Stop, Think and Learn

“Having recently re-joined Osborne after a brief (twelve year!) period out of civil engineering, I have regularly been asked, ‘what has changed?’  I have been very pleased to find that the core values and culture of the business have not changed at all.  Osborne still recognises that its main assets are its people; and believes that success is achieved by listening to customers, by being trusted to provide quality services, and by delivering better value without compromise to safety.

The one message that has been expanded during my absence is that the company’s vision should be achieved in a moral and sustainable manner.  Osborne celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 and fully expects to be around to celebrate its 100th.  In order to exist for the long term, the business must make a profit, but must do so with its employees, customers, suppliers, the general public and the environment at the heart of what it does. One part of the programme to achieve this aim is STOP Think!

Our industry has realised that legislation, process compliance and audit are not enough to prevent us causing harm.  Why?  Because the underlying behaviours that drive people to make bad decisions, cut corners and work unsafely or unsustainably are not addressed.  Osborne took on the initial challenge of driving its accident frequency rate to zero through a cultural change programme branded STOP Think!  Whilst this wasn’t unique to the industry, the way it has been implemented is.

Fast forward six years to this week.  As part of my (re)induction to Osborne I attended a STOP Think! Launch day presented by an Osborne time-served site manager.  With great enthusiasm and belief, his very unusual presentation is designed to persuade that if people think differently and make better decisions, they will stay safe and improve their performance.  One of the first key points in the session was that we all should be prepared to challenge others and be open to be challenge ourselves.

This made me think, how often do we miss an opportunity to learn from mistakes?  Whether learning a new skill, developing a product or just trying to get a critical decision right, we shouldn’t be afraid to face up to mistakes.  In fact, we should see failure as the very best way to learn. Rather than denying mistakes or blaming others, we need to interrogate errors as part of our future strategy for success.  To this end, I will be looking for opportunities to stop and think about what I might learn, both in my work and beyond.”

Matt Broxholme- Rail Director at Osborne