The Secret of Change and How to Build the New | Your Safety Department

Everyone says change is hard. Maybe that is why we have so many people who have addictions that are so hard to stop. Many companies have difficult times in changing processes, procedures and people for that matter. But if we ever want to get more out of life we have to give up the bad behaviors that are holding us back, the bad processes that are slowing us down, and maybe the misaligned people that are creating havoc in our lives and identify what we really want.

Leading Change

Every New Year people make resolutions to change some form of their behavior and usually by the 15th or 20th of the month those resolutions are out the window and the old behaviors creep back in. What is it that causes these short-lived resolutions to fail? Is it commitment? Is it that we didn't realize just what we were giving up? Is it a lack of willpower?

Changing bad behaviors is hard to do especially when we have become used to them over many, many years and hold on to them like old friends. Discarding bad behaviors is often difficult because we don't see the benefits of discarding bad behaviors immediately. And we are all about immediate gratification right?

CASE STUDY: Having smoked cigars for many years and making excuses about how I could quit at any time I realized that I had to get serious about quitting if I would ever see my grand-kids grow up. I tried to quit 4 or 5 times usually going about a week to two weeks before I broke down and smoked another stogie for some excuse or another. Here I am, an HSE Leader, constantly reminding myself that the H stands for Health and I was having a problem with quitting smoking. I knew it was bad for me, everyone knows it is bad for them, but quitting? Really? It's tough. Tougher than those who don't smoke can imagine.

Something happened though - maybe it was mental but, the cigars started tasting bad, it seemed that many of them were poorly wrapped, I was spending too much money on them and not getting anything back in return and my dissatisfaction with smoking finally reached a new level. I put them down, threw them out and quit cold turkey. The first few weeks were the hardest but, after racking up a month I looked forward to going for 2 months, then 6 months and now it has been 19 months. I won't say I have really quit though until I reach 24 months since that is the threshold where most people cross who never return to smoking. The benefits are pretty impressive actually. I have been able to enjoy food more, much to my detriment. And at 56, I was actually able to starting running a little around the block.

Resistance at all cost is the most senseless act there is. -Friedrich Durrenmatt

Do you have a bad behavior that you know will hurt or kill you? Do you have a process or procedure in your company that you know could be improved to prevent someone from being hurt, or do you have someone in your organization that just doesn't get it and will cause harm to themselves or others if they don't change or if you don't change them?

Are you going to delay making the change you know you need to make? For what reason? If you know it needs to be done are you dragging your feet thinking it will get better by itself? Normally bad behaviors don't go away by themselves and they tend to nag at you for years even after you have quit them.

You can change your behaviors when you change your spirit, your thinking and your approach to life. The revitalization to the happiness generated in your life is the reward you get for dropping bad behaviors.

Now about my weight...

Chris Thuneman is an accomplished safety professional who shares lessons learned over a 30 year Oil, Gas and Chemical career to help others achieve a higher level of safety awareness in some of the most hazardous working environments. Please feel free to connect with him at:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or at 888-859-5653