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Supporting organisations to bridge the gap between strategy and action at moments of change, making sense and shaping conversations with Big Pictures.

case study-N


Case Study:

Network Rail Safety Culture


“The conversations we had together helped us to clarify what our programme was about.” Paul Taylor – Director, Safety Programme


The challenge:

  • To reduce fatalites across the whole rail infrastructure from 1-5 to 0

  • To develop a culture where safety and safety reporting was embedded

  • To find a way for everyone to make sense of, and own the change needed

  • To overcome widespread resistance to reporting near misses

“We recognised the complexity of the changes we were trying to make bringing in a new Safety Culture and we needed some way to try to communicate where we were now and what the future state would look like. We wanted to get people to understand where we were heading with our Safety Leadership and Culture Change programme for two main reasons. Firstly so that they bought into it and wanted to be part of it and secondly to create the possibility of people setting their own pace and maybe even running ahead of us while still heading towards the same destination.”*

Delta7 response:

  • Create a company-wide conversation about safety culture, using Visual Dialogue

  • Align the board – although this was not an initial outcome it became a valuable one for defining the programme and a vision that everyone felt connected to

  • Create a strategic narrative and Big Picture with leadership and employees that ‘captured honestly’ the challenges

  • Trained employees in our Visual Dialogue skills to share the story and support colleagues to make sense of the strategy

  • Supported the rollout to 35,000 employees across the whole of the UK by ‘training the trainer’ to ensure that there was internal capability

“The conversations we had together helped us to clarify what our programme was about - particularly your challenges in the early days. You didn’t turn up with any preconceived ideas; you didn’t come up with the answer already formatted just to give us because you’d done it elsewhere. You sat and listened.

The concept of a workshop allowing people to explore their own journeys to a shared goal was brand new to us. You went into the business at all levels and asked and listened. You didn’t put down what you thought, you put down what you’d heard.”*

 Programme Outcomes:

  • Fatalities on the rail infrastructure were zero in 2015

  • Employees took ownership of shaping the safety culture

  • A further piece of work was identified and carried out as a result of this process to remove layers of policies and procedures that hindered the safe working of employees

“The picture has become quite iconic in Network Rail in terms of defining what safety culture is. Having a picture which is so engaging in its content and its style allowed us for the first time to properly feed back to our senior leaders what the rest of the business was thinking in a way that wasn’t patronising or threatening. The picture contains some very blunt pieces of information but it’s done in a very engaging way. We know they’re there but too often as senior managers we pretend they aren’t.”* 


*Paul Taylor – Director, Safety Programme