Prevention is the key to stopping future occurrences of something. COVID 19 is an excellent example. How do we stop the transmission of it? Other than the vaccine, prevention is using masks, social distancing, and no large gathering. The most important thing to understand is that everyone has to do their part for it to have the maximum effect. While the people making these recommendations have the necessary knowledge to do, the actual prevention is accomplished by others. In essence, the people making the recommendation have no control to enforce these recommendations. And when people get the virus, they want the medical community to help them, which is corrective action.
This phenomenon exists in all aspects of life. For example, how many people actually do all the preventative maintenance on their car? Many people wait for a problem to occur and then it’s back to the shop for corrective action. Again, the preventative action is solely dependent on the person. No one can enforce people to adhere to preventative action.
I am not saying there isn’t any emphasis on preventative action, but there is much more emphasis on corrective action.
In The Workplace
This same phenomenon exists in the workplace. Everyone wants to fix what’s wrong. And that’s a good thing. But more emphasis needs to be placed on preventing future occurrences of the same problem.
People are very innovative especially when it affects them personally. They will have some type of workaround. And if it is a problem with something that came from another department, area, or person, they will go back and have it fixed. Again, that is great news. In fact, I consider it team empowerment.
However, two things come to mind. First, does the leadership know this is happening? And if they do, and nothing changes, shame on them. This now brings on the second concern and in my mind the most important. What is being done to prevent it from happening again?
Prevention is Hard
Corrective action is so much easier to perform than preventative action. When something isn’t right, normally it isn’t too hard to fix. You see what’s wrong and you fix it. Of course, some fixes might take time but again, you know what’s wrong.
Prevention on the other hand is tougher. You have to think about how to prevent it from happening in the future. Plus, you might implement some preventative action, just to find out that it didn’t work. So, back to the thinking tank. However, once you prevent it, you shouldn’t encounter that problem again.
Implementing preventative action in the workplace is easier to implement than in society. In society, the prevention is controlled by the person to whom the action is being asked of. However, that is not the same case in the workplace. Leadership, whether it is management or actual leaders, have the ability to implement preventative action. It is a matter of changing the mindset. To change the mindset, it is recommended that the leader continuously asks what actions have been implemented to prevent future occurrences of the problem. Leadership has to bring it to the forefront.
With the present workloads increasing, many people work in the “Urgent – Important” arena. That consists of crises, pressing problems, and deadline-driven subjects. If you operate in this area, that means you have an Urgency Addiction. You wait for them to be urgent before you give it your attention.
More time needs to be spent in the “Not Urgent – Important” arena. This consists of prevention, planning, relationship building, and empowerment. Only when you operate in this area, will you actually see process improvements. I encourage leadership to spend at least one hour per day in this area.
I have a weekly podcast regarding leadership and teamwork. I highly recommend that you listen to them. You will hear that these individuals utilize the items listed in the “Not Urgent – Important” sector and are very successful.