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Brett Read

Tom: [00:00:00] Hi and welcome to Health and Safety Conversations. I'm your host Tom Bourne and with me today is the absolutely marvellous Brett Reid. Brett, how are you? Brett Read: I'm great. Thank you, Tom. Looking forward to this conversation. Tom: Fantastic. It's been a beautiful day in Perth. Just looking out the window there for a second. Tom: Still crystal blue skies. Apparently, we've had a bushfire down my way a little bit. I didn't know anything about it until I saw the smoke. Apparently, there's a bushfire, which is I would suggest it's unusual in March. Have you, have you heard or seen anything similar around this time of year? Brett Read: Yeah, we actually, about two or three days ago, we just, so I live in the northeast of Perth and Further east of us again, we just had major fires up at Gidgee Gannop Way down 2J Road, so heading towards Reid Highway and that area, if people know Perth, but yeah, major bushfires that were out of control for a day and a half. Brett Read: So, yeah, we've had a, we've had a, just the [00:01:00] last week, we've had quite a bit. Tom: I could, I, I, I'm not looking forward to next summer. I think it could be a hell of a summer for fires, but who knows, maybe, maybe we've burnt all the available fuel. All right. Enough talking about bushfires. Brett, I've talked to you a few times at safety events and that's how I've got to know you. Tom: I saw you at the AIHS symposium late last year as well, presenting. But for those who don't know you, can you tell us a little bit about your professional journey so far? Where you've come from and what you're currently up to? Brett Read: Yeah, thank you. I started my career after university. I joined the army and went into Do officer training completed that. Brett Read: And I did 12 years all up in the Australian army as a an officer in regular army units first. And then I went and did the SAS selection course and was successful with that. And [00:02:00] so went into the SS regiment first as a captain and was fortunate enough to be a troop commander. I was troop commander of an air operations troop, which is everything from working with helicopters roping and mountain climbing through to parachuting and high altitude what's called HIHO, high altitude, high opening parachuting. Brett Read: And Halo, high altitude, low opening parachuting, so jumping out at 25, 000 feet, pre breathing oxygen for an hour so you don't get the bends when they depressurize the plane. So a lot of high risk activities in that. And left the army after 12 years full time and went into I worked for two different multinational companies in operations and then business unit manager roles. Brett Read: And both service companies. So a lot of customer focused work and, and then decided to have a go at working for myself. So, and that was 20, more than 25 years ago. And so for the [00:03:00] last 25 years, I've worked for myself and and with clients around the world, I've worked in. More than 20 countries around the world with clients, primarily in oil and gas and oil and gas projects. Brett Read: Some work with other resources, companies, mining, but primarily oil and gas. So that's been my focus for the last 20 years and increasingly. I've I've now changed my business model where my focus is on coaching and coaching with everything from frontline leaders, right through to executive teams. Brett Read: And we coach in the area of leadership practices that create sustainable high performance. Tom: Okay. Tom: In your opinion, do you think safety performance within organizations Is most impacted by leadership practices and the leaders themselves? Brett Read: Yeah, it's a great question, Tom. I'm in no doubt about that. And it's not just my opinion. I was [00:04:00] really fortunate. Part of my journey was I, I joined the team at AIM and UWA. Brett Read: They had a joint venture. Back in 2002 a joint venture that was called the Senior Management Center. So I came on board there. I was doing a lot of leadership work in the area of high performance teams at the time, and I headed up their faculty area for leadership practices that create high performance within teams. Brett Read: And through that, I met Dr. Keith Owen, who was, he was working at RMIT, but he was Based out of Texas, the University of Texas and in their area of, of leadership and psychology, but RMIT was running a master's degree in change management based on his, his work, and he'd written a number of, of texts and his work in change management. Brett Read: So I met Dr. Keith Owen and got invited to join a research project that they were doing in the U. S. with Chevron. And a [00:05:00] couple of other companies as well. But that looked at, that research project looked at what are the leadership practices that create high performance within our teams? And it was a three year study. Brett Read: And what we found out of that was that 70%, at least two thirds and typically 70 percent or more of the team performance was driven by leadership practices. Not by the technical and the systemic things that the organization created. So to put it in, in simple terms, the average performing teams, teams that were averaged did exactly the same things and had exactly the same processes as the top quartile teams. Brett Read: The difference between the two was the quality of the leadership practices and what that did in terms of the alignment and engagement of the individual team members. Tom: So Brett Read: creating, creating those relationships is, is fundamental to [00:06:00] performance. And, and I saw that in my special forces career as a leader in special forces, it wasn't the technology and the kit we were working with. Brett Read: It was a leadership practices. And, and leaders stepping up individual team members being totally responsible for themselves and their performance that created the outcomes created that high performance. Tom: Yeah, yeah. High performance in large organizations. When we talk about the leadership there. and the influence they can have over frontline staff. Tom: Is that, are we talking about leadership from the very top, or are we talking more at the supervisor or immediate manager level? Brett Read: Yeah, the, again, our research and research