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Time for Gratitude

thank you,ke a leboga,ke a leboha,ngiyabonga,ndo livhuwa,ro livhuwa,siyabonga,enkosi,dankie,ngiyathokoza,inkomu


As leaders and safety professionals we forget to show GRATITUDE. We are looking in the rearview mirror, focusing on what went wrong, why we missed our targets and, often, who to blame.

At the end of the year, it is time for us to be grateful for what we have and to count our blessings. Think about the number of activities and tasks that are being completed by all your people, without any incident or mishap. They run into the millions. Let me put this into perspective.

The vast majority of these activities are done out of habit (routine), without conscious thought. That is where your training and systems are paying off.

Consider a simple task, like driving a vehicle. I get into the seat (hopefully after walking around the vehicle and doing my pre-start check), fasten my seat belt, check the mirrors, start the engine, switch on the lights, engage the reverse gear, look left and right, release the handbrake, check the mirrors again, apply gas, steer the vehicle to the right and left and turn, apply the brakes and then take a breather — all this just to get out of my driveway at home!

To complete the task of getting to work safely, I will have to perform hundreds of activities such as this and more (using indicators, changing lanes, accelerating, braking, keeping an eye on the traffic, stopping, etc.). Each one of these I accomplish successfully, without incident and without conscious thought, but each one has the potential of leading to an occurrence which could result in damage, an injury, a fatality and, most definitely, lost time.

Now, multiply these hundreds of activities by the tenfold of tasks or jobs that each of your employees completes every day, by the number of employees, contractors and visitors on your site every day, and finally, by the number of working days this year, and you will have to add a large number of zeros to your figure of gratitude.

This also puts into perspective why ZERO HARM is such a tough goal to achieve.

Please count your blessings and let your people know how indebted you are to them for having done so well, as you cannot even express this ratio:

number of incidents and near hits
number of activities completed

Be safe – the SIMPLY SMART way,


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GM – Madiba Magic

♦♦♦    MADIBA MAGIC    ♦♦♦
Dec 2013
Honouring Madiba

Together with a deep sense of sorrow and loss, I feel immense gratitude for Madiba. I am grateful for having experienced a ‘living legend’ who was able and willing to take the ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. This icon of peace left a legacy which influenced this country, indeed the whole world. What a blessing for us all. Let’s celebrate his life, rather than mourn his death.

How did he do this? He shared with us his DREAM of peace through nation building and reconciliation. He stood on the steps of the union building and said: “Never, never and never again … ” He convinced this country, and the ANC hardliners, WHY they should follow his lead. Madiba walked his talk. He was a man of ACTION. He was serious about his dream. He used his ‘Madiba Magic’ on young and old, because he truly cared for ALL people. He remains the ultimate leadership role model. He travelled to Orania on 15 August 1995 to wish ‘tannie Betsie Verwoerd’ a happy birthday. This was reconciliation in ACTION, for the whole world to see.

With the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Madiba had the insight and wisdom to masterfully use the unifying power of sport. This is what I wrote regarding that event, in my book, Life EduAction:

June 24 in 1995 was a turning point. That day the hopes of the South African nation rested on the shoulders of those 15 players of the national rugby team. The capacity crowd burst forth into chanting: “Nelson, Nelson, Nelson … ” when President Mandela, or Madiba as he is fondly known, entered the stadium, wearing the captain’s No. 6 jersey. Madiba magic at its best. This world class statesman knew exactly what he would achieve by this simple, yet so powerful gesture. He had the astuteness to recognise the opportunity to inspire the team, unify the nation and take reconciliation a giant leap forward. This day was a ‘man on the moon’ type of achievement for all South Africans. Bishop Tutu reflected later that “Winning the rugby world cup was a single event that changed the history of this country.” The rainbow nation was finally born.

How can we forget how Nelson Mandela steered us to safer waters after the massacre of 45 people at Boipatong in the Vaal Triangle in June 1992? Or the tipping point on the afternoon of the 10th of April, 1993, when Chris Hani was assassinated outside his home in Boksburg? Madiba lead us from the very real prospect of civil war, to lasting peace!

Lala Ngoxolo Mkhulu wethu othandekayo


If you want to pay homage to this awesome human being, then take lessons from his legacy and apply them to your area of influence:

  • Have a safety DREAM; share this with all your people and have the courage to dream BIG.
  • Make sure your people understand WHY safety is important and that they take safety home as well.
  • Find opportunities to see and be seen – you are serious about safety.
  • Become a living safety legend. When people see you they must think and see safety.


Your comments and feedback are always welcome!

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