Posts Tagged ‘Onion’

Shrek Philosophy, Onions, and Checking Off Boxes

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Yesterday, I spoke at a Professional Risk Managers Association meeting. The attendees were people who specialize in ensuring safety and reducing risk within the workplace.

What surprised me was how many of them were looking for the quick fix. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a shock to me, since it seems to be human nature to look for the easiest solution for just about anything. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, we often over-complicate things…

Yesterday, I spoke at a Professional Risk Managers Association meeting. The attendees were people who specialize in ensuring safety and reducing risk within the workplace.

What surprised me was how many of them were looking for the quick fix. I suppose that shouldn’t come as a shock to me, since it seems to be human nature to look for the easiest solution for just about anything. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. After all, we often over-complicate things.

However, these are people whose jobs depend on reducing risk, and you would think that if anyone would see the benefits of doing things right, they would. That’s not to say that everyone at this meeting was simply looking for a way to put a tick in the box saying they trained their employees (“There, I’ve trained them. Things should be good, now.”). No, I could tell that lots of them were motivated to do it right. But I was still surprised that so many of them weren’t this focused.

As I said, it seemed as though some of the people there just wanted to be seen to have provided a training course to their employees. The problem with this approach is that a training course does not necessarily change people’s behavior and/or improve their performance.

Think back to the training courses you’ve attended in the past. How many times have you walked away from one thinking, “Great information. Now what?”, and then not changed the ways you do things?

I like to quote the famous philosopher, Shrek. If you haven’t seen the first movie, see it – Shrek’s quite the brilliant thinker! In the movie, he likes to say that many things are like onions – they have layers. Thinking that a training course is going to change people’s performance is only looking at the outer layer of the onion. To really make a change, you need to peel back the layers to get to the core of the onion. Once you get there, you can then deal with it. If you simply work with the outer layer of the onion, you won’t really be addressing the issues.

While we shouldn’t over-complicate things, we do need to identify what the real issue is, then find the best solution for it – not just deal with the outer layer of the onion and put a tick in the box next to “Training Completed.”

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