in general is pretty clear on that, that it's the frontline leaders that create the performance. You know, they're the ones that that [00:07:00] drive the results for their customers. But if they're not empowered, if they're not given a situation, if the senior leaders don't do their jobs correctly and create the environment where those frontline, Supervisors and frontline leaders can perform, then no matter how much they are committed, no matter how good they are they're always fighting a losing battle. Brett Read: So it has to be, it's driven from the top the, the. Most senior leaders need to do the things that are expected of them or required. But then they need to continually build relationships and earn the trust of their frontline people that their frontline leaders and team members will tell them whether things are truly working at the coalface or not. Brett Read: The things that they've set up, the systems they've put in place, the targets for performance. And [00:08:00] production whether those things are achievable and, and if the frontline workers understand and have a, have clarity around, how am I going to create the performance that, that you want? I think Boeing is a classic example. Brett Read: Boeing is so much in the media at the moment, and there's so much information within the media and on YouTube. If you just have a look at the. Google, Boeing and the concerns there, you know, unrealistic production targets, especially with the 737 max production that their workers had just no way of you know, they were, they were just concerned that they were not able to meet. Brett Read: The production targets, but they were just being continually pushed to, well, that's your job. That's what you have to do. They're the, they're the targets we've set for you. So yeah, leaders who, who think that they can do that by something to desk and making demands versus inspiring [00:09:00] people to, to achieve one of the fundamental leadership principle that I talk to my clients about is that this, this, Fundamentally, only two ways to motivate people, Tom: you Brett Read: can inspire them, or you can coerce and manipulate and threaten them. Brett Read: And so many senior leaders tend to opt for the latter. You know, they don't understand how to truly inspire and motivate people. So they set targets and, and they offer them the carrot and the stick, you know, they offer them the carrots bonuses to achieve those things. But fundamentally the guys at the front line say, I don't know how we're going to achieve this, but I'm going to, I'm going to do whatever I need to do to get, you know, I'll get that production bonus by. Brett Read: Manipulating the figures or doing whatever I need to, to make sure that I get the, get the bonus and, and stack [00:10:00] right throughout, right throughout the organization. Everyone's focused on those bonuses. And and one way or another, if you, if you incentivize people. Heavily enough to get a, to get a target one or another, they'll achieve that target. Brett Read: I think we've probably all seen, we've all seen that with you know, zero incident targets where things don't get reported and therefore we, you know, everyone gets their bonus, but everyone knows that there was things that happened that no one's going to talk about. Tom: Yeah. Brett Read: Yeah. Tom: Building trust, building trust with your workforce. Tom: How do you do it? Brett Read: Yeah. We Well, one of the fundamental things that we talk with clients about is, is I often ask that question that do you build trust or do you earn trust? And so many leaders approach it with the mindset that, well, I'm just going to set [00:11:00] out to build trust with my, with my workforce. And they fundamentally don't understand that trust is not something that they control. Brett Read: Trust is something that is given by the other person in the relationship. Do I trust you or don't I trust you? That's a, that's a question that I answer for myself. And so the other party in that relationship, whoever I'm interacting with, I'm looking at their behaviors and what are they doing to earn my trust. Brett Read: And, you know, they, if they think that they're in control of that situation and they're, and they're trying to manipulate things to, to build trust with me, they come across as being, as not being authentic. And, and most people's radars go up. They, they perceive that. So we have a pretty simple formula that we [00:12:00] use that there's a few different versions of it. Brett Read: We've adopted it. We didn't create it, but Comes from, there's a couple of different sources of it. One, one is a book called The Trusted Advisor, and it's a trust formula, which is basically three elements divided by a fourth. So the three elements are credibility, so to earn trust, you need to be credible. Brett Read: Need to be reliable. Reliability is do you do what you say you're going to do? And when you tell me that I can speak up and I can be open and I can be honest can I trust that? Are you, are you reliable in that? And, and the, the third point is authenticity or intimacy. Can we truly are you authentic and can we have conversations about how things that really are, or you get to a point where you go, I don't want to hear this is all. Brett Read: And so not authentic not and no level [00:13:00] of, you know, a limit to how much intimacy is, is allowed or tolerable. So if you can get those three areas right of being credible being reliable and being authentic. That's, they're the foundations, but that all gets divided by self orientation. And unfortunately we see this with too many leaders that they are not willing to put their team members first, they put themselves first and that. Brett Read: That is just a destroyer of trust. The moment you, you realize that the guy you're working for male or female, the guy you're working for will throw you under the bus the moment things get heated or the moment they feel that they're going to be disadvantaged in some way, they'll throw you under the bus. Brett Read: Then trust goes out the window. Tom: Yeah. Yeah. It's hard to imagine a Maybe a bigger breach in trust when people do speak up. I don't know, even people who whistleblow [00:14:00] and there are negative consequences to it. Not, not necessarily talking