Talking Safety with J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

We are honored to have the opportunity to interview J.A. Rodriguez Jr. regarding his knowledge and expertise pertaining to safety management.  In this interview Rodriguez explores the depths of who actually manages safety and how to effectively address non-compliance issues. In addition, he talks candidly about his book, “Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment” which provides helpful information for any Lean or Safety manager looking to climb upwards upon the business ladder.

J.A. Rodriguez Jr.

Biography for J.A. Rodríguez Jr., CSP

J.A. Rodríguez Jr., CEO of Make My Day Strategies LLC and Fortune 100 global senior manager, is responsible for the development, implementation, and rehabilitation of environmental, health and safety programs supporting contracts in the billions of dollars.

J.A. is an entrepreneur, a patented inventor, an engineer, a board certified safety professional, a writer for Jennings Wire – The World of Success, EHS Today Magazine and other professional journals, a member of the Industry Advisory Council at Western New England University, an elected Board Member of the National Voluntary Protection Program Participants’ Association, a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers, author of the book Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment.

His LinkedIn profile was among the top 5% percent most viewed in 2012 among LinkedIn’s 200 million members. J.A. was named as one of the 50 people who most influenced EHS in 2012 and 2013 by EHS Today Magazine.

1. In your opinion, who truly manages safety (managers and supervisors, or the people in the safety department)?

J.A. Rodríguez Jr – No one manages safety in platinum level safety organizations, leaders manage safety in world-class organizations, managers and supervisors manage safety in average organizations and safety professionals manage safety at lower performing organizations.

“How can no one manage safety in an organization”, you ask? Well, the answer to that question is nestled within the institutional definition of safety. Is it a core value, a culture, a requirement, or an afterthought? When safety is a core value, compliance and performance are on auto pilot; no need to manage.

Values do not need to be managed because they drive sustainable behavior. Core values reach beyond buy-in; they are a deep rooted belief system that defines a person and their actions and that of their organization.

When leaders manage safety, they manage culture. When managers and supervisors manage safety, they manage requirements. When safety professionals manage safety, they manage afterthoughts.

So how do you establish a platinum level safety organization where safety is a core value? It is done carefully, strategically, and with an uncompromising resolve to succeed.

2. When safety is not followed, does punishment create compliance in the workplace?

J.A. Rodríguez Jr – It depends. People’s behavior is driven by purpose, perspective and anticipated consequences. That is to say, if the purpose of the day is to hurry up so you can make it to your kid’s soccer game and the consequences for doing so are minimal (in your eyes), then rushing through your work is rationalized as the best alternative (perspective). Consequently, if the consequences for taking shortcuts place you at significant risk of losing your job or your life, then arriving at the soccer game a few minutes late is probably rationalized as the best alternative.

The threat of consistently applied and consequential punishment is often effective only when it offers employees an alternative view of reality. Punishment encourages compliance when it helps employees make the right decisions at the right time. It is a necessary fine line that few understand how to effectively utilize.

3. Can you tell us how “Safety/Lean Manager” may benefit by reading your book, “Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment”?

J.A. Rodríguez Jr – Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment offers a portal into what is normally kept secret in business … how organizations think and more importantly, how you are viewed within the organization. Twenty-five years in the making, the book helps the Safety/Lean Manager understand the rules of engagement so that you may better strategize your career plan for professional success.

Understanding what your boss truly expects sets you apart from the pack. Not Intuitively Obvious – Transition to the Professional Work Environment helps you establish that winning mindset.

4. Can you tell us how your book has made an impact in your professional life?

J.A. Rodríguez Jr – Well, the book is my professional life. It is compilation of lessons learned; some the hard way. The book answers the question: “If I had to do it all over again, how would I do it?” As such, I have had the incredible opportunity to speak and share its message with millions of people on a global scale.

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