Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 2/6: Rolling out Hearts and Minds – the importance of push vs. pull

Dr Robin Bryden is currently seconded by Shell to work as Head of Safety at Sakhalin Energy in Russia, but he is probably better known throughout the energy safety sector as being one of the original developers of the Hearts and Minds toolkit.

In the second part of this interview Dr Robin Bryden tells the EI’s Hearts and Minds Programme Officer, Stuart King, about his experience of rolling out Hearts and Minds in Shell:

“When we were first rolling out Hearts and Minds in Shell in 2001/2002, we had a choice: do we push this out or do we create pull? The option we chose was to create pull, which was initially very successful in that a lot of people were interested and wanted to take part, it created a lot of excitement, and it was something new. Previously Shell had focused on engineering solutions and process safety, but not on the behavioural and cultural side of safety, so this got people energised, and having a set of tools to help people do that was just what was needed.

This was before the time of high bandwidth internet, so we rolled it out almost like a road show really, myself and a couple of others travelled the world on request. We’d give people information, write magazine articles, etc. People heard about it and said “oh this is interesting can you tell us more”. Then they’d request us to physically come to them and explain it further, run some workshops, and see how we could apply Hearts and Minds locally.

But in hind sight, we relied too much on pull and didn’t put enough resources in place to enable people to use Hearts and Minds as much as they wanted to. The original philosophy for long term use was that you don’t need additional resources; you take it and embed it into existing things you’ve got – tool box talks, training, etc. But I now realise that you can’t just bring the tools in and change those things instantly – you have to put something in between to help you bridge that gap.

For example, people wanted to take Hearts and Minds and its concepts and go and use the tools, and whilst we gave them all the information to do it, we wanted them to rely on their own resources. I guess we thought the pull method would be resource neutral, and in some cases it was – where we had really passionate people, they were able to take it and get on. In some cases that worked very well, but it would have been even more successful if we’d have combined that with a change management plan and additional resources – so top-down support but relying on people to take what is in the toolkit and customise it and make it their own and deliver it themselves.

The lesson for others is to recognise that it does take effort separate from the day job to implement a change programme, and you do need to put additional resources in place for a short period to help you look at Hearts and Minds, customise it, and get it embedded into existing activities. The push is as important as the pull.”

Part 1 of this interview is available here.

2 Responses to Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 2/6: Rolling out Hearts and Minds – the importance of push vs. pull

  1. […] Interview with Dr Robin Bryden – Part 2/6: Rolling out Hearts and Minds – the importance of … […]

  2. […] on from last month’s post, Dr Robin Bryden explains how to maximise the input of consultants when using Hearts and Minds and […]

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