Looking for Success?
The basics to reach success in business or otherwise are really simple.
To immediately go to the links to the PDF versions of my books, scroll down to the end of this
But if you first want to read my short introduction, here you go ...... and remember what Peter Drucker
"What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it,
that's another matter."
I assume that you too, like everybody else, want to be successful, in
business and/or in private life.
Basic questions then would be:
Would the process to reach success in safety - in a business environment - be much
different from reaching success in other business areas of from reaching success in personal life? My
opinion? I do not think so, I think the basics are the same but you have to adapt these to your specific
environment and wishes.
- what is success? You can get rather "scientific" about this - but try my simple answer: success = achieving
your goal or objective; achieve what you want to achieve. Success is (usually) not
static; it is similar to continuous improvement - it is a moving target. Once one goal has been reached,
another follows. You can have an end goal and or sub-goals that will allow you to reach the final goal.
Anyway, to keep it simple: success = reaching a goal.
with the quote by Peter Drucker: be careful to select your objectives; you really have to want the
success, if not you will give up before you will get there!
Would you only
have one objective or goal at any given time? Probably not, you may have several goals to reach your “final”
goal. Compare it to going on vacation to a faraway place. You would probably not reach that in one stretch.
Your first goal may be to get the proper documents to enter the country when you get there. Once you have
those, the second goal would be to reach the airport on time. There may not be a direct flight, so you may
have to stay overnight in the hotel that you booked. So getting to the hotel would be your next goal. And so
on, you get the message. You may also realize that you are not nor the master of that process, you are not
the “master of the universe”. You depend on people to provide you with the proper documents. You depend
on the traffic on your way to the airport. You depend on the airline making the plane available. You depend
on the weather making the flight possible. You depend on the taxi to drive you to your hotel hoping that the
people there made the proper reservation. So, while you made your plan and set the
objective – where to go, when and how - you would need others to do things helping you in the process to
reach your goal.
Once you have
reached your objective or goal, could you sit back and relax? Also: probably not. Once you have reached your
goal, you will probably set another one and the process starts allover but, by then, you know the process in
and out; in principle, the process remains the same and the basics of that process are
To achieve a
goal you must:
Have a plan what to do, why, by whom, when and
Have the knowledge/capabilities (and other resources) to do
what needs to be done
what must be done – by you and others as applicable - to reach you goal or
that's the basic, simple model that I use: Plan - Train - Do. No plan without objective and no success
without doing what is in the plan. Don’t give up easily and adapt your plan as and when necessary; getting
success requires work, if it would be easy everybody would have it. But it helps when you know the basics of
getting success, in business and in private life.
business environment, you normally cannot do things on your own and you need to have the consent, support and
involvement of others. In private life that will also be the case unless you live alone on a faraway
life, you may be setting the objective – where to go - as the starting point of your plan but you may need to
the help of others to reach your objective; which makes you the plan leader. In business, you may not be in
that leadership position. If you are not, working in a company, or as an external consultant, would it not be
nice to know what needs to be done to reach objectives? Would it not be nice to know what the basics are to
get the top person of the organization to give his or her leadership and motivation to bring the success that
you are looking for? Would it not be nice to know the process that the company has to follow bringing the
leadership and motivation down the organization while involving people in developing, executing and improving
the plan to reach success?
In a business
environment, you may call the plan a management system and, in fact, a management system is a plan as it
contains work to be done to obtain a certain results. However a management system is often directed at
obtaining the minimum performance level at which a certificate can be obtained. That may bring you the
certificate but would it bring you the success beyond the certificate? If that is all you will be looking
for, fine, but you should realize that there is a world of success still to be obtained beyond the level at
which the certificate is issued.
management system or plan normally contains a number of sub-plans or elements, each of which should have
their own, specific, objective contributing to the overall purpose of the plan or management system. The
sub-plans are the driving forces behind achieving the overall goal. The sub-plans contain what needs to be
done, why, by whom, when and how. Each sub-plan needs a responsible person for coordination of the
development, maintenance and improvement of the sub-plan. Periodic checks should be made to evaluate sub-plan
activities carried out and results obtained. To that end, each subplan must have the same generic structure
that goes from purpose and why via activities to carry out to evaluation (of activities carried out and
results thereof) - the improvement wheel.
implementation, maintenance and improvement of the plan (in a business environment) is included in a process
that starts at the top of the organization and descends down the organization involving others at different
levels. Such process may take some time and will always be adjusted to obtain results. In principle, this
process would involve delegation of (some) decision-making to the lower end of the organization; if you ask
people to make a contribution, it also means giving them responsibilities.
