Flourishing Culture

It’s Culture Not Safety Culture

March 16, 2020

A few years ago, I traveled to an assisted living facility to meet with Edgar Schein, a pioneer in the field of organizational culture and leadership. I had contracted for two hours of his time to tap into his wisdom and get his feedback on the work I was doing in my consulting firm. I also wanted to test my theory about the current conversation about culture. I shared with him my perception that culture had morphed from his narrow definition about assumptions and beliefs driving behaviors into being about everything. He agreed with me and offered, “There is nowhere that this is more apparent than in the field of safety culture.”

This statement really resonated with me. My views about culture were shaped by the experiences I had as a consultant in the safety culture arena. When I started in the field 21 years ago, it was exciting to attend events and see lightbulbs go off over people’s heads. The notion of looking at “what goes on in between people’s ears” was groundbreaking and appeared to many to be an approach they had not tried. Working on culture was distinct from the other ways that safety was managed. It moved beyond policies, procedures, training and engineering fixes to looking at the people factor. It meant working at all levels of the organization and getting people to examine what they truly believed about safety and how work was done.

Safety culture was a novel concept when I started. It isn’t anymore. I remember we used to ask people to assess how much they knew about safety culture. In the late 90s, most people admitted they were novices. Now, most people suggest they are experts. And, their self-assessments reflect the many things they do to keep people safe, which they classify as “working on their safety culture.”


Seeing this trend, I decided to start this practice. I provide services in organizational culture and leadership weaving together the fields of organizational development and positive psychology. I believe people count and when you treat them like they count, you get the desired results.


The interesting thing is the industrial firms with which I worked are calling me. Despite their efforts to keep people safe, they have people issues: high levels of mistrust, poor communication, no engagement, lack of leadership and low morale. These inquiries gave me the insight that the concepts and tools I developed in my consulting practice can be applied in industrial settings.

What’s the Flourishing Culture approach? My practice focuses on culture not safety culture. I help organizations dive deep into what’s not working so people at all levels can flourishing and grow and make more informed choices.


So, let’s start planning for the summer! Give me a call to learn about my product offerings and how I can help. Given these turbulent times, it’s more important than ever to be focusing on your people!.




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