This is Safety on Tap!

I’m your host Andrew Barrett, and since you’re listening in, you must be a leader wanting to grow yourself and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Welcome to you, you’re in the right place.  If this is your first time listening in, thanks for joining us and well done for trying something different to improve!

Today I’m joined by Dr Sarah Colley from Pockets of Brilliance.  This episode is made possible by Safety On Tap Connected the world’s first professional growth accelerator for health and safety professionals.

If you are invested in your own development and improvement, this is right for you.  For the price of about 3 coffee’s a week, you can accelerate your development and your effectiveness with access to an amazing learning community, educational content like you’ve never been taught before, and you get 1:1 online coaching with me – your personal coach to help you accelerate your growth.  This combination of things would usually be out of reach of most health and safety professionals, which is the very reason why we developed it – for you.  If you want to know more, your first step is to head over to, and your second step would be to join our waiting list.

I’ve had Sarah’s partner in crime Jonathan Lincolne on to chat on episode 47, when we talk about the work Pockets of Brilliance does and their 5i change methodology.  If you haven’t listened to that episode, make sure you do, since Sarah and Jonathan are like two peas in a pod!

So Sarah is an organisational psychologist who has never had a real job, and thinks that she would suck at one anyway.  So instead Sarah leads Pockets of Brilliance, a research and implementation group based in Brisbane Australia.  Sarah and her team have decades of success, dozens of companies all over the world and thousands of people who have benefitted from their human-centred approach to change.  Whilst they are without doubt specialists in health and safety, they’ve realised that culture, people and change are much broader….which Sarah explains more in our conversation.  So we cover a bit about culture and climate and the difference between these, the research that led Sarah into this space, and what they’ve learned by putting research into practice.  Here’s Sarah:


Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Sarah Colley:

  1. Be a ninja, like Sarah.  Some of the stereotypes of a health and safety person is as a crusader, a teller, an enforcer, a zealot.  Now that’s not always bad, but sometimes we get blinded by our own passion and enthusiasm, which means we are perceived to be pushy, tactless and un-strategic.  I love Sarah’s image of the ninja in contrast – reflective, planned, thoughtful, agile, but swift and decisive when the time is right.  If you think you or your team are a little gung-ho, channel your inner ninja, and see if you can’t be more cunning about how you communicate, engage and drive change.
  2. Understand climate and culture.  My personal perspective on this is this: I learned about climate and culture, found it to be very loose and vague, and sort of put it to the side as I just leaned into the work of a health and safety professional.  But I came back to it because the concepts of culture and climate are critical to us understanding the big picture, that health and safety doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  And it especially reinforces the idea that it’s not all about health and safety, which can feel confronting if we feel like we are overstepping our role.  Bottom line is this – I don’t think you can be effective unless you have a solid understanding of culture and climate.  If you couldn’t have a comfortable conversation with me about it, you’ve got homework to do.  This link is a starting point for that homework, plus included in my handwritten reflection the 4 quadrant model Sarah mentioned.  You can get access to my handwritten reflection notes for each episode, which includes a personal reflection template for yourself, if you jump on our mailing list RIGHT BELOW!
  3. Take action.  This isn’t specific to this episode, but a core component of your ongoing growth and development.  When it comes to research, Sarah mentioned that much of it never gets turned into action in the real world.  Sometimes that’s because it’s not great research.  But research is only as good as the action that happens from the insights it uncovers.  So if you read something, turn it into action.  Reflective practice is a great way to help you structure how to do this, so go back and listen to Ep 23 with Tim Allred to learn more about that.  If you want to know more about how to take action on what you learn as a framework for professional development, I’m actually putting together a free course which teaches you about the learning frameworks which have made me successful, and how I use these now to help members of Safety on Tap Connected.  Whilst the course is most helpful to managers of teams to help them improve how they do professional development, it’s just as useful for individual professionals.  If you are interested in that free course, send me an email with the subject line “free course” and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Seeya!

Click here for your FREE download of my handwritten notes, PLUS a reflection template for you to use for this episode.  

I’ll also send you the links to all the available back-catalogue of reflection templates so you can access these at any time.