about any company in the news lately. I was thinking even back to Dr. Tom: Patel days in with Queensland Health and what happened to the whistleblowers there. I also know there was a whistleblower who made some startling allegations about education in, I don't know, Halls Creek in WA and something similar happened to them. Is there any worse thing than actually, or breaching trust in so far as when people raise issues Brett Read: I don't think there is, Tom. I think in, I mean, we, we just know, don't we, that within our own circle of relationships. So we like to talk about or what we've recognized is that leadership is a process and leaders create processes. [00:15:00] Relationships and out of those relationships, they can increasingly raise the bar in terms of the level of achievement that people aspire to. Brett Read: And so, but those relationships they start the foundation of those is trust. And if leaders are not able to earn that trust and to maintain that trust of their people, then performance never gets off the ground. It's at that basement level. And the difference between organizations that we've worked with and, and, you know, we'll, we will come in with a client where they're performing. Brett Read: They recognize they need to change something, but they're still performing at a, at a Reasonable level and above average level. And if their leaders will be authentic and are able to earn that trust, performance just goes through the ceiling, you know, it just and that's simply because they just, it's a bit like giving a horse its head, you know, you, you earn that, that trust of the horse [00:16:00] and I, I grew up riding horses and, and I've had, you know, quite a bit of, not recently, but, you know, quite a background in that. Brett Read: And, you know, when you earn the trust of a horse and you can give it its head, it's amazing what it will do. And people are the same. Teams are the same. You have to earn that trust. And then the performance just happens. And, and as a leader, you just have to inspire them. You don't have to drive them and direct them. Brett Read: And I saw that. So one of the fortunate things I got to do was in my time as special forces, I was involved in coming back as staff on the selection course. And then I'd left the army. In the early nineties, but then I got invited to go back and I worked for a period of about five or six years as part of the army reserve component within the SS regiment. Brett Read: They have people who have skills that they want to retain they have a cadre of people that come in when [00:17:00] selection courses are on or work on different projects. So I did a range of that over five or six years, so I did a number of selection courses as staff and got to see a lot of officers trying for selection for special forces and the guys who didn't make it were the ones who thought that they had to come up with the answers themselves. Brett Read: And they had to be, you know, be super, super performers who had to have all the answers and everything was, you know, they would drive things and control things as opposed to the best performers are the ones who are able to get the team to come up with the results and team to come up with the answers and they just facilitate that. Brett Read: And that's where we've gone with our coaching these days. It's how do you coach leaders to do that? Tom: All right. Now, just changing tack a little bit, you're the co author of Safety Performance Reimagined, a 4D approach to organizational performance. Now, [00:18:00] in that book, I've seen you've got this lovely diagram, which basically talks about six factors. At the bottom of the lovely, table. It's a fairly strong base based in trust. Tom: First of all, in a few minutes, can you just tell us a little bit about the six factors, but is everything else built above trust? unachievable if you haven't built that solid base of trust first? Brett Read: Yeah, it's a, it's an interesting question, isn't it? Because I fundamentally see it as the difference in this two competing leadership styles and, and you can align it with conventional safety, traditional safety, and, you know, the new view of safety. I don't refer to it as a new view because It's something that myself and clients that I've worked with [00:19:00] in over the last 25 years have always done. Brett Read: You know, it's leadership driven safety performance and that leadership is based in trust. And the two competing views in safety, the conventional approach is compliance focused. And they, they just think that if they can come up with all the rules and controls and then they're able to supervise people closely enough and have enough checks and measures of people's actions and behaviors, behavioral based safety, then as long as people comply with the rules and the systems, then they'll create the level of safety performance, which they typically describe as zero. Brett Read: Target of zero, and I'm not a fan of zero safety, zero targets because the world is too. I've learned from my time. The world's too chaotic to predict everything that could possibly [00:20:00] happen. So but they, you know, they subscribe to zero and they subscribe to a compliance driven approach. We, what I've recognized through my time in high performance and especially special forces is. Brett Read: It wasn't, the focus was never on compliance with the rules. The focus was commit, to a commitment to a standard, commitment to building the capacities to do, to, to do the things that were needed to be done to perform at the level that was needed. So it's, it's a fundamental, fundamentally different approach and a fundamentally different philosophy, that philosophy of compliance. Brett Read: And control versus commitment to yeah, there needs to be controls in there that needs to be systems and processes put in place. But then it's a commitment to resilience and the adaptability to, to respond to what's happening in the environment that we're working with such that people can can [00:21:00] maneuver as they need to to respond. Brett Read: Continue to create that performance. Everyone's agreed on the performance standard that's required. What they don't know when they set out at any given day is what's going to happen in this day. What are the, what's the environment