Today I’m joined by Louise Howard from Transport for NSW.

This episode is made possible by Safety on Tap Connected – a far more leveraged approach to professional development. 

There is no shortage of knowledge out there in the world – you can pretty much Google anything these days, and get the same kind of knowledge you might from a training course or conference.  But what’s missing, why aren’t we so much smarter and more effective?

Because it’s not just about knowledge.  It’s having the right kind of knowledge, and only enough, that you can apply it in practice, you can tap into your networks, and leverage your everyday experience to improve.  Traditional professional development just doesn’t cut it anymore, which is why we created Safety on Tap Connected – the growth accelerator based on the principles behind more effective learning, action, and performance.  Be part of a learning community, get access to targeted knowledge, and be driven to improve with the help of me, your professional coach.

It doesn’t matter where you are in your professional journey, this combination of things will help you get from where you are, to where you want to go.

Have a think about whether your professional development dollar is better invested in a one day conference, or 12 months membership of Safety on Tap Connected.  Find out more at


Today’s episode:

Louise Howard leads health and safety at one of Sydney’s largest infrastructure projects right now – a new metro line extending into Sydney’s North West.

Louise is an action-researcher, which means learning through research, generally inside the place you work.  She’s curious about the relationship between leadership and safety performance on this project, which she spoke about at the 2018 OHS Leaders Summit which was on a few days prior to this interview going live.  Despite this, our conversation today took an interesting turn.  The OHS Leaders Summit is the only event in Australia specifically designed for the Group Heads of health, safety and wellbeing. It offers a unique combination of standout speakers, industry thought leaders, networking and personalised meetings with the leading suppliers of products and services, meaning you can leverage the best of what’s out there to help your health, safety and wellbeing programs succeed.  They are now planning for their first US event which will be later in 2018, and for the next Aussie Summit in 2019.

Visit to find out more and submit your expression of interest to attend.  I had the pleasure of being the Master of Ceremonies of this event, which was jam packed full of quality speakers, delegates and sponsors which makes for an excellent event for the senior leaders out there.

Here’s Louise:

I thought that we were going to have a conversation about leadership and safety performance, which is the burning question in Louise’s mind at the moment.  But we ended up going down a pleasant diversion, about learning, development, and professional effectiveness.  You might think that is clever planning and production on my part, but nothing could be further from the truth! It just goes to show when you engage in open conversation and build a relationship, amazing things emerge that you can’t predict.  There’s a big lesson in that for all of us.


So, here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Typhoon Louise:


Takeaway #1: Don’t judge a book by its cover.  This one grabbed my attention because I consciously do avoid this, but it takes effort.  The amount of times I will look at a book cover, or a podcast title, or an article headline and think “Not interested”, or “Same again”, or “Nothing new there”… happens all the time – which makes me more curious, it allows me to be surprised, to look for the unusual, to explore new ideas or concepts or perspectives.  And you know what? I’m intellectually richer as a result, and it sounds like Louise is too.


Takeaway #2: Harness the enormous power of feedback and reflection.  Typhoon Louise, or Bull in a China Shop as she has also been known, knew this was her reputation – but it was only with a good amount of reflection that she focussed on the impact this was having, good and bad, and became intentional about her development in order to become more effective.  She hasn’t compromised who she is, she just got clear on a more effective way to use her skills and talents.  This kind of reflection is powerful, especially when you combine it with a community of people, and a coach like me, which you can do as a member of Safety on Tap Connected.


Takeaway#3: Your relationships will enable your effectiveness.  Louise talked about their contract structure, and how she invests in relationships as the enabler of the results she wants, going beyond what’s contractually required.  She talked about the relationships she builds internally, especially going upstream to influence commercial, planning and design considerations.


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!


Here’s your FREE download of:
 – my handwritten notes, PLUS a reflection template for you to use for this episode.  
 – The full transcript of this episode.  
I’ll also send you the links to all the available back-catalogue of reflection templates and transcripts so you can access these at any time.