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 - October 2008

Imagine the potential power of 32,000 involved members. We all have good ideas. By getting involved, each of us can better share those ideas—and we can influence the direction of ASSE.

2008-2009 ASSE President Warren Brown, CSP, ARM

Get Involved

Involvement combined with strong leadership leads to achievements. Consider how this concept works in a business setting. The higher the employee involvement in organizational endeavors the more likely the organization will be successful. For example, in industrial assembly operations, a group of people works in concert each day to produce an output. Each person within the group is responsible for one element of the final product—and all members of the group must work together to ensure a quality result.

This brings to mind two of Steven Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people: “Begin with the end in mind” and “Synergize”—both of which relate to increasing member involvement in ASSE. We have 150 chapters and several sections, some of which report low member involvement. I would like to propose a process to change that trend—in essence, beginning with the end in mind.

Several years ago, ASSE created the Chapter Stars program, which sets metrics for chapter performance—and rewards chapters that meet those expectations. To qualify for this recognition, a chapter must successfully complete several tasks during the year. In most cases, the chapter president leads the process to ensure that all the tasks are completed in a timely manner. However, in my experience as a chapter and region leader, it seems there is always a rush at the end to gather all the necessary information that must be submitted to ASSE.

This is where members can get involved. For example, each of you could take on an element of the Chapter Stars program for your chapter. The individual tasks are easy to accomplish because they are just a small (but important) element of the larger task. Like on the assembly line, the job will get done. This is Covey’s synergize habit at work. Just think how successful the entire endeavor would be. In addition, by participating, you will get a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie with your fellow members. The Society will become stronger and you will have greater ownership in the organization—and as a result, may move into chapter and Society leadership.

I recently attended the Region III professional development conference in Houston, TX. During the conference, I heard Paul Balmert’s presentation, “Execution: The Difference That Makes a Difference.” He defined execution as “faithfully carrying out the plan.” Our plan is to improve ASSE by getting everyone involved. To do this, I am encouraging chapter presidents to find ways to incrementalize chapter operations. This will help pull together the aggregate strengths of chapter members. Use the Chapter Stars program as a template. Assign volunteers to each element of the program. This can be made easier by using a work assignment grid that lists volunteer names, tasks and due dates as described in Scheier’s When Everyone’s a Volunteer.

My charge to each of you is to contact your chapter leadership and volunteer. Get involved. Don’t wait for someone to call you—call them, whether it’s your local chapter, your region or one of ASSE’s practice specialties. You won’t regret making the call. Imagine the potential power of 32,000 involved members. We all have good ideas. By getting involved, each of us can better share those ideas—and we can influence the direction of ASSE.

Warren K. Brown, CSP, ARM