or the you know, the, the chaotic. Aspects of our environment, what's it going to throw at us that we need to adapt to today and how do we do that within our team and it's leadership and self leadership at every individual team member level that creates that and they're the things we focus on and you know when we do that with clients performance just goes, increases incredibly. Brett Read: Yeah, Tom: for those who haven't had the pleasure of reading the book yet, can you tell us a little bit about the six factors? Brett Read: Yeah. So the, as you said Tom, it starts with trust. We, we very much recognize that if you can't create that [00:22:00] level of trust and, and a fundamental focus on, on that is leaders need to be able to earn trust. Brett Read: Not build it. You know, so building, building trust leaders, leaders who do that think that they're controlling that where trust is earned. It's, it's given by the individuals, team members. Do I trust this person or not? And if they answer yes to that and make that call, then they will engage in the second factor, which is a level of dialogue and a level of openness and intimacy that is not usual in, in In a lot of teams where they're, they're highly structural and they, people don't know the limit or, you know, they're uncertain in terms of how much can I share and, and it not be detrimental to me. Brett Read: And I think Boeing is a. That's in the media. Now is a classic example. If you just Google the whistleblowers within Boeing and and the difficulty that [00:23:00] they have had the people that have spoken up within Boeing, it's clearly not a safe environment for people to do that. And, and individuals suffer. So that's a second tier of, of if people feel that they, they can trust the organization and trust their leaders, then they'll have a level of dialogue that the outcome of that is shared meaning when you get, so you create leaders create that shared meaning, which leads to the third factor that they can create a common purpose. Brett Read: We're all here for this, or we all have a common purpose for the workers, it's. I want to do a job that I care about, that I enjoy, and I have job security. You know, I'm working for a company that's performing well, and we, we outperform our competition so that we know that our jobs are secure. And for the senior managers in the organization, it's, I'm continuing to build our [00:24:00] brand and, and create shareholder value if it's a listed company we're. Brett Read: We're attracting, we have a good share price and we're attracting investors in the company driving our share price at a higher and higher level. So that gives that overall organizational performance and security. So they're the, we call those the relationship based that performance is built on those three factors. Brett Read: When you create that, then you can start to set. Achievement. Oriented goals around what are we committing to? So you can set stretch targets, but people have in their mind, they understand how they might achieve that stretch target. It's not a guarantee, but they can see how it's possible. So you can inspire and influence people as a leader to go after that stretch target. Brett Read: You don't just do it. hand it down from on high and, you know, hold the hammer over their head, the threat of not achieving that you inspire [00:25:00] them to go for that stretch target. That's the fourth factor, which is part of the achievement orientation. And when you get people committed to that, people readily will step up and say, I'll choose to be responsible for that. Brett Read: We're all committed to our role in the company and what we need to do. And I'll commit to being responsible for what, for my role. And you can hold me accountable for that. That's the fifth factor, responsibility and accountability. And when you get those things working, the sixth factor is sustainable performance. Brett Read: And it just flows. So that's a simple process that we've worked with now for 20 years. And and you know, we've worked in companies, we worked with an oil and gas company that my client acquired this company. It was a national oil company in Europe had 65, 000 employees. And In the year that they [00:26:00] acquired it, they had 14 fatalities in that one national oil company. Brett Read: And our challenge that we, so our client engaged my company to work with them to change the culture within that national oil company. I've written about it in the book. It took five years. To actually change that culture, but they went from having 14 fatalities and in the five years before the merger, they had between 10 and 15 fatality fatalities every year within that one company, and they, they just accepted the way they described it is, hey, this is the oil and gas industry. Brett Read: It's, it's a dangerous industry. People die. And we didn't talk about zero. We didn't focus on the outcome as such. We simply talk to people about their values and families and what they and how bad they felt when colleagues [00:27:00] died. Lost their lives or people were seriously injured, but in in the fifth year, they had their first year without a fatality in that company. Brett Read: And the culture is fundamentally changed. And it's it's still performing that way. Now, they've just gone from strength to strength. But that was simply working through those six factors and. you know, a sustainable cultural change. And we've done that. That's been my journey over the last 20 years. I just get to do that with companies now and, and love doing it because we, and increasingly we're working with companies, we're working with an aviation company at the moment. Brett Read: There's an offshore helicopter company and they're just performing at an incredible level. And you know, so reliable, such great levels of engagement with their frontline crews. But what we talk to the senior leaders about there is The only people in that company that, that keep, [00:28:00] you know, that, that create the revenue basically are the pilots flying the aircraft and the engineers that are maintaining them and keeping them in the air. Brett Read: Everyone else is in service of those people. And, you know, the term servant leadership is thrown around. We don't tend to use that term, but it's that concept