"In my experience as a senior executive in the competitive and fast-paced sporting goods industry, I have seen my share of good leaders.

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Complacency Kills: Here’s How to Make Sure Your Office is Prepared for Anything

We cannot interpret “safety” as a bar our workplaces meet: the very idea of an entirely “safe” work environment encourages complacency on the part of the employees and management. Instead, in order to be a “well prepared” workplace, leaders must take a proactive approach to ensure the well being of their staff. Lets examine a few ways to make your workplace better equipped to handle worst-case scenarios.

Don’t Fall Victim to Routine
We spend so much time at our offices they become a part of our daily norm. As a manager or executive, your responsibility to your colleagues is to fend off this all-too-comfortable attitude and remain alert and aware. This does not mean being paranoid, afraid, worried or stressed: it simply calls for leaders to be vigilant, and to encourage employees to do so as well.

What does “being alert” entail? Taking stock of your surroundings: reminding yourself (and others) frequently where the fire alarms, extinguishers and exits are, keeping fresh on emergency protocols and being in tune with the happenings of your office space, particularly any emotional situations.

You can keep safety at the forefront of your mind outside of the office as well. How often do you gas up your vehicle without locking it first? We are vulnerable in our simple day-to-day routines when we are distracted and unfocused. Practicing vigilance even in the most mundane of activities can help you avoid danger.

Have the Difficult Conversations
Discussing with co-workers or family members what to do in the event of an emergency situation can be a tough conversation to have – but it is crucial that you discuss it nonetheless, because the information you convey can literally save lives. Aim to be realistic and prepared: theatrics and alarmism will hinder your efforts.

At the office, you can host regular health and safety meetings or first aid training courses. On the office floor appoint a “fire marshal”: a co-worker who is responsible to help get others out in the event of a fire. Likewise, establish a code word with your receptionist: that way, he or she can alert you or the staff of an intruder unbeknownst to the perpetrator.

Preparedness discussions must also take place in your home. As a leader, you may be particularly at risk, such as the target of a disgruntled employee. Therefore, your family should know the appropriate actions to take for potential emergency situations.

Consider total safety the same as perfection: unattainable. Thinking your office is as safe as it can possibly be only encourages unpreparedness and complacency among your employees. Like everything in life, there is always room for improvement. Inspire your colleagues to take an interest in creating a well-prepared workplace: one that is ready and organized for the variety of challenges fate may throw your way.

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Julie Nimmons

Julie Nimmons

Julie uses her 30 years’ experience to help CEOs, executives and business owners in her Vistage Group find success in their businesses and personal lives. With positive leadership, a firm sense of prioritization and the commitment to lifelong learning, Julie’s creates a constructive workspace for Group members where honesty, innovation and cooperation can flourish.