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Shawn Galloway

Interview with Shawn Galloway

Learn more about Shawn and how his keynotes are focused on safety strategy and leadership in the workplace. Read on below.

In your opinion, why is safety excellence of such great importance?

I recently returned from delivering the introductory keynote speech at the first ever International Safety Conference in the country of Azerbaijan, and I’m confident the global views and the importance of safety excellence are evolving.

Where regulations (the basics of safety) didn’t exist, they are being created and quickly becoming viewed as the minimum necessary, rather than the final destination. More companies are now realizing safety excellence isn’t just zero injuries, nor the final goal.

So what is safety excellence then? I have personally dedicated my life to a single, yet recognizably complex mission: to continuously challenge and evolve the global thinking around what safety excellence is. I am fortunate that the passion for my work has attracted many of the best in safety in every major industry. With every engagement, my own thinking expands and prompts me to question what I believe about safety excellence. When we believe we know all there is about any subject, we not only do an injustice to ourselves, but also to those we impact with the goals we establish and the language we use to achieve them. Why is safety excellence important? I could answer that precisely today but I would date my thinking. There will always be a better way when we take the limits off our thinking. It is my goal to keep challenging not only what others think is and isn’t safety excellence, but myself as well.

 

What makes your keynotes unique?

Like any experienced professional speaker with hundreds of engagements speaking to heads of state and boards of directors to hourly and temporary employees, there should be more stories and pictures than facts and figures. Great speakers ensure the message is not only customized to the audience, but also meets and exceeds measurable expectations and objectives. Sure, a keynote can be motivational, but is that the only goal? Shouldn’t it also provide takeaway tools or self-implementable methodologies to carry the motivation forward? I certainly believe so. I work to ensure the message is crafted to meet the desired results through a collaborative exercise with the organizer to capture answers to the vital question: As a result of the keynote, what do you want people to feel, know, believe and do? Without alignment to these important outcomes, a motivational message, regardless of how strong and memorable, rarely yields sustainable results.

 

How do you motivate organizations to implement safety strategies?

Safety continues to suffer from the wrong focus, goals and objectives. Until there is a change in how we frame safety’s role and purpose within organizations, we will continue to upset the customers of safety, require a greater emphasis on controlling behavior and ensuring compliance, and create cultures of have-to rather than want-to. We will forever be safety police until we view safety as a value-contributor rather than a risk-reducing part of the organization.

I help organizations think very strategically about their safety efforts. Real strategy is a framework of choices the organization makes to capture and deliver value. Strategy answers “How do we win?” but it also includes difficult questions like what won’t we do to improve safety or what do we need to stop doing that is demotivating, distracting or no longer adding value?

I help motivate at all levels, but how to best motivate an organization comes from helping leaders develop and execute against a strategy at the highest levels. Unfortunately, far too many organizations do not have a true strategy for safety excellence. Zero injuries, engagement, and hearts and minds are all by-products, not the goal or focus, when safety evolves to first capture and deliver value. All progress begins with thinking differently. When we can help individuals at all levels think differently about the value of safety efforts in results, performance and culture, motivation is easy because we are contributing value. We create pull, rather than push, and we should all know that forced change is almost always temporary. When the change is created and led internally, it is much more sustainable.

 

What message do you hope audiences walk away with?

Most professional speakers have their key messages, stories and ideas, but no two audiences are the same. The message should be determined by the goals of the talk, the audience and how the organization needs to move forward. I’m fond of what Socrates believed: “A prescription without a diagnosis is malpractice.” The key message should be determined after the speaker better understands the audience, the objectives of the talk and how to best reach them.

 

Do you have a favorite experience from your speaking career?

I’m often invited back to either speak again or to work directly with the organization. Anyone that has heard me speak knows, as a writer and speaker, I’m a storyteller at heart. There are a few stories that I share with large audiences because of the impact the story had on my life, knowing the impact it will have on others. Several times when working with organizations multiple times over the years, members of the original audience have approached me to convey how they shared my stories with their family members and the resulting positive impact. Knowing I made a difference to the people my audience members care about most in the world is one of the greatest feeling a professional speaker like me could have.

 

Learn more about Shawn Galloway here!