of the senior executive, the senior leadership team, recognize that their job is to Put everything in place and this is in, in our book, we talk about the four dimensional performance and the first three dimensions that are all the systems and processes and the, the targets, the, the resources, the budgets, all the things that the executive in the company need to get right. Brett Read: Such that people can perform so they're objective things, and that's it's appropriate to talk about them as being binary and linear. They're right or wrong. You have enough resources. The budget is adequate [00:29:00] or it's not adequate. To perform. And yeah, there's wriggle room in there, but it's it's pretty clear. Brett Read: Whereas when you start talking about the fourth dimension, leadership, people and culture, we don't talk about right or wrong. We talk about are those things being done well or not being done well. Because they're subjective, and they're very different in how we measure them. We tend to measure them through our perception, and our perception influences how we feel about things and how motivated we are. Brett Read: So we, we work with the executive to say, are you in tune with how your frontline people, the engineers and the pilots flying the aircraft? Are you in tune with how they feel about all the things that you've done to set up an environment where they can perform as the client needs them to? When you go to the field, do you stand up and do a town hall and speak at them and tell them all the latest news from [00:30:00] the company? Brett Read: Or do you get out and just walk around and you're going, you're talking to the frontline guys saying, how's it working for you? This latest system we've implemented, was it rolled out adequately? Are you getting what you need through the system? Is it performing for you? Because systems should be designed to support people in their roles, support them doing what they're doing, not being there to control people. Brett Read: And I, I see this with people. Government organisations so often. They put systems in place. What do those systems do? They control what their workers are able to do. Yeah. They've got forces to comply with that system and in that process. Tom: I talk to a lot, awful lot of frontline supervisors, literally week upon week in my role at the moment. And I've, Maybe had a bit of experience with supervisors over the years. A lot of frontline [00:31:00] supervisors that I've seen have either come from the floor or come from the crew and they've been put in a leadership position for a few reasons. Tom: It might have been they were the gun operator. It might be that they're personable. It might be a number of different reasons. Might be because no one else wants the job. But overwhelmingly most Organizations I've seen have given very little consideration to coach or train the person coming into that role. Tom: On how to, I don't know, how to manage people is that what do you find as Brett Read: well? Yeah, how to manage and how to lead. What are the leadership practices that make a difference? Out of that research that I mentioned before that we did with, that I was able to do with Dr Keith Owen and the team in the U. [00:32:00] S. Brett Read: We started out by asking what are the leadership practices that drive performance? We used a statistical process, multiple regression analysis to whittle down the the leadership factors to a set of of under 20. If you were just measuring performance, it was a set of 14 factors. But when we added safety performance in there, it was 20 factors that were highly correlated with the best performing teams. Brett Read: So these, this set of 20 leadership practices were common to the high, high performing teams, and we're able to separate those out to six of them were relationship based factors. Things like treats me fairly make sure that I understand my role. And I understand how I can do it. So my relationship to the job, my relationship to my peers, how I [00:33:00] feel that whole sense of psychological safety within the team factors like that with six, six relationship factors. Brett Read: And then there was 14 achievement factors. So but most organizations don't Set people up well to perform with that within those. We found that when we trained leaders and coached them was an ideal way to do that. When you coach leaders, not simply putting everyone through a sheep dip where you train everyone for five days or whatever, because some of the leaders were naturally good at that. Brett Read: And the process we were using was upward feedback from the, the customers of that supervisor's leadership. I hear their team members. We asked their team members how well do they do these 20 things and the guys that weren't doing it very well, we coached them, we developed them. Some of them couldn't make it. Brett Read: Some of them just couldn't get it because, you know, they were, [00:34:00] well, there's a whole range of reasons, but in a lot of cases it's just because they haven't had the background and the understanding, you know, they, they grew, they've grown up in an environment where being open and honest and being fair with people was, was not the norm. Brett Read: And they struggled to do that. And they struggled to confide in people and they struggled to share their, to be authentic. Thank you. But for the people that could be authentic and lead at that level, once they understood what was required, they, they, it, it just moved forward in leaps and bounds. And and team members in that environment, in the, in the right, with the right culture, as you build that, team members are very forgiving when, when a boss is. Brett Read: Genuinely trying and doesn't quite get it right, you know, they, they will, they will support them. So, yeah, but so what, what we've actually done with that and, and I'm [00:35:00] just about to move forward, pull the trigger on this now, Rod Ritchie, who is co author of my book and, and our book and, and you know, he and I now we work together, we work with clients at that executive level and down. Brett Read: And but he and I have partnered with the Australian Institute of Professional Coaches and developed a coaching course on four dimensional performance. So the leadership practices that create