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The nature of leadership is changing dramatically. This is based on commercial and resourcing pressures, the complexities of market requirements, and the speed required to meet the needs of clients.
For many, one of the most challenging shifts is from technical to adaptive leadership, where previously individuals had drawn solutions from existing experience and knowledge, now they are finding themselves in the realms of the unknown and needing to work with trusted teams to create a ‘new normal’ for unforeseen, complex or ambiguous issues.
Case Study – Thiess Group
Area of Focus:
- Leadership and management, including leading people, strategy and change
- Leading in a complex workplace environment
Safety Dimensions has worked partnership with the Thiess Group since 2008 group when we delivered our Safety Leadership Foundation programs for Thiess Queensland. Based on the success of this initiative, Thiess decided to move from regional to a national approach in the generation of a health and safety education program.
The outcome was the development of an accredited Safety Leadership program that was structured around the Thiess HSE Policy, Safety Beliefs and HSE Leadership Cultural Framework.
Over the past 5 years the breadth of delivery of the Safety Leadership Program has extended to 7 divisions within Thiess. They have the confidence that the facilitators from Safety Dimensions are able to flex their delivery and adapt their style to suit a broad range of learners, from corporate leaders and executives, to engineers and project managers, Balfour Beatty rail workers, miners, designers and construction workers, health and safety representatives. Thiess recognised that the leadership principles transferred in our programs that had been so successful in the safety context could be extended to the broader management and leadership context.
Recently our work for Thiess has included the mapping, design, development and delivery of a fully accredited Leadership and Management training program rolling out over 6 days. This program leverages their existing programs and with the addition of extra training satisfys the 11 required units for the full nationally recognised qualification. This program not only meets the requirement of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) but also is sufficiently flexible to maintain full relevancy to a range of different audiences within the Thiess Group from the Executive level to the frontline and corporate to skilled and unskilled workers. Our ability to meet the needs of SES, EL and AS levels within the government is supported by this experience.
The Thiess Group are also provided with Trend Analysis data and senior level consultation continues to occur to address ‘cultural hot spots’ and areas of concerns.
To date, over 1,000 learners have been through the Safety Leadership program, from the most senior levels of the organisation, through project managers, engineers, health, safety and environment managers and employee representatives to more recently including subcontractors and joint venture partners. The concept of creating a No Harm workplace has evolved into a Thiess branded message of ‘Everyone Safe Everyday”.
Thiess employees and their contractors now have a common language and approach to WHS standards, outcomes and behaviours that is making a difference to the way that contracts and work are mobilised and performed.
A recent audit on a complex and highly visible construction project by Safe Work Australia identified only 2 minor infringements, and this was remarked upon by the auditor as a most uncommon experience considering the type of project being conducted.
The power of the approach used in the education and embedding processes has been recognised across the business and different divisions have voluntarily joined the approach rather than through corporate edict.
On large high risk projects, the company has recognised that leaders need ongoing support and have implemented the position of a full time, project specific WHSE coach to assist leaders in the skills of best practice communication and consultation.