September 2014



As chief elected officer of the Society, ASSE's president promotes the advancement of the Society and the safety profession, and represents ASSE before members, other relevant professional societies and various governmental agencies. Professional Safety shares his latest thoughts on the Society, the profession and its practice.

Read past messages in the President's Message Archive.

President's Message - June 2004

It certainly has been a good year. But we can't settle for good. We must strive for great.

2003-2004 ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

Good to Great

As the saying goes, “Time sure flies when you're having fun.” It seems like yesterday that we started a dialogue about our plans, hopes and visions for the coming Society year. Now it's time to take stock of what transpired.

It has been a good year. Communication is at an all-time high. You have spoken and we have listened and reacted in a nimble fashion.

Despite volatile economic times, ASSE is financially sound and has a positive balance sheet. Membership has grown slightly, countering a trend seen by other organizations. Four new student sections were formed, a new section was formed in Ecuador and activity on the international front has increased as well. We have also seen a fivefold increase in members volunteering to serve as mentors to help those who are to lead us to the next levels. Professional development continues to grow with highly successful symposia, new audioconferences, a record-setting SeminarFest and what looks to be another record-breaking PDC.

Standards activity continues to blossom as well, with ASSE accepting the secretariat of the ANSI Z10 Accredited Standards Committee on Construction and Demolition Operations. This development, along with the Society's newest book, Construction Safety Management and Engineering , places ASSE in a growth position within the construction sector.

The annual NAOSHWeek “Safety on the Job” kids poster contest was a great success. Our member publications, including Professional Safety and the various practice specialty newsletters, continued to deliver timely information and the latest developments. ASSE also participated as a founding and charter member in the first meeting of the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations.

As all of this shows, it certainly has been a good year. But we can't settle for good. We must strive for great. What will it take to move from good to great? Consider these pointers from Jim Collins's best-seller Good to Great, which outlines steps that organizations have taken along the journey to greatness.

  • Level 5 Leadership. These leaders are visionary and driven, yet quiet, reserved and selfeffacing. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.

  • Get the right people on the bus. Consider who first, then what. Get the right people in the right seats and they will help take you where you want to go.

  • Confront the brutal facts, but never lose faith. Listen to the customer, assess the data, then act. Mistakes will happen, but believe that despite these mistakes, you will prevail.

  • Use the Hedgehog Concept. Work within three intersecting circles:

    • What are you passionate about?

    • What can you do best in the world?

    • What will drive your economic engine?

  • Adopt a culture of discipline. When the process is disciplined, bureaucracy is not needed.

When action is disciplined, fewer controls are needed. When people are disciplined, no hierarchy is needed. Combine this culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship and you have fuel for great performance.

Yes, we have had a good year. We have focused on strategic actions and worked from a base of knowledge, have been nimble in action, have communicated constantly and remained keenly aware of the ethical implications of service. But despite our accomplishments, we can't settle for just being good. Our members, profession and the Society—each of you—deserve much more. We can move from good to great.

Thanks for letting me have a seat on the bus. Please look for your seat to help us continue the journey.

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP