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SOS Ltd. is a premier culture and safety consulting company, combining decades of research and experience to change the way business works.

Additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

about Culture Measurement & Management


What have authoritative people said about this concept?

Who are the best candidates? Why is this so?

What happens if you are forced to abort midstream?

Is Values-Driven Safety™ initiated from the top down or from the bottom up?

How does this thinking apply to individuals?

Is this methodology scalable and culture sensitive?

Does this process have a beginning and an end?

What have  people said about this concept?

Since the publication of the book Values-Driven Safety, many authority figures within and outside the safety profession have weighed in on what they think of the concepts and their potential to do much good. Some of those feelings are recorded below.

"Hold on, safety profession, this one's going to rock you! Every once in a while, something comes along in a profession that holds the promise of unlocking the future. I believe [Values-Driven Safety™] is the key to that future. This is powerful stuff, an elixir for a profession that has been starved for success in its search for a better way. [Values-Driven Safety™] is that "better way!" For the first time, in a systemic way, safety can be upgraded to a level of strategic significance to the business process. At a time when answers are needed most, this provides those answers. [Values-Driven Safety™] is truly a path to a new frontier of safety success."

Larry Hansen, CSP, ARM, (former corporate insurance executive with Liberty Mutual and now consultant)

"Poignant, insightful and a good read...The values-based approach to leading safety and the included measures of progress may be the next breakthrough for the enlightened leader. The insights provided within can identify the values in organizational cultures needed to achieve lasting results. A valuable resource for establishing your pathway to minimize risks and limit losses for years to come. A WINNER!!!"

Douglas Tambor, CSP, Retired Director - Safety and Industrial Hygiene: J&J Safety and IH, North America

"BEEN THERE, DONE IT--not until you've read this book! They don't teach this stuff at school, seminars, or at work. Don't make another plan or business decision without understanding the strategy that Don Eckenfelder outlines in this book.

Don's strategy provides a template for any existing program, process, or system that you wish to improve. More importantly, this process is a catalyst for plant or company wide systemic changes, and it's in a language that everybody understands.

If you've ever asked yourself what drives a company to outperform its competition year after year, a sports team to dominate their field, a site work team that sets records in a company, or an individual to exceed and drive for improvement, then you need to read this book."

Craig W. Bennett, CSP, Risk Manager

"I think anyone who reads [about Values-Driven Safety™] will enjoy the task and there are not many books that one can say that about. For a reader who is interested in safety, there are many fascinating stories and anecdotes that have an important lesson attached.

The [Values-Driven Safety™] concept is clearly an important new way of addressing safety management and your presentation makes a valuable contribution to our discipline. It's cutting edge stuff and I believe most instructors would want their students to master it."

R.E. McClay, Educator and ASSE Fellow

[Values-Driven Safety™] delivers a powerful and timely message. The principles and techniques outlined in this insightful new look at the safety function should be a prescription for rethinking how we deal with safety issues as we enter the 21st century. Its value is by no means limited to the safety professional. Human resources executives as well as line operating executives will find it equally appealing."

Ted C. Mullins, Vice President, HR, Retired: Unilever United States, Inc.

"For anyone tasked with safety responsibilities, staff or line, the author's concept of "The Maturity Grid" provides a tool to measure the effectiveness of even the most abstract value, or anything else for that matter."

Jerry Chase, Production Supervisor: Air Products & Chemicals, Inc., Wichita, Kansas.

"Behaviorally sound, [Values-Driven Safety™] is a must for improving the quality of human interactions in the workplace. The ideas presented here have far reaching application for business and personal success as well as a safe workplace."

Michael W. Kesler, Ph.D., Behavioral Psychologist & College Professor

"I am excited that this powerful concept could evolve the safety profession to the next level and assist in making safety a more integral part of the business."

Kimberly K. Querrey, Retired Manager Corporate Safety and Health: IMCO Recycling, Inc. and now a Venture Capitalist

"It's pretty simple, in most organizations you will either be perceived as adding value or you won't be there. Value driven safety is the future direction of the profession and [Values-Driven Safety™] is the ticket to get there."

Lewis C. Booker, CSP, Former Manager, Loss Prevention: Unilever USA

"Values-Driven Safety is a book chock full of useful insights for managing organizations and life, masquerading as a bold, innovative approach to safety in the workplace. Whether its mission is to provide a provocative, audacious way to achieve safety, bring the safety profession "out of the closet" or to enlighten mainstream corporate America , the book's fatal attraction is that it refuses to be ignored; and the journey is worth the ride!"

