Could empathy and compassionate curiosity be the silver bullet?

Today I am reposting a blog I did for Action4AgricultureChat to allow me to  also repost this wonderful post from The Ethics Centre “I’m sorry *if* I offended you”: How to apologise better in an emotionally avoidant world

I recently signed up for a workshop with Amy Gallo,  an international expert in dealing with difficult people

If we are honest with ourselves we can all be difficult to deal with if some-one touches the wrong buttons at the wrong time.

I manage a capability building program for young people who are “doers” and changemakers

I often find myself fielding calls asking for advice on how to handle people who are resistant to change

The first thing I say is “This is not my area of expertise”

Whilst I have done multiple workshops across the world with world class experts like Amy. Its one thing to learn the theory, its another to put into into practice, another to find safe spaces to practice it and the mega important one finding the role models in the Compassion Curiosity Framework space  that you can surround yourself with, learn from and channel when you need to

What my years of training has allowed me to do is identify the people who do it well and they make my heart sing

I saw an extraordinary example when I watched Series 12 Episode 2 of Call the Midwife recently

This 4 min video collates the scenes that I am referring to. Watch how Sister Julienne role models the Compassionate Curiosity Framework ( hear Kwame Christian talk about the framework here )

1. Acknowledging emotion

2. Getting curious with compassion

3. Engaging in joint problem solving

what an ideal time to extract this from Sarah Wilson The Ethics Centre post 

What *if* we offend or harm unintentionally?

I was presented with the above ethical quandary while writing this. Someone on social media commented that she’d wanted to approach me recently but felt she couldn’t because she had two kids in tow at the time. She figured I’d judge her for being a “procreator” given my climate activism work and anti-consumption stance. It was an unfortunate assumption. I had only last week written about how bringing population growth into the climate crisis blame-fest is wrong, ethically and factually (it’s not how many we are, it’s how we live). 

Of course, her self-conscious pain was real. But did I need to repent if I’d done nothing wrong, and certainly not intentionally (indeed, I’d not acted, in bad faith or otherwise). 

I decided there was still a very good opportunity to switch out an “if” for a “that”. I replied: “I’m sorry that you felt….”. And I was. I didn’t want her to have that impression of judgement from another, nor to feel so self-conscious. I was sorry in the broad sense of feeling bad for her. Feeling sorry can be a sense of tapping into a collective regret for the way things are, even if you are not directly responsible. 

The real opportunity here was to take on responsibility for healing any hurt, and to speed it up. If I’d listed out and justified why this person was mistaken (wrong) in feeling as she did, I’d have also missed an opportunity to be raw and open to the broader pain of the human condition. 

Doing good apology is essentially an act in correctly apportioning the tasks required to get the outcome that we are all after, which, for most adults, is growth, intimacy and expansion. Ruttenberg makes the point that some indigenous cultures work to this (more mature) style of repentance (as opposed to cheap grace), as well as various radical restorative justice movements. I note that the authors and elders who contributed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart often remind us that the document is an invitation to all Australians to grow into our next era.  

and to help us all do it better – the full post from The Ethics Centre

“I’m sorry *if* I offended you”: How to apologise better in an emotionally avoidant world

As we gear up for a referendum on a Voice to Parliament next year, I’ve been wondering if we need to have a better look at the way we say sorry.

We live in a highly binary and individualistic world that struggles to repent well. Yet we are increasingly aware of – and flummoxed by – bad faith efforts at the gesture.  

Witness the fallout from former Prime Minister Scott Morrisons’ baffling response speech to being censured last week in which he refused to apologise to the nation. I reckon we ache to do better; we want true healing. 

We could start with looking at the way we so often insist on whacking the Almighty Absolving Qualifier “if” when we issue an “I’m sorry”. I’m sorry if you’re offended/upset/angry. We go and plug one in where a perfectly good “that” would do a far better job.  

But an “if” negates any repentant intent. Actually, worse. It gaslights. It puts up for dispute whether the hurt or offence is actually being felt and whether it is legitimate. Attention switches to the victim’s authenticity and their right to feel injured. Did you actually get hurt? Hmmm…. 

Things get even more disconcerting when the quasi-apologiser thinks they have done something gallant with their qualified “I’m sorry”. And will gaslight you again if you pull them up on the flimsiness of it. What, so you can’t even accept an apology!  

I had a rich, senior businessmen do the if-sorry job on me recently. “I’m sorry if you’re angry,” he said in a really rather small human way. Rather than standing there miffed, I replied, “Great! Yep, you definitely fucked up. And so I’m definitely and rightly angry. Now that’s established, sure, I’ll take on that you’d like to repent.” 

