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NSSGA Podcast

Apr 6, 2023

Justin Ganschow, Business Development Manager for Caterpillar Safety Services, is back on the podcast again today. In case you missed his first appearance, Justin has been in the industry for almost 20 years and has a formidable wealth of stories and presentations to offer. Today, he shares a story that is all about accountability and catching the things that people are doing right rather than focusing on compliance or the things maybe they’re doing wrong.


Episode Highlights:

  • Justin got his start in the safety profession working in Environmental  Compliance with Caterpillar

  • As part of his duties, he was required to complete monthly behavioral observation forms about the welders in the facility

  • He didn’t like the process and neither did the employees

  • At the time, his facility was embarking on a safety culture transformation process which involved the formation of cross functional  employee teams

  • This behavioral observation process was the aspect identified by the employees in these teams as the first thing they wanted to change

  • As a result, they worked together in the team to create the Positive Interaction Process which would instead begin by highlighting the positive actions of all employees

  • By starting with what people were doing, they could have a more coaching focused conversation afterwards if something needed improvement

  • This process started to change everything because when they started by talking about what's right, it puts people in a positive frame of mind, and there's a cascade of hormones that are released (dopamine) that puts people in a state where they can receive feedback

  • This resulted in staff becoming more resilient, more creative, and more cooperative

  • Now when Justin does his audits and inspections every month it has started to get really hard to find anything wrong - staff have for the most part stopped doing the negative behaviors

  • Consequently, his facility  has gone from the fourth worst performing manufacturing plant in all of Caterpillar to number one with zero recordable injuries for almost three full years

  • The lesson we can take from this is: don't underestimate the power of positive recognition


Toolbox Talk Discussion Questions:


  • In this episode, Justin describes a shift in the company’s safety mindset to catching the things people are doing right. Would this mindset appeal to you? Why or why not?

  • Reflect on Justin’s statement that “Most of the time, we’re doing things right.”

  • Does anyone have a story about receiving feedback that started with what you were doing right?





“I didn't grow up in the safety profession. I didn't go to school to become a safety professional. But now there's nothing else I would rather be doing. There's nothing I can imagine myself doing, actually.”

“I checked a bunch of boxes, I go back to my office, I put the forms on my boss's desk, and that was the last time I ever heard about it until the next month when I hadn't completed it yet.”

“I didn't like this process, it felt very confrontational.”

“The old behavioral observation process had good intentions, but it was viewed very negatively by the employees, and they said, ‘That's the first thing we want to change.’”

“The way it worked was when somebody saw somebody doing something else out on the shop floor, they would always start with something they were doing correctly, because there's always an opportunity to notice something that is right. Most of the time we're doing things right.”

“It became harder and harder to find anything wrong, and it was just the start of our cultural transformation.”

“When we turn the lens and really look for the positives, we get so much bang for our buck in looking for the good that is being done with our people.”


National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association website