Jack McFadden, Executive Deloitte & Touche

Values-Driven Safety provides a tool/methodology to measure continuous improvement toward safety values. It is employee participation in the process that modifies employee performance resulting in an on going awareness for their safety and that of co-workers. Developing exercises/activities tied to safety values is how you get employees involved. 

This is a relatively uncomplicated approach to enriching safety culture that is well worth your time an effort if you want to measure safety culture. I was successful at reducing accidents and improving safety culture using Don Eckenfelder's Value-Driven Safety methodology at Keymark.

Robert Rivenburgh , Retired VP Human Resources, Keymark Corporation  

Who are the best candidates?

Clearly the best candidates should be those who have safety cultures that are producing undesirable results. Sadly and ironically they are not. The best candidates are organizations who have already recognized the importance of culture and intuitively have internalized the fact that culture predicts performance.

Why is this so?

The troubling and discouraging answer can best be illustrated by a parable. Some years ago –- at a human resources seminar –- a seminar leader started the presentation by saying, “You know, those of you who need this the most will get the least out of it; and, those of you who need this least will get the most out of it.” At the time this teaching seemed counterintuitive to me but over time I have come to view it as a truism. It is true because those who need new ideas the most need them because they have not listened well in the past and/or have failed to apply the teachings; that behavioral pattern is unlikely to change. Those who have more skills have them because they have a habit of listening and applying teachings and will probably do so again.

So, the best candidates for Values-Driven Safety™ are those who have continually improving loss prevention efforts or who have reached a plateau beyond which they are having trouble ascending. They are having difficulty because they have used all the common-conventional tools and are looking for something more. Values-Driven Safety™ provides more. Occasionally, new leadership in an organization will provide a fertile environment for Values-Driven Safety™ to succeed dramatically. Serious trauma such as skyrocketing costs, a major-embarrassing loss, or sever regulatory problems can supply an atmosphere suitable for applying culture enrichment initiatives.

What happens if you are forced to abort midstream?

Within the answer to this question is embodied one of the real beauties of Values-Driven Safety™. There are no losses.

This is because that every bit of progress made is progress that is retained, even if the process is halted. The process focuses on individual attributes and the beliefs and values that lead to the acquisition of those attributes. When a value is changed or established, stopping the process won’t do anything to alter that change. The change is enduring -- until something happens to again alter the cultural artifact or the belief/value.

When and if the process to reengineer culture is resumed, you will start essentially where you left off.

Is Values-Driven Safety™ initiated from the top down or from the bottom up?

This is one of the hardest questions to answer. But, the answer is, YES!

The process will work best if it is approached from all angles. Both the top and the bottom of any organization should be involved in the process right from the beginning. It would also be well to inform and involve customers and suppliers/partners. Everyone can and should have an equal role in making this happen as all will harvest the benefits in essentially equal measure.

In large organizations, it is feasible and possible for this to bubble up from lower levels. If one plant in a group of plants changes culture and produces exemplary results, the others and the overall leadership will surely be interested in the process and many will seek to emulate the success pattern.

In a relatively smaller organization, it is probably essential that there be buy in at the top level -- right from the beginning. The best way to get that is to sell benefits, which isn’t very hard. An organization with the right culture will be far easier to manage than one with a sick culture.

How does this thinking apply to individuals?

Any organization is but the composite of its parts. In the Kevin Kline movie The Emperor’s Club, it is often repeated that, “A man’s character is his destiny.” So it is that on organizations culture is its destiny. Not many people will disagree with this largely self-evident wisdom. What they probably will question is whether culture and character can be measured.

Probably one of the first people – or at least one of the ones with the most recognizable names, to attempt personal character development…was Ben Franklin

He planned to write the book The Art of Virtue. He established 13 virtues he sought to develop and worked at them one at a time and kept score on himself. He claims to have achieved a measure of success but seemed unsatisfied with his overall effort.

The character development system based on Values-Driven Safety™ overcomes some of the shortcomings in Franklin’s approach. It can be used by both genders, any race, all ages, and is synchronous with all religions and their teachings. The concepts can be incorporated into a wellness program or an employee assistance program.

Is this methodology scalable and culture sensitive?

This thinking works as well for a family as it does for a country.  The generic “tools” can be customized for different disciplines, specific industries, and unique starting cultures.  It takes you from where you are to where you want to go.  It is only limited by the time you desire to spend and involvement you choose to engender.  As with almost everything, you get out of this what you put into it.  The basic thinking has never been shown to be flawed.

Does this process have a beginning and an end?

The beginning is whenever you want to start and the best time is when you sense it is a good time to start.  It has no end!  Culture enrichment is a forever process.  If you think you are finished, you are finished.


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