I heard a well-known doctor on the radio the other morning very consciously (it seemed) drop the if from the equation when he had to apologise for making remarks about a minority group (in error) in a previous broadcast. “I’m sorry I said those things. I was wrong. I’m not going to justify myself. There are no excuses. I was in the wrong,” he said. It was a good, textbook apology and he probably wouldn’t land in trouble for it. 

But, and it immediately begs, is that the point of an apology? 

For the wrongdoer to stay out of trouble? For them to neatly right a wrong by going through a small moment of awkward, vulnerable exposure? 

What about the victim? Where do they sit in apologies?

I recall listening to a radio discussion where all this was dissected. The point that grabbed me at the time was this: In our culture, the responsibility of ensuring that an apology is effective in bringing closure to a conflict mostly rests on the victim, the person being apologised to. No matter the calibre of the apology, it’s up to the person who has been wronged to be all “that’s ok, we’re sweet” about things. They are effectively responsible for making the perpetrator feel OK in their awkward vulnerable moment. (And to keep the pain shortlived.) 

And so a successful apology rests in the victim’s readiness to forgive. 

Which is all the wrong way around. At an individual-to-individual level it’s cheap grace. The wrongdoer gets absolved with so little accountability involved. 

At a macro level, say with injuries like racism or sexism, we can see the setup is about a minority class forgiving, or bowing once again, to the powerful. 

I managed to find the expert who’d led the discussion –  Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, a New York-based Rabbi and scholar who’s written a book on the matter, On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World, a title that says it all, right? 

Ruttenberg argues we are doing apologies inadequately and in a way that fails to repair the damage done precisely because we privilege forgiveness over repentance. 

So how to apologise like you mean it

Drawing on the 12th Century philosopher Maimonides, Ruttenberg sets out five steps to a proper apology. 

1. Confession

The wrongdoer fully owns that they did something wrong. There’s to be no blabbing of great intentions, or how “circumstances” conspired; no “if” qualifiers. You did harm, own it! Ideally, she says, the confession is done publicly.

2. Start to Change

Next, you the work to educate yourself, get therapy etc. Like, demonstrate you’re in the process of shifting your ways. You’re talk and trousers! 

3. Make amends

But do so with the victim’s needs in mind. What would make them feel like some kind of repair was happening? Cash? Donate to a charity they care about? 

4. OK, now we get to the apology!

The point of having the apology sitting right down at Step 4 is so that by the time the words “I’m sorry” are uttered, we, as the perpetrator, are engaged and own things. The responsibility is firmly with us, not the victim. By this late stage in the repenting process we are alive to how the victim felt and genuinely want them to feel seen. It’s not a ticking of a box kinda thing. Plus, we’ve taken the responsibility for bringing about closure, or healing, out of the victim’s hands. 

 5. Don’t do it again

OK, so this is a critical final step. But there’s a much better chance the injury won’t be repeated if the person who did the harm has complete the preceding four steps, according to Ruttenberg and Maimonides. 

Does forgiveness have to happen?

I went and read some related essays by Rabbi Ruttenberg just now. The other point that she makes is that whether or not the victim forgives the perpetrator is moot. When you apologise like you mean it (as per the five steps), I guestimate that 90 per cent of the healing required for closure has been done by the perpetrator. And it happens regardless of whether the harmed party forgives, because the harm-doer sat in the issue and committed to change. The spiritual or emotional or psychological shift has already occurred. 

I should think that, looking at it from a victim-centric perspective, this opened space allows the harmed party to feel more comfortable to forgive, should they choose to.

It’s a win-win, regardless of whether the aggrieved waves the forgiveness stick. 

(The Rabbi notes that in Judaism, as opposed to Christianity, there is no compulsion for the harmed party to forgive.) 

 

When you dont know what you dont know

 

Few areas are more critical to the security and well-being of young people than decent work. It impacts on every aspect of their lives: independence; mental health and well-being; and social interaction.

 

 

Image source

When I found myself managing a National Careers Institute grant to support young people from all backgrounds and experiences to thrive in a career in agriculture, the first thing I discovered was there was a great deal I did not know about this space and I was going to need a lot of support.

I am very grateful for that support and particularly grateful to the people who introduced me to the knowledge, expertise and support networks I now find myself surrounded by

Best practice principles put young people and employers at the centre of the experience. Source National Youth Employment Body

I have long been a fan of the communities of practice model where people with common goals work together for the greater good. This grant has allowed me to join one and I am grateful to the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Mission Australia  for the opportunity.

