I recently played 9 holes with my golf coach. While practicing in front of a simulator to work on my golf swing is good, it’s even better to get on the course and have a playing lesson.

Eric didn’t coach me at all during the round; rather he simply asked me questions and took a lot of notes. He’d ask me to talk about my strategy for each shot, where I was aiming, and why I was choosing certain clubs to use in different situations.

At the conclusion, we walked off the course and he gave me his feedback.

While overall he had some good things to day, he didn’t hold back in giving me a less than flattering grade, “I’m giving you a D in one area – alignment.”

Eric explained that my feet were not aligned in the direction I said I was aiming, rather often well to the right of it. He said that it’s not uncommon for your eyes to trick you. His fix was to find an intermediate target that was in line with where I was aiming. I began doing that in my next opportunity. It felt a little odd, but it fixed my alignment issue.

Proper alignment is critical to hitting good golf shots. It’s also crucial to meeting your most important goals when it comes to protecting your profitability and reputation.

If you’re tasked with risk management to protect profitability and reputation, then you’ve probably set out goals to achieve. These can include improving workplace safety, quality control of products, cyber security, fire safety, shelter in place or evacuation procedures, and diversity training to name just a few.

However, if your actions aren’t aligned with your goals, then your results may be as off-course as many of my golf shots!

Setting goals to improve risk and safety management is important. What’s more important is having alignment. Let’s work on that using three simple golf principles…

First, make sure you know your target. Where are you aiming and why? This starts with creating metrics and accountability.

For example. I’ve got clients who want to reduce slip and fall hazards in the workplace. That’s great, but what are the steps – in order – to do that? Someone must be held accountable and responsible to creating a plan, setting timelines, and identifying what success looks like. Finally, there must be a plan in place to make sure the exposure is limited moving forward.

Second, set intermediary targets. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with a goal. Many goals will require a lot of work and time to complete. There could be a requirement of resources and finances. When goals like this become massive from a time and effort standpoint, it can become onerous. I recommend setting smaller time and accomplishment metrics.

What can be accomplished in 30 days? 90 days? By setting metrics in front of a longer commitment that might span a year, the activity becomes more focused. It remains in alignment with the ultimate target.

Third, commit to the swing even if it feels weird. I mentioned that my target line felt weird at first. I almost didn’t want to believe I was aligned in the right direction. It took patience and practice to believe and commit.

The same is true in your risk management alignment. Change can be awkward and uncomfortable. It often requires changes that people don’t like. However, to make improvements that positively impact the company’s ability to protect people, property, and profitability, changes must go from “weird” to confident.

The only way to do that is to commit to the changes in activities and behaviors. This means leaders and supervisors must walk the talk themselves first, and require it of everyone else until that confidence becomes natural.

One final thought: I needed feedback from Eric for my golf game. Everyone needs feedback on their risk management game. They require unbiased and professional feedback from someone who’s willing to give them both good and bad grades. Without that feedback, you could be playing your game out of alignment and that will cost valuable time, effort, and money.

Ultimately, the proper alignment in my golf game will produce lower scores and more enjoyment. Likewise, the proper alignment in your risk management game will result in fewer calamities, improved profitability, and more reward for everyone in the organization. 

Do you need help with your risk management alignment? Contact me at [email protected] or schedule a call HERE.

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