What is even more disturbing than the simplistic example that is discussed in the last post, is the fact that international corporations are taking Reactive Management to an entire new level. In fact, it is becoming an essential ingredient in their programs and departments. Take Safety programs for instance. In this modern age, we have Federal enforceable and standardized working conditions through OSHA, and in some States, more strict laws than the Federal regulations are in place to ensure worker safety; a constant concern since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and rightly so. To offer a further blanket of protection where needed, almost every modern company involved in industry of every sort dictates that task specific programs be in place to ensure safe working conditions for their employees. Obviously, this is an exercise in checks and balances. If these laws and regulations were not in place, the corporations would “cut corners” in order to maximize profits. However, that is not the world that we live in. In fact, in the modern age, we possess a great and mighty weapon that is wielded with precise large strokes…to keep the corporations honest. It is more commonly know as the lawsuit.
Yes, In the economic climate of today, make a mistake, forget to dot the I, and someone is coming to take their share of deserved compensation…along with their attorney’s fees of course. So, with all of these truths out on the table, one would assume that Safety accidents in the work place should be at all time low. Well, that may not be the case; nevertheless, no one can argue that injury severity has declined over the past 150 years.
The modern corporations of today have developed extensive safety programs in order to keep their workers safe, and dollars from going out the door. The installation of these multileveled programs is a very proactive approach, however; time and human nature has allowed reactive tendencies from lower and mid level managers to taint the waters. It never fails. Anyone who has ever been a part of mandated accident investigation has seen the heading at the bottom of the form. It is labeled “Countermeasures.” Is this necessary, most certainly! If any institution or organization can apply a countermeasure in order to keep someone else form becoming injured in the same manner, it should be done promptly!! However, statistics dictate that sometimes...there was nothing that could have been done. You, the reader; can think of such an instance. “A man pinched his hand in his lunch box, (yes…if it happened on your property even though it was at lunch and it was his item, it is still reportable on your OSHA 300 log.)” “A woman staples her hand at her desk when she was not looking.” These types of items come across the incident investigation team all the time in companies across America. What do we do with such statistical anomalies? We develop countermeasures! We never question whether or not this event warrants a countermeasure!!!! The bottom of the investigation form requires us to develop and implement them…so we must obey!!! Sounds a little Reactive doesn’t it? Obviously, this company has saw fit not to allow the investigation team to question the need for the countermeasure. Upper management needs leverage in the civil courts if accidents go to trial so they can fight the good fight and absolve themselves of the liability! Wrong! The corporation will settle, and the company will be stuck with lockable staplers, or worst yet, all of the employees company wide will be reduced to paper clips and brown paper bags for their meals. These atrocities are the result of a Reactive mindset that has penetrated upper management in the American organization.