his is a cheeky episode, halfway between episode 199 and episode 200, with two really short messages for you - an invitation and a request.
First, I want you to be a part of episode 200!
In exactly the same way that phones are only as good as having people to talk to, a team is only a team because of who is part of it, and roads only exist because cars needed something to drive on, a podcast is only a podcast because of you, the listener!
I should say listeners, plural, since there are thousands of you all over the globe. What better way to celebrate the 200th Safety on Tap podcast episode, than to get together, in realtime, so we can connect and learn and grow as a community?!
I know her personally, we were part of a business group a few years ago.
Having gotten far more focussed and proactive with my overall financial goals and position in recent years, I asked this Financial Planner to come over and help us plan our finances.
We prepared a lot, laid it all out - mortgage situation, credit, assets, a business, a family trust, a farming partnership, superannuation (401k), insurances, cash position, investments.....it was all there.
I wanted the Financial Planner to help challenge and refine our Financial Plans.
I was confused when she kept suggesting that we really should buy more shares, and certainly move our insurances somewhere else. I just wanted a few hours of planning help I would gladly pay for.
She left saying she would send some info, and I actually didn't hear from her.
It turns out the Financial Planner isn't interested in helping people with their financial planning, but to push them towards products and services for which they get a commission.
Call me naive, I was still surprised. And I didn't get what I wanted.
So I laughed when today's email said 'We've got solutions for all your finance needs' - EXCEPT THE ACTUAL PLANNING PART OF FINANCIAL PLANNING.
My guest today is Antony Malmo.
Antony is a self described Wellbeing Smuggler, Jargon Cutter, Systems Wrangler, and C-suite Whisperer. He's a director at Allos Australia, an organisation that approaches workplace mental health systemically; from EAP support and Psych Health and Safety, to Leadership & Strategy. He studied ecosystem science and psychology at University, and then abandoned both those career paths to spend almost a decade working with businesses in Colombia (South America), in the late 2000s, as it emerged from the world's long-running civil war. Ever since, he's been trying to understand how communities build resilience, how businesses can flourish amid uncertainty, and what the future of mental health will look like.
I like the way Antony thinks, how he connects the dots between ideas, and love how generous he is and really wanted to have a deep-dive conversation with him. Instead of keeping that to myself, I wanted you to be part of it too, so here it is, my chat with Antony Malmo:
So what's the beliefs, assumptions, and images we have that make sense of our thoughts and behaviour here? Is it that war is bad? That military aggression is unacceptable? Maybe, but it doesn't explain our blindness to so many other things equally as objectionable and far more prolonged.
No, we have different kinds of assumptions and beliefs and images about how the world works, and when those get violated. And we often don't even know about them ourselves.
We'll call these mental models.
What if you could better guide your organisation on what's most important, and be more confident about the results you can deliver? That's what today's guest is asking of all of us, assuming that’s the kind of professional we want to be.
My guest today is Professor Rob Briner, and he has had a bee in his bonnet about what people like us do, in part because of what people like Rob do. He'll explain more in a minute.
Rob is Professor of Organisational Psychology at Queen Mary University of London and at Bjørknes University College Olso Nye Høyskole, Visiting Professor Birkbeck University of London, and Cofounder & Scientific Director Center for Evidence-Based Management.
Rob's been working at bridging the sometimes enormous chasm between the actual decisions and priorities and programs people like us bring into organisations, and the evidence-based things that actually work to make things better inside organisations.
That's what he and his colleagues call evidence-based management.
And as I quickly found out, this is not about finding the 'right' answer quicker, it's about a mindset and a discipline of professional practice which I think is very well-aimed at people like us.
What words do you know people use to describe you, or your team? Not words you'd like them to say, but words they have actually said and you've heard directly or second hand?
Gandhi did it with walking and without food. Michael Pollan did it with food and a book. Al Gore did it with a film. Dave Grohl did it with Youtube in 2020, and Dave Provan did it with words in 2018. Each of them, in defence of something important. And so must you.
The word defence usually conjures up three different things for people. Either, synonyms to do with the armed forces, war, and conflict, OR, playing defence in a sporting sense where there is an attacking side (again, very military-Esque), OR, being or feeling or acting defensively in the face of a personal attack. Like a conflict.
Do any of those resonate with you as a part of your professional practice? Unfortunately, probably.
But that's not what I'm talking about today.
Today, I want you to begin to think about yourself as a defender. But not any old defender, not like the images we talked about a moment ago. No, You must be in defence, you must be a defender, like these people.
There is an enormous amount of talk about new safety approaches, in theory, compared to implementation in practice. But implementation does exist, it does show promise, and it can be done at scale.
My guests today are First Officer Bogomir Glavan and First Officer Nicholas Peterson from American Airlines Learning and Improvement Team.
This team is hyper-generous, part of their DNA is to write papers, do presentations, and speak at conferences to share their work, in the hope that it does two things: first that it helps other people, and second that it helps them improve what they are doing through that collaborative process of learning, getting feedback, and reflecting.
This conversation was pretty wide-ranging, we talk about the historical beginnings of this Safety II-informed approach to learning and improvement, and how it both differs from and compliments conventional approaches to safety.
The bottom line is this: these people are doing some of the most advanced operational learning and Safety-II in practice in the world. And just because you don't work for an airline, doesn’t mean you can't either.
I'll talk you through the best way to take these amazing insights into action after the conversation, so stick around for that.
All forward-thinking leaders are interested in strategy. But what, exactly, is the purpose of strategy?