performance and both at the frontline level and at the executive level. So there's two different levels of courses. Brett Read: We're just rolling those out now setting that up, but we, we've certainly. We believe that's the future of where we need to go instead of sheep dipping people through training programs that everyone gets the same level of, of training, we identify the people that, that are doing well and support them and encourage them to keep going. Brett Read: And the ones that need help, we coach and develop them in their skill sets so that they perform better. And [00:36:00] I love that saying that a rising tide lifts all ships. And it's true in terms of leadership practices in the organization, you get that increasing level of leadership practices, and it just creates a performance culture that that is unbeatable. Tom: Yeah, I can understand that completely. Tom: Having a core group of leaders that understand and get things, is it a concern that There might be a change in senior leadership at the top of an organization and that everything you've built. Might be unbuilt. Brett Read: Yeah. And you, your experience there, Tom is showing through, isn't it? Because it's, it's so true that you know, you do the hard work, you, you organizations, you know, and the people that, you know, The [00:37:00] middle level and departmental level and frontline level in the organization will do that work and they'll, they'll get that level of performance happening and you get a change at the top, someone comes in who doesn't understand it and and can't, can't even really see what is happening. Brett Read: They can't navigate in that, in that space because they don't understand it. They come in and they'll make changes and, and undo it. I I, as I said, I've, I've been involved in quite a lot of leadership evaluation and selection. And some of the people are incredibly clever, you know, and, and they're incredibly well trained. Brett Read: I like to there's an expression that I use that they've, they've got more degrees than a thermometer, but in the world of navigating organizational performance, that they get lost in a revolving door and starve to death. Tom: I think I know one of them. Brett Read: They just don't get it, you know, they, they, they've got [00:38:00] MBAs, they've got doctorates, you know, and, and they are so focused on the objective management. Brett Read: What we call the first three dimensions of performance. So they can set production targets and, and scheduling. They come up with budgets and resources for it. Often they're, they're incredibly tight. And, and very difficult to work within and systems and processes that don't work and if you, there's a, just last month, February, the FAA in Federal Aviation Authority in the U. Brett Read: S. released an expert panel report on Boeing. Which describes all the failures in each of those three areas. And, you know, it's, it's a concern for me that the, I don't think we've seen the worst of the failures within Boeing yet. You know, this has been going [00:39:00] on for five odd years. It's, it's so similar to what happened with BP. Brett Read: Through the period of 2005 to 2010 with Texas City and Macondo, Boeing has had numerous incidents, including the two 737 crashes, and they're not learning. They're not changing. They're continuing to double down on their approach with everything. And it's, it's a real concern until unless they change. I think we're going to see More disasters come out of, out of Boeing, which is such a shame because there's such a, a storied and, and amazing company in the past as BP was interesting that bp, after 2010 11, Bob Dudley came in as CEO and he transformed that culture. Brett Read: And, and Boeing and BP has not had a, a major accident event where they had multiple before that. You know, they had Texas City, Macondo, they had the Spills [00:40:00] in Alaska, they had the Thunderhorse rig that almost, that almost capsized and sunk they luckily, luckily were able to save it. They had a series of major accident events and have turned that around. Brett Read: So, and that was through leadership. It wasn't through changing, drastically changing the employees in the company, it was through senior leadership and Boeing has, has got the same issue happening at the top now and, and that's what the FAA has focused on, has identified. But is Boeing listening? The jury's still out on that. Tom: I'll take you back. You talked about something that I certainly agree with and maybe quite strongly agree with about incentivizing safety goals, et cetera, et cetera, and perhaps how they are counterproductive to say the least. However, when we think [00:41:00] about those incentivizing for safety goals, usually most people think about it for frontline supervisors or the workers down in the coal face. Tom: frontline, et cetera, et cetera, Tom: short term CEOs, people at the very top of organizations who have only a few years in those positions and get paid bonuses. Based on share price, isn't that just the ultimate form of incentivizing, I don't know, non reporting? Brett Read: Yeah, it's such a concern to me that when you see companies that do that, and again, Boeing is a classic example of that. Brett Read: You look at Colin is the current CEO of Boeing you know, a salary of 1. 4 million, but bonuses that are worth in excess of 20 million, and those bonuses are all focused his, [00:42:00] you know, over the last few years have been focused on production and, and production that's driving the share price. Brett Read: So quality concerns, safety concerns scheduling concerns work of burnout cultural problems as a result of that, where people just feel that they can't get Keep up with the level of work expected of them, you know, long shifts, a lot of reworking because they've got problems and managers you know, departmental managers that raise those concerns that are just ignored. Brett Read: So systemic problems within the company, but none of those things really carry any, any weight because, you know, the, when you got 20 million riding on, on just in annual bonuses riding on production if you remunerate people that way, what are they going to focus on? Tom: Obviously, are they gonna Brett Read: give, [00:43:00] are they gonna give up $20 million to make