driven by his thoughts, prevented him from realizing that he was a safety hazard. Yes, interpersonal skills can be a safety hazard and, unfortunately, there are too many of these examples in the workplace.
Closing the gap requires several psychological characteristics. First, is the willingness to accept responsibility of your behavior. Your mother is not controlling your behavior, your freedom of choice is.
Second is the willingness to believe the truth as reported to you by others, because these people know the
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