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My 2016 Bombshell

“You’re going to WHAT?!”

This is the response many people have given me when I have told them about the goals and plans for Fidesa in 2016.  I can understand where they are coming from, and for many people, such a response could be disenchanting.  Not for me, it steels my resolve and reinforces that I am on the right track.

Let me explain.

My first blog article was entitled “Are you a resultant”, which had some phenomenal readership and sharing.  For those who didn’t read it, I reflected on what a health and safety professional should be focussed on (results) and not all the fluff in the middle we obsess over (like systems, procedures, audits etc), the mere means to achieve these results.

That’s always been my philosophy, and I’m improving how I put it into practice as life goes on.

So started thinking about my business, which helps businesses manage change and achieve results in the areas of WHS, environment, quality and risk.  When people ask me what I do, I tell them I solve problems.  Shouldn’t we all? After squinting and looking a little sideways, they ask “so, do you do procedures and audits and stuff?”.  It seems quite abstract, and thus difficult to convince people I can help them.

When people ask me what I do, I tell them I solve problems.  Shouldn’t we all?

Health and safety has always been my passion and my strong suit, so I wanted to focus on solving the biggest problems.  Zero harm? Fair to say that we can pronounce it dead, and many thought leaders are helping shape the new path.  Squeezing more out of the diminishing returns for corporates in industries that have spent decades making gains in WHS performance? Not for me (though that’s where most people fight for the ‘best’ jobs and consulting work).

No, the biggest problem is in small and medium enterprise (SMEs).  WHS is too hard, complicated, non-value-adding, a burden, too compliance focused – the list goes on.  Yet, SMEs create the vast majority of Australian businesses, create the vast majority of employment and about half of Australia’s GDP, so they arguably need the most help.

There are no WHS jobs in this market.  There are some consultants, often selling snake oil to unknowing and unsuspecting SMEs, and few adding real value – and it’s hard to sell conventional consulting services into a price sensitive market and still feed the kids.  And the regulators? Well they are trying, but I argue that looking at problems with a compliance lens will always be limiting (and some actually acknowledge they are struggling to support SMEs).  Not to mention that SMEs hate regulation.  Full stop.

Why am I telling you this, since most of you don’t work in SMEs?

We’re attempting to make a real difference in health and safety for SMEs, as many as we are able to help.  This starts with giving value away for free, LOTS of it.  I’m sick of businesses being charged for ‘systems’ and ‘training’ and ‘SWMS’, so I’m going to be giving it away, and focussing on helping SMEs do the hard work – to see the really important stuff, communicate it simply, motivate change, and guide them to take action to improve.  Plain and simple.  We’re starting in South Australia, sharing a message of change (like on the radio recently) and working our way around, listening to health and safety stories from SMEs and addressing the barriers they tell us about.

Your part to play

There is no way that I can know all the businesses who might benefit from a new, fresh and practical approach.  This is not a pitch.  What I am asking of each of you, my Linkedin connections, is to think about the 1, 2 or 3 small business owners you know, who are motivated BUT may be a little wary of ‘all this health and safety stuff (insert alternative negative descriptor/expletive)’.

Feel free to point them to the following link, or they can get in touch with me directly for the free stuff.

As humans, we have empathy for the uphill battle of SMEs, so understand the importance of lightening their load.  As safety professionals, you can give back to a sector that you have probably not had much to do with, and probably won’t in the future.

And I’ll keep you in the loop.  In 12 months time I will come back to you, and tell you what’s been achieved to help SMEs improve health and safety.



MEDIA RELEASE – Revolution in small and medium business health and safety



Revolution in small and medium business health and safety

22 February 2016

Having kicked off 2016 with an ambitious new year’s resolution, Fidesa, a new player in the work health and safety space, is starting a revolution in health and safety support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

It’s no secret that SMEs make up the vast majority of employers (>90%), create the majority of jobs (~70%), and drive our economy forward (~46% GDP) in Australia.

It’s less well known that the workplace health and safety (WHS) record of small and medium business needs substantial improvement, as reflected in the strategic objectives of WHS regulators across Australia.

In addition, business conditions for SMEs are tough, which challenges the priority placed upon and investment made in health and safety, compounding the often negative attitudes small and medium business have to health and safety.

Existing assistance is frequently of questionable value: compliance based, heavily paperwork focussed, or ignoring critical people and culture barriers versus enablers.

The form of the assistance can also present a challenge: priced high, inflexibly delivered, and confusingly communicated.  Direct employment of suitable specialist advice is often not an option.

As a result, SMEs can fail to manage their risks effectively, and miss out on the economic opportunities that good health and safety brings to their business overall, beyond reduction in death, injury and illness.


