“Work Your Plan”
“Man makes or mars an organization.” So said B.C. Forbes, legendary founder of Forbes magazine, father to flamboyant tycoon Malcolm Forbes, and grandfather to current Forbes magazine editor and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes. B.C. Forbes was convinced that looking at an organization’s top man-the “head knocker,” as he called him-told you more about the business than the balance sheet ever could. Was he right? Here’s the story.
Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1880, B.C. Forbes worked as a reporter and writer for a local newspaper. In 1901, he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, to start up the Rand Daily Main newspaper. Three years later, he immigrated to the United Sates, where he worked as a writer and editor at the Journal of Commerce. After a few other jobs as a financial journalist, Forbes became disenchanted with the dry numbers of business and finance.
So in September 1917, Forbes magazine was born. B.C. Forbes devoted his new publication to doers, telling the stories of the people who ran successful companies and capturing the human side of business and finance. Forbes said “The most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles-they won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”
That first issue of Forbes profiled Charles Mitchell, who formed National City; notorious speculator and stock manipulator Jay Gould; and oil baron John D. Rockefeller, then the richest man in the world. Beyond the profiles, there were pages of investment analysis, but also poetry and fiction, even a section on women in business, a first for a business magazine.
Forbes magazine and its namesake B.C. Forbes clearly succeeded. Part showman and part businessman like his son Malcolm, B.C. Forbes was known for his inspirational quotes. He famously said, “Real riches are the riches possessed inside.” But B.C. Forbes was above all practical, and his most widely quoted sentiment is “Plan your work and work your plan”—good advice for business and for safety.
So before you start any job, take time to lay out your plan. Check job references, such as pre-job briefs, SDSs, and safety alerts. Ask yourself: What could go wrong? What could cause a fire or a spill? Could someone trip and fall? What are the hazards? Remember, safety is as much a part of your job as the tools you use.
Then once you start the job, follow your plan—work calmly and intelligently until it’s completed.
For Safety’s Sake…Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan
*Copyright 2004 Harkins Safety
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