Adam Kreek is a management consultant, Olympic Gold Medalist and executive coach. He leads executive retreats for corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations worldwide, and offers action-oriented keynotes, workshops & seminars.
In this guest blog, he shares his Gold Medal secrets to Workplace Safety based on his Olympic career and ocean expeditions. In his keynote presentation, Adam teaches powerful and practical safety strategies including taking personal responsibility for effective communication and stress management in high-risk work environments.
12 years, 2 million practice strokes, 7,200 practices sessions, 13,000 hours on the water.
Olympic training statistics are remarkable. I know. I lived it. However, when discussing Olympic results, one measure of success and failure is often overlooked:
How many workers died in preventable safety incidents to create a successful Olympic experience? For me, it was 24.
Ten workers died preparing the Beijing Olympic facilities where I competed and won in 2008. Fourteen workers died to produce the Athens Olympics where I competed just four years earlier. These workplace fatality numbers break my heart, especially when we take into account the many more life-changing injuries hidden behind each fatality number.
But there is hope. The London Olympics pursued safety with an overt Olympic mindset and delivered the best safety performance on record for a summer games. Not one worker died due to workplace neglect. Now, that’s an Olympic record to strive for!
Gold Medal Safety
Recently, I spoke to a large global engineering firm on the topic of safety leadership and building strong safety cultures. The tools I brought? A few powerful stories that keep the safety leadership conversation fresh.
“Safety performance is not a priority. Priorities change. Safety is non-negotiable. It’s a core value. Every day we need to eat, sleep, get dressed, work hard, get paid, be safe. We lead safe teams because we care. We build safe cultures because we care. Safety is what we do.”
What’s my story?
I grew up an average kid in an average town and made my fortunes on an oil drilling rig, where I almost died in a safety incident. I used my paycheques to fund my Olympic dreams but lost in my first Olympic campaign. Four years later, I went to the Olympics and won gold. Five years after my Olympic victory, I rowed across an ocean in a self-supported vessel and lived because of our strong safety culture.
After passing around my Olympic Gold Medal, I asked the audience to think about their next gold medal moment. Then, I talked about Gold Medal Safety.
What’s Gold Medal Safety? A Zero-Harm worksite.
Zero-harm can seem as daunting as winning an Olympic Gold Medal, so we need to have courage to dream this big. Aim for perfection, accept excellence. That is how you win the Olympics. That is how you build a strong safety culture. That is how you win in a competitive marketplace.
The insights, questions and stories found in the whitepaper below will help safety leaders and their organizations build and sustain Gold Medal Safety at every level of an organization.