What if you could better guide your organisation on what’s most important, and be more confident about the results you can deliver? That’s what today’s guest is asking of all of us, assuming that’s the kind of professional we want to be. 

Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap.

Since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Welcome to you, you’re in the right place.  If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve! And of course welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.

My guest today is Professor Rob Briner, and he has had a bee in his bonnet about what people like us do, in part because of what people like Rob do.  He’ll explain more in a minute. 

Rob is Professor of Organisational Psychology at Queen Mary University of London and at Bjørknes University College Olso Nye Høyskole, Visiting Professor Birkbeck University of London, and Cofounder & Scientific Director Center for Evidence-Based Management. 

Rob’s been working at bridging the sometimes enormous chasm between the actual decisions and priorities and programs people like us bring into organisations, and the evidence based things that actually work to make things better inside organisations. 

That’s what he and his colleagues call evidence-based management.  

And as I quickly found out, this is not about finding the ‘right’ answer quicker, it’s about a mindset and a discipline of professional practice which I think is very well aimed at people like us. 

Here’s Rob:

This should make us give us a little laugh, thinking about things we have seen or been subjected to, and then we should start to feel a little uncomfortable about the kinds of things we have done/implemented/imposed under the banner of health and safety. 

With that in mind, I have a few gifts for you to help move you forward, which I’ll share after my takeaways. 

Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Prof Rob Briner:

Takeaway #1: I’m going to recap what Rob said about how Evidence Based Practice starts to sound like.  The first question to our stakeholders is “would you like to prioritise our focus on the really important things?”.  Next, “Would you like us to direct time attention and resources to things that are more likely to work and achieve the results we want?”.  That’s the beginning of Evidence Based Management supporting more informed decisions. 

Takeaway #2: Rob used the term ‘solutioneering’ to describe the opposite of Evidence Based Management.  The definition of this is insightful: solutioneering is attempting to solve a problem or deal with a difficult situation without first understanding it”.  If you want to start this dialogue with your team, why not ask them for their thoughts on whether your function attempts to solve problems or deal with difficult situations without first understanding it?”.  I think you will learn a lot. 

Takeaway #3: There are significant barriers and resistance to evidence based management, which you will discover in your organisation, in your team, and in your own mind.  We talked about a few just now, things like sunk-cost bias, the rush and rewards of action taking, and the need to accept that we may have gotten things wrong in the past.  For our colleagues, say in HR or operations, if they aren’t evidence based, they might create some misunderstandings about personality, waste time, and maybe affect service delivery or profitability in the organisation.  All important stuff, right? But for us, the difference between being evidence based, or solutioneering, is a matter of life and death, health and ill-health, wellness and harm. I think we have a far greater ethical obligation to work much harder on getting this right. 

Now for your gifts.  If you are listening you can search for these, or even easier head over to safetyontap.com/ep196 where I have hyperlinked everything for your ease. 

First up, you may have heard a thread in the previous Safety on Tap episode about what we stand in defence of.  Sound familiar? That’s at safetyontap.com/ep195

Episode 65 with Carsten Busch explores his book on the myths surrounding safety practice, which is a great resource to begin with, he’s saved you lots of time.  Have a listen at safetyontap.com/ep065

Ep184 with Rory Gallagher talks about how his organisation implement nudges, inspired by behavioural economics, to make broadscale change in lots of fields, using an evidence based and evidence-generating approach. 

Rob and his colleagues at the Centre for Evidence Based Management have awesome resources, such as the easy to read PDF on The Basics of Evidence Based Practice, link in the show notes at safetyontap.com/ep196

And finally Rob also mentioned the CIPD supported podcast series on Evidence Based Management.  This is very new, based on the full course they teach, and the content is really good.  Search for Evidence Based Management in your favourite podcast app, and check out the accompanying Book and other summaries that support the podcast.

WOAH! That was jam-packed. 

Thanks so much for listening.  Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way?

Before you go, keep listening for a few words about the work which makes this podcast free for you.  Seeya!

You’ve probably heard me talk about learning teams, and might be wondering what’s that all about. Learning teams are an increasingly popular practical activity to help your organisation to learn better, in order to improve performance.

It’s not an investigation, its not a risk assessment, and its not a committee meeting – but a learning team approach can help to learn from the past, to anticipate the future, and to engage effectively with people all over your organisation or supply chain.

There’s not one way to do learning teams but some critical principles which will enable you to facilitate better learning whatever your situation.

I’ve created a few short videos which explain What is a learning team? If you’re interested visit safetyontap.com/what

Here’s your FREE reflection worksheet from this episode.


Feel free to share this with your team/colleagues!