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Cultural Maturity – The True Measure of Progress

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Cultural Maturity – The True Measure of Progress

The real strength of a management system is reflected in the cultural maturity of the enterprise. Indeed, we often see correlations within an organization with elevated culture and effective management processes having superior technical practices and achieving better results.

To move to a higher state of Cultural Maturity, leadership and operations need to shift their Values, Attitudes & Beliefs towards operational excellence and towards a more holistic Operational Risk Management & Safety Culture Improvement approach.

The DuPont Bradley Curve was created in 1995 based on Stephen Covey’s human development model (Covey, 1989).  Using Covey’s terminology, the four stages of safety maturity were identified: Reactive, Dependent, Independent and Interdependent (see slide diagram.) In 2009, Mike Hewitt  demonstrated the correlation between an organization’s safety culture strength and its incidence rate.  In his study, interdependence was associated with the highest safety performance. Understanding this relationship allowed us, and our clients, to allocate time, attention and resources to deliver improved safety performance.  

Several major findings from the 2012 World-Class Safety survey by DuPont point towards a path of interdependence and general operational excellence, beyond superior safety performance.  Organizational characteristics that foster "interdependence" - characteristics such as embracing grassroots leaders, focusing on learning and development, building a sense of ownership and pride, and adopting a collaborative and team-based culture - can help the organization to not only reduce risks but also improve productivity.

An organization that has reached a mature and elevated culture has all the ingredients of an engaged workforce including problem solving and innovation capabilities to achieve the dual competitive advantage of effective risk mitigation and superior value creation.