This is the first podcast out for 2022 so for new-release listeners, happy new year!
This year I'm getting far more focussed and intentional to bring you insights from the coaching work I do with health and safety professionals, and I'll tell you why that’s like gold: it's bloody lonely doing our work. It doesn’t matter whether you are the frontline safety supervisor or the head of safety, I have been gobsmacked to see this theme emerge from our work - we feel alone, often unsupported like we don't have others on our side, and certainly, we rarely have people to talk with who understand..
Let's talk about Linkedin, humanity, and being salesy.
I am connected with tens of thousands of people, in some direct way. Whether that's someone who was seen me speak, been in a workshop, listened to my podcast, or connected on social media.
All of those are one-degree of separation, there is a direct link between me and them, between me and you.
Jerry Muller wrote a phenomenal book called the Tyranny of Metrics, which he opens by saying "the title is not meant to convey the message that metrics are intrinsically tyrannical, but rather that they are frequently used in ways that are dysfunctional and oppressive". And that, by friends, is a fitting way to begin this awesome dialogue about safety indicators and metrics. Let's begin.
"Help me get people engaged". "No one is engaged with health and safety". "Engagement around here is pretty low". Requests like this and their variations are some of the most common things people come to me for help with. Health and safety have an engagement problem, but it's not limited to that. Gallup says only 36% of workers in the US are engaged at work. And no one agrees on how we define engagement in any case. What do we do?
Kym Bancroft is an organisational psychologist turned health and safety executive, who was the head of Health and Safety at Urban Utilities. Urban Utilities is a water and sewage utility supplying 1.4 million people with clean water and flushing toilets in South-East Queensland in Australia. With thousands of employees and contractors, a high risk work environment and network to build, operate and maintain, Kym led the health and safety transformation at Urban Utilities between 2017 and 2021.
This is my live keynote speech delivered at the Safeguard 2019 Conference. The theme of the conference was Dare to Disrupt. That was an idea which I respectfully disagreed with and explained why in the opening keynote when I encouraged the audience, and you, to go disrupt yourself.
I don't think this interview needs much introduction, except to say one thing: if you are inclined to turn off because the words innovation or entrepreneurialism seem too fluffy or not relevant to you, stick with this: you'll be surprised like I was.
Here's today's guest, Liz Jackson:
I, like you, have been spending a lot of time in the same workplace for a while now, my home office. And yet despite the amount of time I spend here, it was only recently that something struck me when I saw things that had been there the whole time but hadn't recognised for what they are. My space, and probably yours, are filled with theatre props - the things which bring our professional performance to life.
Rory Gallagher is the Asia Pacific Director of the Behavioural Insights Team, and a founding member of it's parent organisation within the British Government. This work as always fascinated me, ever since I read the book Nudge, based on Nobel Prize winning work by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler.
Have you ever thought, 'well that person's response or behaviour or inion surprised me, because it didn't seem logical or rational?'. That curiosity is at the heart of this idea that heaps of government policy, regulation and regulatory activity, system design and economic theory is based on flawed assumptions about humans and behaviour. Sound familiar, health and safety?
This is a juicy episode, I hope you squeeze lots from it, here's Rory Gallagher:
It's hard to focus on things that we can't see, that aren't visible to us. It doesn't mean they aren't there, it's just that they aren't visible to us.
Having empathy for others, and appreciating that they have a perspective and experience which is 100% valid for them, can be a difficult thing to comprehend, let alone practice.
What's the risk when we use an ISO standard approach to health and safety? That we miss the point entirely. Decades of experience have revealed what happens when standards compliance and its activities become the goal, instead of the goals of actual health and actual safety the ISO standard was meant to enable. Oh, and by the way, we're going to blow the idea of new views of safety out of the water too.
Today's partner in conversation Jeremy Scrivens sort of defies description, and definitely defies categorisation. Jeremy helps leaders and organisations enable the future of work - which he labels being an Appreciative Futurist. In the way I'm described as a reformed health and safety professional, Jeremy might be a reformed HR professional. But soooo much more.
"Tried it before, and it didn't work"
These are the words that we have all said to dismiss something out of hand, to reject a very broad or general idea or approach or suggestion .
We can choose our words better, which means everyone learns more and is more informed about our experience.
Brenton Harrison shared some thoughts publicly about the extremes of new views and traditional views of safety. Here's Brenton sharing his thoughts with you.
Does philosophy really have a place in work health and safety? Here’s what I discovered.
My earlier rejection of philosophy taught me how important philosophy actually is a conscious way of living and a competent approach to professional practice.
I might be wrong, but one thing philosophy does teach us, is that it’s worth getting curious about. I certainly have become a better professional because of it.
My guest today is the ever-humble Jo Doyle.
Jo comes highly recommended to me, she has been on my potential guest list for years now. With many years experience in strategic organisational change and executive coaching, Covid created the impetus for Jo to gravitate back to her sweet spot and passion of being in Service of Well-being. She creates space for others to self-reflect, grow in awareness, and tap into their innate capability for healing towards freedom.
Am I a cook or a chef? It turns out that has nothing to do with what I wear, or whether I have a certificate, it comes down to one simple thing. And no, it's not a bad temper.
Human performance is not just focussed on humans. It is about how we try to improve ourselves at work. It's not just about health and safety.
My guest today Diane Chadwick-Jones is the former Director, Human Performance for BP. She had an extensive career in BP, working in Belgium, Brazil and Egypt in operations and safety roles. She was instrumental in the refresh of the BP Values.