News & Information Blog

Steps to Implement Leading Indicators

By Mike Harper | 11/03/2020

The process involved with implementing leading indicators as part of your safety initiatives is a little different than tracking lagging indicators.

Implementing leading indicators has a slightly different flow than lagging indicators.  Overall, the steps are:

  1. Select a leading indicator.
  2. Define an actionable metric.
  3. Develop a measurement process.
  4. Engage responsible parties.
  5. Implement the leading indicator measurement process.
  6. Analyze leading indicator information.
  7. Publicize leading indicator performance.
  8. Evaluate effectiveness of leading indicator and adjust accordingly.
  9. Celebrate success.

This series of steps is executed in a repeating pattern, but also has iterations within each indicator.  The definition of a measurement process (Step 3) through implementation and analysis steps (Steps 5 & 6) may happen several times for a single indicator in order to settle on an effective and consistent means of measurement.

The practice of working through these steps in identifying those indicators that appropriately reflect your environment is also an iterative process.  You may select a top three indicators to track, just to find that your second one doesn’t hold the correlation to safety results that you anticipated.  Back to the drawing board you go.

Some may see this process as frustrating.  I encourage you to think of it as empowering.  This is where you have the ability to think outside of "the box" to implement, and measure the effectiveness of, organizational changes at the strategic level.  This is done within a framework that is on-going and has an allowance for failure built-in, where you can conclude that a working assumption was incorrect, and move onto identifying the next leading indicator candidate.

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