Introducing Safety. Simple. Powered by Fidesa. 

Chief Change Agent at Fidesa, Andrew Barrett, said:

“This is workplace and health and safety like you have never seen it before.

“Our mission is to help those with the least help but the most to gain in improving health and safety – that is small and medium business.  They contribute so much to so many people’s lives, and Australia’s prosperity at-large.

“So our goal is to give back.  We are changing the game, facilitating change in a way quite different to conventional WHS approaches.

“We’re also creating a model which delivers amazing value through a suite of support options, with pricing that improves accessibility for small and medium budgets.

“Fidesa is seeking out SMEs who are open to the potential: that improving health and safety performance is a good investment in their business.

“And for those who aren’t committed or not yet convinced – we’ll show them value they have not seen before.”

More information about Fidesa’s ambitious plans for SMEs is available at



Media Enquiries

Andrew Barrett

M: 0422 403 506





Notes to editors

Fidesa is located in regional South Australia, and helps a range of clients throughout Australia manage change and deliver results in the areas of workplace health and safety, environment and risk management.

Fidesa on the Radio!

It was a pleasure to speak to Brad and Nicki from the business show “For Buck’s Sake” on BBBFM 89.1 Barossa.

I was excited about the opportunity to spread the ‘safety differently’ message – and by different, I mean simpler, more positive, more business/commercially focussed.

Have a listen below, I would love your thoughts!

Are you a resultant?

Are you a resultant?

When I first started as a safety, health, environment and quality (HSEQ) advisor, I found myself shocked that my performance targets included outcome measures like LTIFR, MTIFR and energy consumption. Rather immaturely, my argument was that this was unfair since I had no control over those results – they were measures for the line managers who controlled the workplace, the work tasks and the workforce.

As an HSEQ advisor, my role was to advise – use my skills, knowledge and expertise in risk management, legal compliance, management systems, auditing and a raft of other things to assist those line managers with control to achieve better HSEQ outcomes. So I saw my role as accountable for the means, not the results.

Stephen Covey is best known for his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change“. Covey introduces the concept of circle of concern and circle of influence. In short, effective people focus their energy in the circle of influence – on the things that are changeable, even if you don’t control them directly. Influence (and control) can grow as a result. Covey describes these people as proactive people. Reactive people on the other hand spend lots of energy in the circle of concern, on things they neither control nor influence. You can be really busy in that space, going nowhere fast.

Sometimes HSEQ professionals can unwittingly find themselves confined to the circle of concern. Not because they are unintelligent, but because they lose sight of the results. It’s an easy trap to fall into. HSEQ people are generally systems-focussed. This encourages religious-like faith in a system as THE means to the ends, often becoming an end in itself. Procurement policies, certification requirements, internal and external auditing can all drive this.


HSEQ professionals can have control and influence over their systems but are they getting the right outcomes, the right results? That’s what we need to focus on. If your system looks great in desktop audits but implementation is an issue, the HSEQ team is failing to influence. It is harsh, but true. Poor implementation almost always means failing to achieve the desired results. And if we ‘fix’ implementation problems by doing the doing for someone else we’re still failing to influence. The best analogy for this is the old, but relevant saying “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish and he eats for a lifetime”

The size of the challenge should not be underestimated and many readers may have heard comments such as “But it’s the culture of the company”. “It’s the senior managers who don’t listen”. “It’s the industry we’re in”. “It’s a lack of resources”. “But it’s the economy”. These kinds of statements, these excuses, originate in the circle of concern. They are symptoms of a lack of influence and indicate that more effort or creative thinking is needed to expand that influence.

I realised more effort and influence was required when I accepted that I shared the same targets as my line management customers. To borrow Warren Buffet’s phrase for this context, I had skin in the game – but little, if any, control. My best option was to focus all my energy in the circle of influence, to build relationships, to communicate effectively, to demonstrate the value of the means – in the hope that the means achieved the desired results. And they did.

6 behaviours of resultants

  1. You spend your time in, and growing, your circle of influence
  2. You minimise energy expended in the circle of concern and you are ok to let those things go
  3. You measure your team’s performance on true results, and the quality, creativity and innovation used to achieve them
  4. You focus the need for change on results, not hiding behind legislation, ‘the system’ or some other person’s edict
  5. You find that all kinds of people come to you – you don’t need to chase (your internal customers engage, senior leaders take your calls or respond quickly and are generous with their time)
  6. You share thoughts & ideas freely and fearlessly so others might learn and grow

I now go to work every day to help businesses protect people, to operate sustainably within their environment and to keep customers satisfied – results. I have skin in the game. I am not a consultant, I am a resultant. We all should be.