Blogs

Derek Bishop

Director

Your culture, your risk

Date added: 07th Mar 2017
Category: Culture of conduct/ethics

Promote a culture of inattention in which people mechanically carry out processes with no thought for the wider picture and losing customers may be the least of your worries.

How easy is it to kill through inattention? According to government statistics, twenty-two people were killed and ninety-nine seriously injured in 2015 by drivers who were distracted by their mobile phones. Little wonder then that, at the time of writing, the police are cracking down on the use of hand held mobile phones whilst driving; with penalties having doubled to 6 points and a £200 fine.

The police activity is accompanied by a government publicity campaign which, amongst other things, highlights the fact that those supervising learner drivers are subject to the same penalties. It’s a sobering thought (and no you can’t be drunk whilst supervising either) but it does make sense. When you are overseeing a learner driver, your senses have to be fully engaged not only in training but also in being aware of likely hazards. So however much you’d like to take the time to catch up on emails or chat with friends, to do so is to put at risk those both within and outside the vehicle.

It’s this attitude to risk, being aware of the need for care of others, which translates directly into organisational culture. Admittedly not every business carries a potential death risk, but it is a rare product or service which cannot adversely affect others if it is carried out with less than due care and attention. From product design to delivery, a slapdash culture can have negative consequences.

How often do we think of those consequences in our daily activities? I’m not just thinking here of health and safety culture being reduced to a tick box exercise, although that is bad enough. And I’m not even thinking about the potential effects of website information or customer instructions being incorrect or incomplete, even though that could lead to a potentially harmful situation.

But what about something as simple as failing to return a customer call, that’s no big deal is it? Well it might not be for you; but it is for the customer who has rearranged their entire day waiting for the call, who has postponed certain actions until they have heard from you, who has become stressed and frustrated at the lack of response. That simple lack of care and attention on your part has consequences for the customer, and in return will have consequences for you either through negative publicity or through the loss of custom.

You see, when you’re looking at potential risk areas you can’t afford to simply watch out for the juggernauts and ignore everything else. And your culture is your culture throughout the organisation. Foster a culture of thoughtfulness and care and people’s awareness of the risks and consequences of their actions become part of the daily matrix. On the other hand, promote a culture of inattention in which people mechanically carry out processes with no thought for the wider picture and losing customers may be the least of your worries.

 

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