Organisational Development #4

Organisational Development #4

Leadership and Safety

Organisational Development

Outdoors Queensland encourages our Green Circle Members and other businesses operating in the outdoor sector to review the way they manage their businesses, and provides appropriate easy access resources.

We have developed this set of resources because we believe there is a need for small to medium business in the outdoor sector to improve the way they operate, manage staff, market and present themselves to their potential clients.

We have engaged Andrew Murray, from Applied Adventure, to deliver a series of articles on the topic of Organisational Development and to facilitate a Workshop (see below) to explore the issues, the options and the way forward.

Return to the Organisational Development page


Leadership and Safety

November last year, I lead some interesting work.  This was in my “non-corporate” time.

In my capacity as “Work Safely at Heights Supervisor” I was engaged by the British television company ITV to run the height safety for both their film crews and the celebrities in a “live” episode of the British version of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” at a site with rocky cliffs and deep gorges in SE Qld

I engaged three of my similarly skilled and qualified associates and spent 3 days on this job.  Day 1 was a recce day to sort what they wanted to do, Day 2 was a setup day where we got rigs ready or at least decided how to rig what and Day 3 was filming.

On the day we had 5 of 3-man camera/sound crews on rock along with 4 celebrities, their WHS adviser and sundry others. Everyone had to be safe.  Oh yeah and their cameras were worth $170k each so they were pretty keen to look after them too.

Interestingly, the easiest person to keep safe was the cameraman who we hung 10 metres down the  30 m abseil cliff.  Once he was harnessed up and provided with a bosun’s chair, we lowered him and his camera into place and tied him off – he was going nowhere and behaved impeccably (he had no choice).

The most difficult was another cameraman who saw us as nuisances and said so.  We smiled and spent the day ensuring that anytime he went near an edge, we clipped him into a fall restraint system.  To be honest – this was a pain and took up time and effort that the others did not require.

However, no one was hurt, and we received very complimentary feedback from our clients about our speed, skill and obsession with safety.

Oh, and by the way – we had fun!  One of our riggers suffers from dry skin and had Nivea in his kit – he was the brunt of much hilarity during the day.  I got heaps because I am nearly 50 years older than our youngest rigger.

My point here – staying on the reluctant cameraman’s case was a leadership job – we provided for him what he couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for himself at the time.  We recognised that this was short term and did what had to be done to get the necessary outcome – 100% survival.

In the longer term, if he worked for me, we would be having some solid conversations about the necessity to stay safe.  First simply because I care and second because it’s me who gets hung out to dry if something happens to him.

There is no formula for leadership – you may have some sound principles, but how they hit the ground often depends on what’s going on at the time.  No one approach works all the time, so you have to think and evaluate how to apply the principles at the time.

How are you going applying the principles outlined in your SOPs?

Are you cheerful and flexible in your approach?

What could you do more of in order to be more effective?

It’s worth standing back from the action occasionally and thinking about these things, good leadership takes time, it also gets people on board – and that’s when good things really start happening!

Andrew Murray
Applied Adventure
0427 740 642

About the Author: Andrew Murray

My name is Andrew Murray.

I have been active in business in the Outdoor Education, Adventure Based Training and Ropes Course Construction/Inspection/Operation arenas for the past 25 years.

As well, I have been fortunate in that many corporate clients have seen the potential of good facilitation for consultancy/indoor work and offered me opportunities to work in the consulting field.

My experience and activity in working “indoors” and “out”  have lead to some phenomenally interesting and rewarding work both in Australia and overseas.

I have worked for some “biggies”, like Boeing Australia; John Deere; Talisman Energy; BHP Billiton; Anglo Coal, Intergen, Coca Cola as well as literally hundreds of small to medium Australian businesses.

In 1988, I did an Associate Diploma in Outdoor Education at BCAE; this was funded by the proceeds of a small business my wife and I owned and operated in NQ for the preceding two years.  She too undertook studies that year.

A happy accident that year was an internship with Project Adventure USA in Hamilton Mass. I spent a month and a half at their facility “The Iron Rail” living in  a hut in the middle of their ropes course and working with such luminaries as Karl Rohnke and Paul Radcliffe.

I went over mainly to learn how to build climbing walls, but fell into a load of education and learning about both ropes course construction and adventure based counselling.

I came back to Australia and started my own business “Applied Adventure” in around 1991.  Shortly afterwards I went into partnership and half owned and operated “Synergy Applied Adventure” until this year, when I decided it was time for a solo run to the finish line.  Applied Adventure, Hitch Consulting and Rope Monkeys Australia are the mechanisms for that run.

During my time in business, I have been fortunate to have some phenomenal mentors and colleagues from whom I have learned heaps, among these are Bob Dick – Organisational Psychologist extraordinaire; Karl Rohnke – all round unbelievable outdoor guru and a host of others.  I have been fortunate in developing a broad repertoire of skills and knowledge in all things business leadership.  While I recognise the critical importance of good management to business success, it is the area of leadership that fascinates me and continues to be the focus of my corporate work.  Broadly speaking, I believe that the primary function of leadership is the development of sustainable and productive community and culture.

Currently I am working part time for a local government in the Northern Rivers as a “Corporate Trainer” and spending my other time on startup of the new businesses and having adventures.

My “formal” qualifications include a Diploma of Primary Teaching; Graduate Diploma Education (Outdoor Ed); Wilderness First Responder First Aid; Work Safe at Heights Supervisor; Confined Space Work; Intermediate Chainsaw Operations….

I am currently working towards a Sea Kayaking Instructors qualification.

I am married with a 23 y/o son and live in the Numinbah Valley.  My interests include everything outdoors, reading, leatherwork and relearning how to ride a motorbike after 40 years out of the saddle.

I am convinced that in this business relationships are everything.  Your network is gold, suppliers and colleagues are as important as clients – and personal connections which are mutually beneficial are what makes work sustainable and satisfying.

My other strong belief is that it’s easy but ultimately unsatisfying to follow the pack.  Creating a “value monopoly” is a smart thing to do whereby what you offer is something that distinguishes you from the pack for some clients who come to you for something that they want and simply can’t get anywhere else!

Andrew Murray
Applied Adventure
0427 740 642

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