This one is a melting pot of ideas and perspectives. Learning about microlearning, learning from gifted kids, and all of this from a chemical engineering Ph.D. You’ll like this one.
Hey, it’s Andrew, and this is Safety on Tap.
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! And of course, welcome back to all of you wonderful regular listeners.
My guest today is Kirstine Hulse. Three things caught my attention when I first met Kirstine. She is a chemical engineer, who ended up in a really diverse range of roles including health and safety. She’s embraced microlearning as a way of improving Health and Safety, not because it’s cool but because it has worked for her. And she is a leader in the field of gifted kids education. She is currently the General Manager of Health and Safety at Cavalier Bremworth, the carpet industry legends in New Zealand, and is a Director at the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education. I thought we might learn a thing or two, and did she deliver.
Here’s Kirstine:

Did you see how I was fishing for Kirstine to reinforce that I might have been a gifted child, and she didn’t take the bait?! Ah, the trials and tribulations….never mind!
Here’s my three takeaways from that chat with Kirstine Hulse:
Takeaway #1: Be an explorer, not simply a leader. The words we use matter. We spend a LOT of time talking about leadership and not having enough of it. Often the finger is pointed at others. What about us? What if you are a great leader, are you also an explorer? Is that something that resonates with you? It reminds me of previous guest and friend of the show Wade Needham’s well-worn quote: have strong views, but hold them loosely. Could you, should you, be more of an explorer? What would that look, sound, and feel like?
Takeaway #2: It’s all about people. I tried to poke Kirstine when I intimated that her saying this seems at odds with being an engineer – and she didn’t miss a beat, being clear about why and how that makes sense. I know you get that, all the time, from me. What if you did an audit on yourself, and the scope is your people-focus? How much time and energy do you spend focused on people, and what else do you spend your time on? I did this not long ago and realised I was severely deficient ingratitude – which I have committed time and energy to address.
Takeaway #3: Microlearning has great potential to help you improve learning, and in turn performance in your organisation. But you can’t copy Kirstine. She looked at the science, and looked at her context, and started with some hypotheses she wanted to test this approach. Performance is the centre, and learning is the enabler. How can we use good science to improve this? That stuff is music to my ears. Maybe there is an experiment shaping up in your mind….
I know this is a jam-packed episode, but as we were going there were some other episodes that came to mind to help you follow some of the ideas we discussed.
Four other episodes you might want to listen to are:
Ep 38 with Michelle Oberg. Kirstine mentioned the potential to use microlearning to introduce psychology into learning, and used the example of ‘locus of control’. In my chat with Michelle, she walked us through her research, part of which looked at how locus of control might affect safety, in particular, what happens when you give operational teams almost full control over how they manage safety, and how you can boost people’s locus of control. The show notes of that episode also contain links to some locus of control research and questionaries.
Ep 75 with Mykel Dixon, where he suggested that the future belongs to the artists. Kirstine mentioned that one thing we can learn from the gifted education space is that there is amazing creativity in people if we create the conditions for that to be expressed. Mykel’s worldview in episode 75 might give you some ideas to do that.
Ep 58 is called ‘Look up and Out’. This episode riffs on Kirstine’s assertion that getting different people in your health and safety team is a good thing, and that the same opportunity reveals itself in the gifted education space: embrace diversity of thought. Don’t be limited by the obvious or visible sources of diversity – sometimes the craziest or silliest perspective or ideas or thinking are the most valuable. The question is


how can we explore those? Episode 58 will both motivate you to look up and out beyond your normal world view and give you some suggestions for places to look.
And finally, in Ep 123, I ask you a question: How Much Human? Dig into that one to see what I think the answer is, my view is that it’s really quite a simple answer and one which is very actionable.
Thanks so much for listening. 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!