Working for London Midland railway to deliver a programme that was a radical change to existing traditional health and safety method whilst working within an environment with specific risks


The programme was commissioned with the overarching aim to improve safety leadership culture and behaviour using the innovative Beyond the Obvious Model to identify the mindsets and limiting beliefs that are obstacles to safety change. As part of the programme a specific workshop was commissioned to improve the safety decision through improving safety conversations.



The programme is to run at all engineering site  locations and targeted for team leaders or shift managers dependant on the size of the site. The first programmes were

·         Soho maintenance depot

·         Tysley maintenance depot


Key objective being to  

·         Build safety leadership and personal responsibility for safety

·         ‘Confront the brutal facts’ to establish key drivers to choice

·         Embed as part of the company DNA – the core way we work

·         Ensure that the company safety KPIs were achieved and continuously improved by using a new approach to address human factor issues at the mindset level from which the non technical skills could then be supported

·         Deliver improved customer and staff engagement and pride

·         To move away from a blame culture to create a learning culture where failure is seen as a learning opportunity and a fair culture is in place








The Making Safer Choices Challenging Conversations is ground breaking workshop with specific objectives to:


·         Enable team members to have challenging conversations by building their skills and knowledge to build their confidence to challenge unsafe behaviour

·         Educate the leaders in tools and techniques they can use in the workplace

·         Facilitate conversations on current site safety challenges

·         Give different insights and perspectives into what drives the choices and decisions of the staff

·         Understand their own mindsets about the choices they make as safety leaders


Overview of process

The Challenging Conversations workshop was based on the Beyond the Obvious© Mindset programme that is described in the detailed report.


The BTO framework was followed to ensure the workshop was designed to meet the needs of the different sites. This involved individual 121s with managers and directors to understand their view of safety in their sites and listening groups with all staff.

This involved 45 people in Soho and 200 people in Tyseley depot.


The outputs of the sessions were then developed into a 1 day workshop with a target audience of shift managers and team leaders.


Following on from the initial workshop a follow up workshop was conducted that specifically looked at workarounds and near misses and worked with the leaders to identify different solutions to the problems and how to have difficult conversations with the staff involved.



1.       Leadership development – improved capability and confidence of the team leaders resulting in evidence of difficult and challenging conversations being had with both senior managers and staff

2.       Improved engagement of the team leaders.

3.       Team relationships and working- sessions across the different shifts and roles built trust confidence and honesty and an environment how to have challenging conversations and dealing with conflcit

4.       Personal development plans for the team leaders