How do you improve safety performance? Whenever an incident occurred, the company I was working for invariably added additional safety rules. It became a reflex, full of symbolic actions, yet signifying little. In time, the safety rulebook grew until it reached a point where only specialists could make sense of the patchwork of rules. And yet, the safety performance did not improve.
Then, we decided to do something different: We identified ten critical safety rules and explained, coached and enforced these rules with vigor. We ignored the rest.
This was a breakthrough: By decreasing noise you will improve performance.
To make any improvement stick, it is important to apply strategic quitting and cut out noise first. Ask yourself what are the few things really needed to make a bold, next step. Then solicit the ideas and help from experts in the field, who are practitioners with a track record of outstanding results.
Often, the hardest part is to ignore everyone and everything else.
The rock star Alice Cooper once told the following story to drive this point home: “If you’re listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you’re a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we’re morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal.”
There is a lot of wisdom in these words: If you want to have a water leak fixed, listen carefully to your plumber. Ignore him, though, when it comes to advice about your investment portfolio.