sure that the, to listen to the concerns of their workers and make sure that things are, are working well, but they're not achieving the unrealistic targets that have been set for them? Tom: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting you talked about BP and Macondo. Texas City. If anyone has done any reading about it, you'll find the odd and interesting fact that on the day of significant incidents, the main incidents different parts of the organization at those sites was in fact celebrating their safety record. Tom: The success and safety record and then on exactly the same day, they've had the major incidents, which have resulted in fatalities. Again, you have to ask yourself, have we been incentivizing, in fact, non reporting and poor [00:44:00] practice rather than I don't know. Getting the basic building blocks of safety in place, building that trust and rapport so people can report, put their hand up and report things that aren't just right, and maybe getting them fixed before people perish. Brett Read: Yeah, it's, it's such a concern that Organizations and, and academia as well, you know, I've worked in as I said, I worked with the Senior Management Center, which is a joint venture between Australian Institute of Management and UWA, University of West Australia. So I've worked in that area and and, you know, seen a lot of, of what's offered through MBAs and. Brett Read: PhDs in academia, they don't do a good job of setting up senior leaders to truly drive sustainable performance. Yeah, they, they focus on the short term incentives, bonus schemes, and they fundamentally focus on the wrong measures of [00:45:00] performance. And it's no wonder that then companies struggle in that area. Brett Read: And you know, I, so part of my history was in the time that I was in, in the 90s working with with the SAS On projects in June of 1996, we had a major accident event where two Black Hawk helicopters working on a counter terrorist exercise up in Townsville in North far North Queensland. Brett Read: Two Black Hawk helicopters collided on a night time training mission and 18 soldiers died. Three aviators and, and 15 SAS soldiers and the captain who's a troop commander one of the troops and it was just, well, it was so sad that that happened on a Monday, Tuesday on that night. But the Friday night before that we were in, we were, he was in Perth, Tim Stevens, and he was a captain in one squadron eight years earlier. Brett Read: I've been [00:46:00] troop commander of a troop one squadron, and he was troop commander of a troop one squadron, and we're talking about the how just the fun and the challenge of working in that environment where you have, you're just doing super interesting things and working with super motivated people who, who you can, well, they challenge themselves to rise to whatever level of performance is, is they think is possible. Brett Read: And And three days later, four days later, he's dead and along with 14 of the other special forces operators. And, and the, the shame about that was 10 weeks before that incident happened, it was reported on, it was invest, you know, the, the, there was an investigation into the systemic problems within the aviation regiment. Brett Read: Because the S. A. S. were just, they were passengers on those helicopters and the problems were to do with the [00:47:00] aviation the way they were managing, mismanaging the aircraft, the Black Hawk maintenance and reliability such as the pilots. Could not get the level of training that they needed. So that was investigated, reported on a recommendation sent to the chief of the army and went up to the chief of the defense force with a recommendation that that level of activity not be done not be undertaken because the pilots were an air crew were not. Brett Read: Adequately trained to do that, that demanding level of flying, not operation on night vision goggles with the, with the special forces and it was ignored. Yeah. Yep. And it cost 18 soldiers their lives and numerous other people. There was 20 SAS guys on those two helicopters. The other five guys could not go back to their normal duties. Brett Read: One of them was in a wheelchair. The others were all so injured and broken that they, they could [00:48:00] no longer perform the job they were doing. Some discharged, some stayed in, but went into different roles. But, you know, just so, so predictable. And Macondo was exactly the same. They'd been raising concerns for, for months with, within BP and TransOcean, but there was four vice presidents out there on the rig that day, two from BP, two from TransOcean. Brett Read: They weren't involved in talking to the frontline guys about their concerns. They were off pursuing their own little hobby horses. One was checking non slip tires. Treads on on stairs stairs. That was a memo sent out that these have to be retrofitted to all stairs And the other one was checking the compliance dates on lifting slings in in in lockers you know the the lifting gear lockers vice president's going and doing their own little mini audits of Compliance [00:49:00] as opposed to hey guys Are you truly committed to that? Brett Read: Are we giving you the right standards and targets and, you know, giving you the resources you need? And what do you, you know, are you committed to achieving those? Do you see how it's possible? Because they were telling them it wasn't. Tom: Yeah, Brett Read: but they didn't want to hear that because there was no level of intimacy and they weren't, the leaders were not authentic. Brett Read: That the third level of trust. So when, when you break these things down, it's not that hard to understand the systemic problems that cause these major accident events. But how many, how many companies truly train on those areas? And and what I, what I can say is we've had a lot of success with our book, we've had a lot of people that are saying we're implementing the things you're talking about within the book, you and Rob, and and ours is just one of many, there's, you know, many other books out there [00:50:00] in that, or a number of other really good books written by Clyde Lloyd Rosa Carrillo, Sidney Decker, Todd Conklin, you know, if people just read those books and implement those concepts, then, you know, safety is not that