• Mark Myers

A Safety Leader’s Imperative: Share Selflessly and Steal Shamelessly – Part II


In our last blog, we framed the safety management tenet of sharing selflessly and stealing shamelessly. I proposed that this safety mantra was a SQMS skill that contributed to the airlines achieving an 80% reduction in fatal accident rates against their past two decades of unprecedented growth.

As we operate (or plan to return to operations) in today’s Covid-19 environment, we have a vivid backdrop for the need to assure this tenet supports the foundation of a holistic safety and quality management system. The current business environment challenges many of us with:

  • New demands or dimensions of strategic planning

  • Being nimble, flexible, and able to change tactics frequently, while being skillful in their prioritization

  • Increased demand for support of data-driven analysis and decision making

  • Redefining or redesigning employee engagement and change management on a daily basis

If we look at these challenges through the lens of SMS risk management, they are key attributes of business production. Balancing the SMS protection side, these challenges require applying active doses of benchmarking, building up our data sources and improving our knowledge management, while building a safety management innovation engine.

Safety Benchmarking - The qualities of stealing shamelessly and giving credit for those who have already figured it out.

Traditionally, benchmarking has been described as a practice that promotes imitation. However, in a safety management context, this may be one of the fastest means to determine who and how someone has already figured it out! ASQ describes benchmarking as a process for identifying, comprehending, and adapting knowledge of exemplary practices and processes from organizations worldwide[i]. Within a leading safety culture, it can also mean “the practice of being humble enough to admit that someone else is better at something, and wise enough to try and learn how to match or even surpass them at it.” – (Mark Modena - Winning Moves, UK).[ii]

Baldwin offers a workable benchmarking opportunity by sponsoring weekly Safety Chats with hundreds of clients around the world. This gives you the opportunity to chat with the ‘best of the best’, creating exemplary practices, and jointly solving current issues.

Knowledge Promotion – The qualities of sharing selflessly while reducing your risk and speeding up time to implement. Companies who practice ethical benchmarking follow codes of conduct with principles of exchange, legality, confidentiality, use, and preparation. This enables you and your safety team the freedom to acquire the kind of knowledge that will help you adopt, adapt, and apply the explicit safety management detail that is built on your current knowledge base. Working with organizations such as Baldwin, you have the opportunity to grow peer relationships and tap into their tacit knowledge of how they continue to do what is right for their passenger, patient, employee, or client. Baldwin can also provide detailed SMS policy manuals that can help you frame how you can ethically benchmark as a part of your SMS safety assurance policy and process.

Innovation Engine – The strategic advantage to think ‘beyond’ the box.

Many people may get stuck, and complacent, looking at their peers and competitors for new ideas, when they should really be looking outside their industry to achieve breakthrough thinking. By learning how other industries are growing and adapting to similar challenges, we all have a better chance of driving true innovation. Baldwin can deploy safety and quality resources to help establish a “minimum viable innovation system” as part of your safety assurance process.[iii] This is accomplished with little investment, no hiring, and enables you to make innovation more systematic and strategic.


So go ahead! Get out there and take on the current challenges the way Safety Leaders have for decades now and ‘Share Selflessly and Steal Shamelessly’!

[i] Russell T. Westcott, The Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Handbook – Fourth Edition, (Milwaukee: American Society for Quality, Quality Press, 2014), pp. 297-301. [ii] Kidschun, Florian, Global Benchmarking Network. Modena, Mark -Benchmarking Quote. 2020. https://www.globalbenchmarking.org/ [iii] Scott D. Anthony, David S. Duncan, Pontus M.A. Siren, “Build an Innovation Engine in 90 Days.” Harvard Business Review, summary – (December 2014 Issue).

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