I am also very grateful to career education specialists Janine Wood from The Careers Department and Lucy Sattler from StudyWorkGrow for sharing their knowledge 
Image Source 

I am very grateful for the people who have identified best practice and shared their knowledge with me

I am very grateful to the Atlassian Foundation and Atlassian team members helping me master program management software .

I am also very grateful to long term team members Opal Heart Media and Ground Creative who look after our media and web services.

We are all working together to explore a model for agriculture that offers young people an enriching experience of work that sets them on the path to independence and future security.

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Action4Youth has three phases 

Young people as changemakers

“Just keep going”

“If I knew how hard it was I would never have started”

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart it’s right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it,”

Quotes from people who inspire me.

Last night at the NSW Banksia Awards it all came full circle

In 2015 we had two Young Farming Champions determined to be agents of change and we had a big idea to crowd fund them to send them to COP 21 in Paris

That was when I found out Australian agriculture can be its own worst enemy

The main stream press were mega excited.

On the other hand believe it or not some very influential ( at the time ) rural press journalists and the stale, pale, male fraternity farmers on Twitter were very determined to assure the world these young people didn’t represent them.

The CEO of NFF at the time even wade in to assure his stale, pale, male base that these young people didn’t have his support

Last night these two young people took out the Youth as Changemakers Award at the NSW Banksia Awards

In fact half the award winners last night came from the agriculture sector. I am so grateful these young people had the determination and grit to stand up for what they believe in and inspire others to flex their courage muscle

And then there was this

Two of the four finalists in the Ministers Young Climate Champions Award were Kreative Koalas schools with St Brigid’s Primary School being named the winner

It is such a joy to work with young people. It is such a joy to work with their teachers. Extraordinary humans like the team at St Brigid’s and the Centre of Excellence

Hon.  Matt Kean announcing the Ministers Young Climate Champion Award

My advice.

Whoever inspires you. Just keep channeling their mantra

“Just keep going”

“If I knew how hard it was I would never have started”

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart it’s right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it,”

21st century workplaces – Labour shortages, silo thinking, competition for the same talent pool – identifying the elephant in the room

Photo credit 

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart it’s right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it,” Alison Mirams 

As reported in the Stock and Land “Dairy Australia has launched a national marketing campaign to attract new workers to the industry, after a survey found 25 per cent of farmers were unable to find labour or access workers with the required skills.

The survey found 22pc cent of farmers were unable to fill vacant positions, within three months, and 40pc had lost one, or more staff, in the 12 months prior to the survey.

You can see part of the campaign here

I truly hope it is successful and I would be very interested to see how Dairy Australia plan to monitor and evaluate its success. What ROI are they predicting?

I am sceptical as my experience agrees with Dr Nicole McDonald and her team and their excellent research that helps address the elephant in the room  “Career development and agriculture: we don’t need a marketing campaign”

Yesterday I attended a construction industry event. The key note was Alison Mirams ( awesome speaker, highly recommend)  Agriculture got a mention as an industry like construction not as ready to embrace 21st century challenges as it could be 

The conversations were interesting. Despite the keynote being a woman and the industry recognising attracting and retaining women could help address its workforce shortage ( 12.7% of construction industries people are women – same as 35 years ago) the sponsor representative used predominantly male language – “the guys in hi vis” the “blokes in the offices”

The Australian construction industry is in crisis. There are some startling stats beyond escalating costs of production ( I discovered the construction industry talks about REO costs like agriculture talks about fertiliser costs)

Stats like 1550 insolvencies and high rates of suicide (190 ppl)  per annum are heartbreaking. Young construction workers are ten times more likely to die by suicide than die from a workplace accident on a construction site.

Alison is on a mission to change the Culture Standard and is the chief crusader for the industry to have a 5 day working week.- Project 5 –  A weekend for every worker  Her message is “People are our Greatest Resource”. When we look  after the health and wellbeing of our people they will be more productive and she is working with the University of NSW to measure this. It hasn’t been easy with 75 rain days between Jan and July seeing a 54% productivity drop.

Getting back to the dairy industry and agriculture in general, my personal experience and 20 years of working with young people in the sector and in schools has shown me people want rewarding jobs where they feel the work they do makes a difference and they are valued for their contribution. In a world where young people’s career choices are more and more driven by their values  I think Alison Mirams has got it right.  We need to start with the elephant in the room – if you are going to employ people then firstly you need to be prepared to gain the 21st century skills that will earn your business top marks for “GREAT PLACE TO WORK”

We need to understand what drives people to make the career decisions they make.

Before we start spending mega bucks on marketing campaigns lets all ensure our industries are them image we want the world to see

We need to show we care.