safe. Brett Read: Sustainable safety performance is not that difficult to achieve, but it does require a shift from that compliance focused Conventional safety to leadership driven, commit committed approach to safety. Tom: All right, Brett, we're getting close to time, so. I'm just going to give you three quick questions. Tom: Three quick questions. First one. Every resource company I've had the pleasure of working with has this wonderful thing in their policies and procedures. It's called chain of command. Now, [00:51:00] coming from a military background, you understand chain of command and its importance in life and death situations. Tom: Does chain of command have a place? in everyday operations for regular businesses? Brett Read: I believe it does, Tom, but it, it's subtle in that if you have a, a well designed organization with, with job levels well mapped out, And again, come back to Boeing, one of the, the, the findings of the panel from last month with Boeing, the expert panel was that people did not understand the safety, they don't understand their role within the safety management system. Brett Read: That's one of the findings and a recommendation to address that. So, and that's, so we see that. So it plays out all the time with organizations that are not performing. [00:52:00] People don't understand their role. And therefore, if you, it's impossible to commit to something that you don't understand. So there's no level of commitment to people doing what's expected of them at that level of their level. Brett Read: If you address those things. Then it's I don't think of it so much as being a chain of command. It's simply a chain of responsibility. Everyone chooses to be responsible for their performance at their level in the organization. And that was a fundamental difference between the regular army, which is based on conventional. Brett Read: It's interesting that You can draw real parallels between regular army and conventional forces best versus special forces and safe and conventional safety safety one and safety to that safety one conventional safety is focused on avoiding things going wrong. So they put a lot of controls in place to ensure that things don't go wrong. Brett Read: And regular [00:53:00] army and chain of command is very much in that focus is historically is focused in that area and they're doing, it's moved on a lot since my time in, in the army and they're getting a lot, a lot better in that area. But but that's typically where it's come from and the focus versus special forces. Brett Read: It was always about rank didn't rank didn't matter. As much as your role and, you know, at different times that when, when I was a troop commander, we had guys that were, you know, snipers explosive experts, photography, communications. medical and depending on what you're doing and then roping, repelling mountain climbing, depending on the task, you would be handing over to the expert within your team to come up with the plan. Brett Read: And to design the approach, and it was a collective approach, but, [00:54:00] but everybody, people would step up at different times and perform their specialist function. So, it wasn't very hierarchical it was about your skill set and your expertise within that team, and the best teams that I see perform that way it's not, it's not a hierarchy. Tom: All right. Another quick one. You talked about the rising tide right takes everyone with them. Does poor leadership practices flow downhill? Brett Read: When, when we were doing that research on the leadership practices that drive high performance, it was really interesting that while we didn't specifically measure it and ask, we weren't asking questions about about the poor leadership practices. Anecdotally, it came out very clearly with the worst performing teams when we interviewed members of the worst performing teams when we used a balanced scorecard approach to rank all the teams. Brett Read: And the [00:55:00] bottom quartile teams, the leadership practices that were common in those teams were Extremely hierarchical leaders didn't communicate openly and honestly they were very selective as to who they communicated information to. So information was seen as power with those worst performing leaders and they would share some information, the correct information with the people that they wanted it to go to, and they would selectively feed misinformation to other people. Brett Read: So actively working against creating a shared meaning and common purpose. So information was power retribution and retaliation, a lack of just culture. All of those things were rife. Lack of psychological safety. So, yeah, absolutely. Poor leadership is at the very foundation of poor performance is, is what we saw. Brett Read: They had the same access to resources and the equipment and the [00:56:00] systems and processes. It was leadership that was driving that poor performance. Very Tom: good. Brett Read: Very Tom: good. Brett Read: All right. Tom: One last question I have now I'm not going to talk about any company in particular or any organization in particular, but just before we go and wind up I just want to very briefly revisit this bit about whistleblowers. Tom: Have you ever seen or read the book that's associated with the the film that came out after it The Firm by John Grisham? Brett Read: No, I haven't read the book. So I, there was a movie made as well, wasn't there? That's right. Tom Cruise was in it. Yeah, Tom Cruise. So I've seen the movie, haven't read the book. Tom: Okay. Let's just say, There might be some interesting parallels that go on from what we've seen recently. All right, I'm going to leave you with that, Brett. Brett Read: I just have to, I'm motivated, Tom. I'll [00:57:00] have to go and read the book because it's, yeah, I remember the movie and it was powerful. So, yeah, yeah, I'll read it. Brett Read: Thank you. Tom: All right, Brett Reid, it's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you, as it is always. And I look forward to speaking to you again soon. Brett Read: Thanks, Tom. Yeah, it's been a pleasure from my side and I always enjoy sharing my story and some of the things we've learned and what we're doing, so I hope people get value out of it.

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