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Abstract: Battelle Pacific Northwest, a US Department of Energy (DOE) subcontractor, experienced a five-fold (500%) drop in motor vehicle accidents between 1991-1992. This large scale intervention, increasing driver attention and motivating safe driving behavior, was conducted with a staff population of ~3300 drivers across 38 states using Collaboration Coaching techniques developed by Matthew Weilert, founder of Systems Thinking Institute LLC (STI) and publisher, STI Press. These results do not imply endorsement by the Department of Energy or any other government agency.
The ProblemBattelle's Pacific Northwest Laboratories Division (PNL) led all DOE in motor vehicle accidents. This was as much a political capital as an economic issue.
The SolutionUsing the systems thinking coaching techniques applied to specific motor vehicle requirements, Battelle achieved an accident-free year, [no reportables, or incidents resulting in greater than $500 damage total including labor costs] within the first 12 months of program implementation.
A customized approach was key, getting away from bland, twice-yearly Show & Tell sessions in the main auditorium with over 180 per session. Establishing strong working relationships with divisional secretaries, the researchers' right arm, was a second vital link in the chain. Probably the most important was dropping class size to a maximum of 30 and boosting the number of sessions, so group interaction was more intimate, people felt their voice would be heard, figuratively as well as literally.
Diversity in content delivery helped as well: we taped a driving skills review session, covering local terrain and traffic patterns as well as specific DOE and Washington state regs, which third shift work teams checked out to fulfill their training objectives.
Personalization is the KeyFor the independent researchers scattered across the US, we took a noveland very effectiveapproach, based on the remarkable results Battelle achieved. We contacted the Motor Vehicle departments of every state where PNL has staff, and combined this basic text with a customized, personally addressed letter to the staff member. Achieving our goal of an accident-free year shows these individualized messages carried high credibility, creating a great sense of personal responsibility which collectively produced stunning results. Our Collaboration Coaching convinced roughly 3300 people spread across 38 states to make personal daily decisions to change previous driving patterns and meet the company target of an accident-free year.
Systems Thinking Works. It can work for you, if you work it through.For more information, or to put the power of Compressing the Learning CurveSM to work in your organization, contact us, or e-mail Matt Weilert to get your whole management team scheduled for a Fabric of Facts Focus Session.