Christine Morrison is the founder and director of CMA Training. At this year’s Lone Worker Safety Expo she is delivering a workshop on staff safety who travel on business. Mark Glover spoke to the former police officer about crime prevention training, the role of line managers and the importance of collaboration.
“I’m very impulsive and when something feels right I just go for it,” says the current MBA student and director of CMA Training, who’s explaining the moment she was asked to deliver crime reduction training at the Home Office Crime Reduction college.
This was in early 2000 and three years later Christine would start her own business specialising in personal safety and crime prevention training. Today, with an established client-base that spans the UK, it seems Christine’s impulse was correct. “I pretty much work between the Shetland Islands and the Isle of Wight,” she enthuses, “I love that about the job.”
CMA Training began primarily focusing on crime prevention. Over the years the balance has tipped more into personal safety. “There’s a lot of overlap with my work,” she explains. “If I’m going to into a housing association they will want lone worker training or personal safety training but actually they’re also getting fed crime prevention knowledge as well.
“When I deliver training to police forces or local authorities on crime prevention, what I’m really offering is a problem-solving approach. Instead of giving them loads of product information about bolts and bars and locks and CCTVs, I give them a problem-solving framework which can be really effective.”
In October, Christine will be delivering a workshop at the Lone Worker Safety Expo offering practical advice and support for staff who travel for business, abroad and in the UK. “My training is very interactive, she promises. “Sometimes it’s a bit group discussion; sometimes it’s small group discussion; sometimes you could be working on your own very quickly. It’s quite pacey and engaging.”
You cannot fail to be engaged by Christine. During our half hour phone conversation her passion and enthusiasm is obvious, particularly when it comes to worker safety. “I’ve used these words so many times,” she says, “but there are three main reasons why we must care about staff safety: legally they have to; morally they should and financially it doesn’t make sense not to.”
She continues: “Do staff feel safe? Do staff feel supported and do they feel it’s okay to walk away from a situation if they don’t feel safe or comfortable? There should be robust systems in place and not just a system that ticks boxes but robust tracing systems.”
Integrating any type of robust health and safety system is a challenge. Access to the company board is key, where reputational, financial and brand advantages can be extolled; however, this culture needs to be consistent down the management chain and as Christine suggests, can be tough to maintain. “I do think there are line managers who are not talking at board level and I think that’s where it gets stuck.”
The role of line managers play in staff safety is a thread Christine is exploring in her MBA studies. “I’m a lifelong learner, she says with typical enthusiasm. “I started an MBA two years ago. I love learning and I love collaborating.”
Collaboration is a key part of the lone worker sector and its many nuances; technology, legislation and mental wellbeing are well represented at this year’s Expo. Garnering knowledge from all these spheres excites Christine. “I’m reading about leadership theory at the moment and there is so much about collaboration and I really, really get it, she says. “I want to get as much as I can from a conference like this.”
I’m looking forward to asking my final question. Why does she do what she does? “I want to make a difference,” she ponders. “I really buzz about this topic and the biggest buzz for me is making relationships with people who end up liking, knowing and trusting me as an individual and a company.”
If you catch Christine’s workshop at this year’s Lone Worker Safety Expo then prepare to be fully engaged. If you haven’t registered yet then perhaps you should act on impulse and just go for it, I’m sure Christine will approve.