Putting safety at front and centre of an organisation is challenging, and requires people to make some change to both their thinking and doing. There were several models that they used to help change behaviours. One was Iceberg model (pictured- I found this image on Google), which suggests that for every event resulting in a loss, be it to people, an asset, or the environment, there are a huge bunch of either near misses or potential incidents which could have occurred, but did not.
To help identify potential risks which may then result in actual incidents, we were required to report at least two per quarter into our Incident Reporting system. We had targets as a part of our performance appraisal. As management team we looked at what had been reported and determined whether any actions or processes needed to change. So within reporting, there was a carrot, with development of a safer workplace, and a stick, in that if we did not submit two per quarter that was reflected in our bonus.
A good friend of mine was passionate about rugby. She spent many hours training to be a referee, and was really excited about being a part of the nation’s game. She approached her first game with huge excitement. However, within a month she had quit, after abuse from both players and spectators made her come to the conclusion that, as much as she wanted to participate, she deserved to feel good about what she did, especially as a volunteer in low grade games.
Bullying in sport hits the headlines every year, and people huff and puff about racist spectators, pushy parents, and what we are teaching our children. But I’m also wondering how we define bullying. I read something the other day about pushy parents yelling at the children during running races. Now, I do this, and during their netball and footie games too. I want my kid to clock the fact that I am there and present: for children, parental attention can be like crack. I see grins and then an extra bit of speed. But do some parents consider this bullying the opposition?
Well, perhaps we should do something about bullying. We all sign up to behaviour guidelines when we sign our kids up for the sport, but they are rarely enforced. Indeed, sometimes it’s hard to have that conversation with the over-enthusiastic coach or parent about aspects of their behaviour which are challenging to others. Can we use a tool such as incident reporting back to the club, to help change both player and spectator behaviour? Could codes encourage clubs to have a reporting system? Could funders only fund clubs who look to manage behaviour? Will it make sport more appealing to those of us with more enthusiasm than talent? By thinking about and modelling behaviours around graciously winning and losing, will that create better experiences for our kids, keeping them active even if they only make the C squad.
Behavioural change takes time, focus and resource. But if these things are important, then perhaps its worth an effort.