To make the
process successful, people need to speak the same language and understand the importance of purpose and plan.
Sharing this knowledge is part of the process.
If the goal
serves the entire organization, it requires involving as many people as possible in the process. This is why
the importance of an objective such as to “improve safety " should be shared by many. A goal can also be more
specific and involve a smaller group. This is why sub-plans may require a specific department, for example
purchasing, design, training, etc., to form the heart of the coordination team - of course, including contact
with (end) users.
The process to
make a plan or management system is generic and, independent of the objective; you must go through the same
steps. As far as the speaking the same language is concerned, if the objective is "improve safety" efforts
should be taken to make clear what the shared importance is. This can be done by looking at the basic
activities to enable "safety": risk
identification, control measures, etc. Then it will be easy to establish relationships with other business
aspects that use the same basis: quality, environment, risk management, cost management, company reputation
on others to reach success it is essential to:
Speak the same language – to agree on the way to go
Know the process to make the plan - the route to reach
You find both
essential issues addressed in my books:
Risk Management, Safety and Control of Loss - Protecting Your
Making Your Future in Business - and in Other Parts of
success in “safety", both books are of importance to the safety professional working as an internal or
external consultant. But as the approach is largely generic, the principles will probably apply to all
business areas and activities, large and small. It will also apply to private life.
Book 1 shows
the relation between the three business areas mentioned in the title as part of the most essential leadership
and management function: to solve problems, proactive and reactive - prior to and after the unwanted event.
The three areas are based on the same principles or activities: risk identification, (proactive) control
measures and (retroactive) learning form what goes wrong. Accepting that, these three areas are practically
the same, at least form a business pint of view. And you can add almost all other areas, activities and tasks
to that if you accept that one of the main task of leadership and management, actually: of everyone in your
organization, is to make better what is being done: protecting your
Book 2 shows
the process that will lead to success. Based on the Plan – Train – Do model, the process consisting of 17
steps starts at the top and goes down the organization involving those who need to be involved while sharing
knowledge and requesting participation. Included in the book is a rating tool that allows you to obtain an
(objective) impression of how well your organization has done in the improvement/development process;
measured in 17 steps. While the process that I show has 17 steps, you should adapt it to the specific
circumstances of your organization or that of your client.
In safety land
and looking form a historic point of view, people often make the relation between safety results (≈ accident
frequency) and control/development phases as shown graphically in the picture below. First there is the
technology phase, then the organization and finally culture as the vehicle to get the best end results (read:
success; when one levels off, the next phase will bring additional impetus. What will be after the culture
phase is not indicated in the picture – does this indicate that there is nothing else or that culture is the
Safety development phases
overlapping, phase thinking seems to suggest that these are there separable phases with one following the
other. However, you should really look upon this as a trinity in which "organization" at the center also
takes care of technology and culture.
Should you be
looking for ongoing success or continuous improvement, you should put the emphasis on “the way we do things
here”, the organization. But you should do that using a
process involving everyone in the
organization, at every level. When doing it right, you will get the machines and equipment in line with
technological developments. You will also get the individual behavior – and the culture - that comes with
involving people and giving them responsibilities where necessary and justified. In order to achieve his or
her success, the (safety) consultant must know the process to make to the plan and speak the language that to
build the bridge to decision-making management leadership.
my books? Then have a look at them here (PDF documents):
1 - Risk Management, safety and Control of Loss - Protecting
Book 2 - Making
Your Future in Business - and in Other Parts of Life
wish to buy my books?
For book 1 go
For book 2 go