None of us can see ourselves, so we have to have good information. If you’re not getting good information, it doesn’t matter how strong your desire is.

—Paul Azinger, professional golfer and Ryder Cup captain

For over two decades we’ve been asking industrial leaders the world over—numbering more than one hundred thousand, from company presidents to front‐line supervisors—“What are the toughest challenges you face managing safety performance?” No matter what kind of business they’re in, or where in the world they’re located, there is a predictable pattern to their replies. It’s a list familiar to every leader on the planet: in alphabetical order, it’s one that begins with attitude, awareness, behavior, compliance, complacency, communications, culture, distractions, equipment…and ends with zero: nobody gets hurt. Facing down those kinds of tough challenges is the real stuff of safety leadership.

Often lost in this discussion about safety leadership is what isn’t on the list: measuring safety performance. Rarely does measurement show up as what leaders see as their biggest safety challenges. As to why, perhaps it’s because leaders think they’re already getting enough information to manage safety performance effectively. Perhaps it’s because leaders think it’s somebody else’s job to figure out how to measure safety performance for them. Maybe it’s because no one seems to know how to come up with better measures than the ones they have. Maybe ...

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