think inside the box

When I visit jobsites and spend time in the trailer listening to the hustle and bustle of the morning meetings, the topic of safety catches my attention. “We’ve posted signs, had tailgate safety meetings, and talked to the crew every morning. What else can we do?”

Besides quoting the stale “create a safety culture, ” it’s time to start thinking inside the box. Yes, that’s right … inside the box.

I had the pleasure of an engaging phone conversation with Brad Deutser, the author of the book Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash PEOPLE, PROFIT, and PERFORMANCE. Brad is a thought leader on organizational clarity. His perspective on the dynamics of taking a humanistic approach to matters such as safety within an organization is revolutionary, and yet easily within the gr asp of companies’ leaders. Let’s take a closer look “at the box” for a better understanding of clarity.


Each company’s box is unique due to its challenges, but the structure and framework are consistent. The four sides of the box represent Direction, Operations, People, and Engagement. The bottom on the box represents the Foundation and the top of the box represents the Environment. So, what does all of this mean? Deutser breaks it down like this:

Direction: This side of the box is where the company’s vision and values reside, along with strategy and leadership.

Operations: This side houses systems and processes, performance management, and adaptability.

People: This side of the box is about employee clarity and fit, customer focus, and communication effectiveness.

Engagement: The final side of the box brings together coaching and development, talent management, and team capabilities.

Foundation: This is where leaders invest smartly for w hat’s important for the business to thrive and grow.

Environment: The top of the box considers the outside elements, the market trends and competitors, and the industrial forces that could influence the company.

The six sides of the box must be examined, thought about with focus, and put in writing. The connections between the six sides create the contents of the box. What’s working? What’s not connecting? Where do changes need to be made? What’s missing to align and balance the sides of the box?


The following is an excerpt taken from Deutser’ s book: The shifting paradigm of going from outside to inside the box takes some getting used to. Leaders worry about losing the innovation and creativity that they previously believed comes from outside-the-box thinking. But, inside-the-box produces more efficiency, more alignment, more purpose, and is a far easier and more effective platform from which to lead. We have always believed that people universally want to support their company and contribute in a positive way. They, like people of all ages and places in life, need structure. They also need and crave definition, connectivity, and a reason to believe. The box provides the structure and the belief system for the company, the leadership, the board, and the workforce. It also provides a tangible thing for all to understand and hold on to. The reality, as our work has proven, is that when everyone is holding on to the same box, they come alive, encourage responsible creativity, and drive real innovation.


You may be asking yourself “How do I get organized to gain clarity inside the box?” This is the point where I tell you to get the book. It walks you through all the tough thinking to realize what you have and what you need to create y our box, understand your box, and work within your box.

When it comes to safety, there’s a difference between compliance vs committed. Get inside y our box and figure out the system or approach that best answers the need for your company and its employees. Have more meaningful conversations in your safety meetings. Use pictures of the jobsite and ask the crew what they see or don’t see in the way of safety measures. This creates life-thinking behavior.


I could have spent many hours on the phone with Br ad Deutser. His delivery and way of explaining the process creates a happy space in the brain. I recommend his book for any company that needs to have a firm footing of which to operate, grow, and thrive.

For more information:

To get your copy of Brad Deutser’s book, visit His website provides more information about the man behind the book and gives you resources, quizzes, and videos to find your clarity.