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Personal Development: 1% Better = 1% Safer

20th February 2021

Post 12-02-2021 800px-1

The 1% Safer movement - a focus on continuous improvement to create meaningful change - is applicable across a broad range of areas in organisational life. The philosophy can be implemented at both a micro and macro scale, from the individual all the way to the organisation as an entire entity. 

At a micro level, the 1% safer philosophy is applicable to personal development. After all, improving ourselves and understanding ourselves has a flow-on effect on others, and is a critical process. 

By adjusting how we think, or behave, by just 1% each day, it’s possible to improve motivation, energy and enthusiasm - not to mention, a sense of happiness and wellbeing. It’s an important but often overlooked starting point to become safer, healthier and happier.

From an organisational perspective, personal development holds the key to a motivated, energised workforce that engages with a functioning safety culture. Improving people by 1% can tangibly make New Zealand one percent safer. 

Beyond the classic self-improvement tasks - enough sleep, frequent exercise, healthy food - a more underestimated area of personal development is the art of self-reflection. Self-reflection is a useful skill that requires taking a short window of time out of your day to sit down and reflect, asking yourself valuable questions to know yourself better.


Understanding yourself

The first area of self-reflection examines who you are and what you spend your time doing.

We spend a considerable amount of our lives at work, which can either be a good or bad thing, depending on multiple factors.

Begin by asking yourself: 

  •  - Who am I?
  •  - What do I like to do? 
  •  - Where do I want to work/am I happy in my role?

Ask personal questions and unpack the motivations that underpin your hopes and dreams. If you’re in a role that is severely detrimental to your own wellbeing, you're far less likely to be motivated to engage with safety and workplace systems (we don’t blame you!). 

Finding work that is meaningful to you is essential for a sense of purpose. An inspired and enthused employee is far more likely to ‘buy in’ to company culture and contribute and commit to improving safety. 

Sir Cary Cooper, who contributed to the One Percent Safer book, noted a valuable point: happy workers are healthy workers. Put simply, workers who aren’t happy in their job will be far less likely to engage in healthy work behaviours or safety protocol. 

Ultimately, knowing your own motivation and life goals can help you clarify what you find important and valuable. You can either use your reflection to help guide you to a new role, or have a deeper understanding of what motivates you in your current role, and therefore what to prioritise in a time of crisis. 

  • -.strengths & weaknesses


It's useful to take an objective perspective of yourself, and have a think about which tasks come easily to you, and where you tend to struggle. 

Questions to answer: 

  •  - What tasks or skills am I good at? 
  •  - Where do I struggle to remain motivated? 
  •  - Are there any areas of weakness in my working life? 

There is no shame in admitting weakness. Rather, it’s a useful exercise that can expand your own self-awareness. Someone who knows their own strengths and limitations can form valuable opinions about which tasks are achievable and realistic for them. Self-awareness leads to effective delegation. 

A manager or leader who knows where they thrive can capitalise on this knowledge. A team who knows their own strengths and weaknesses become stronger - and are less likely to experience serious incidents as a result of inability or uncertainty. 

  • -.cope with stress

Finally, engage in self-reflection to consider how you function under pressure. 

Questions to answer: 

 - What stresses you out at work - deadlines, endless meetings, or task magnitude? 
 - How do you react to stress? Do you delegate and prioritise? Or do you shut down and internalise your struggle?
 - What kind of worker are you? Do you work best in short bursts, or do you prefer to chip away at tasks over time? 

Knowing how you react to stress is critical. Understanding your response to sudden problems helps you mitigate the outcomes of negative situations. You can plan your course of action, allowing some wiggle-room for the unexpected. Self-reflection takes away the surprise factor. 

If, for example, you know you need 10 minutes to decompress before decision-making, factor that into your meeting schedules. If you need to hear the calming voice of a designated colleague who can reassure you, keep them in close contact and let them know how they could help. 

Negative stress reactions can have disastrous results. One Percent Safer book contributor Dr Theo Compernolle discusses how distraction can lead to disastrous consequences. His piece uses the example of parents leaving their children in hot cars, inadvertently yet tragically causing their death. He notes distraction being a critical risk factor. Understanding how we behave under pressure (are we distracted? Frenzied?) helps to mitigate and reduce the likelihood of similarly tragic situations.

Finally, understanding how you work best, allows you to plan your day according to your style. Either set your tasks to suit you, or discuss your working style with your manager. If working in short bursts is your preferred method, be aware that long arduous tasks could be a potential source of stress - and vice versa. 


Final Words

These self-reflection exercises are designed to be simple ways that help you to deepen your self-understanding. Self-reflection leads to self-acceptance helping construct the life you want. Having a degree of awareness surrounding how you may react in a crisis is incredibly useful and can come in handy, when the inevitable occurs. 


  1. Want to know more about the 1% Safer Movement in New Zealand? Visit onepercentsafer.co.nz or join in our webinar series. ecoPortal health and safety software can also help your business. Try a demo or get in touch with the team at ecoPortal.



Jessica Strick

Marketing Copywriter

Jess loves being part of the brainstorming, researching and creating scene at ecoPortal. In her spare time, she’s either rearranging her room, discussing the ethics of social media, or training for pole vault.

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