In reality lets be honest the first stage ( not the last stage) would be upskilling employers ( see Dairy Australia stage process below )

It doesn’t matter what industry we are currently in there is a scarcity of labour in an overemployed market and I was heartened yesterday by the number of times the panel mentioned the power of collaboration

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart it’s right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it,” Alison Mirams

Extract of article from Stock and Land 

DA regional services general manager Verity Ingham said the issue had been compounded by COVID-19 and the nationwide skills shortage, across a range of sectors beyond agriculture.

The campaign would promote the benefits of working in dairy farming and encourage Australians to explore a job in dairy.

Featuring dairy ambassador Jonathan Brown and seven dairy farmers, the campaign showcases why working in dairy matters, highlighting factors that have been shown to motivate people to consider a job in dairy.

“Competition for jobseekers in regional areas is fierce, so finding good, reliable people is a priority for dairy farmers,” Ms Ingham said.

“Keeping them is just as important.

Ms Ingham said coronavirus had an impact on both international and cross-border workers.

“Because there is such a range of jobs on dairy farms, closing international and state borders really stopped that flow of employees across the nation,” she said.

“Dairies are traditionally a place for that backpacker market and it burst quite quickly.”

DA looked to local markets but found many potential workers didn’t know what was required on farms.

Ms Ingham said the advertising campaign was the first step in a four-pronged approach to attracting, and retaining, workers.

“We’re going out into regional areas looking for non-traditional workers in the dairy industry, so not necessarily poaching from the beef or sheep farm, next door,” she said.

This would be followed by career education about dairy for school, university and TAFE students.

“The third and fourth parts are around supporting our farmers, connecting them with job agencies and places where there are job seekers,” she said.

“We’ll also be skilling the job agencies, so they know about dairy, and then connecting our farmers into those networks.”

The last stage would be skilling farmers in how to employ new staff

“It’s a little bit like becoming a cafe owner – you don’t necessarily start the cafe with looking for staff, you do it because you love coffee and cake,” Ms Ingham said.

“Farmers are often getting into farming, or even succession, because they love the outdoors, putting food on the table for the nation and animals – not necessarily to employ people.”.

DA was also setting up a pre-employment program, she said.

“We are working with those job agencies and networks, in terms of making sure that anybody who hasn’t been on a farm, or who has very little experience on farms, gets those really core skills,” she said.

“Once they land on dairy farms, they have got some of those basic skills, in terms of a skill set they need.”

How does the dairy industry learn from Kodak Moments

I have recently had the opportunity to invite residents in our local community to co-design the future we want to be part of and pathways to get there

As our local garbage trucks reinforce our community values the rural  amenity our dairy cows cultivate

BUT  the world is changing and cellular Agriculture is very real .

This is very good advice

.. the traditional dairy sector must recognise it’s on the cusp of pivotal change. In the face of multiple threats, it should maximise the social benefits of both animal-based dairy and minimise its contribution to climate change. Milena Bojovic  PhD Candidate at Macquarie University.

What does the future hold for our rural amenity and the role the cows play in it?

#CreatingaBetterWorldTogether #KodakMoments

Long footnote

Learning from the Past –  The last Kodak Moment 

Extract from article from The Economist

By 1976 Kodak accounted for 90% of film and 85% of camera sales in America. Until the 1990s it was regularly rated one of the world’s five most valuable brands.

Then came digital photography to replace film, and smartphones to replace cameras. Kodak’s revenues peaked at nearly $16 billion in 1996 and its profits at $2.5 billion in 1999. The consensus forecast by analysts is that its revenues in 2011 were $6.2 billion. It recently reported a third-quarter loss of $222m, the ninth quarterly loss in three years. In 1988, Kodak employed over 145,000 workers worldwide; at the last count, barely one-tenth as many. Its share price has fallen by nearly 90% in the past year (see chart).

For weeks, rumours have swirled around Rochester, the company town that Kodak still dominates, that unless the firm quickly sells its portfolio of intellectual property, it will go bust. Two announcements on January 10th—that it is restructuring into two business units and suing Apple and HTC over various alleged patent infringements—gave hope to optimists. But the restructuring could be in preparation for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak’s desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.

Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak’s $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?

Fujifilm, too, saw omens of digital doom as early as the 1980s. It developed a three-pronged strategy: to squeeze as much money out of the film business as possible, to prepare for the switch to digital and to develop new business lines.

Both firms realised that digital photography itself would not be very profitable. “Wise businesspeople concluded that it was best not to hurry to switch from making 70 cents on the dollar on film to maybe five cents at most in digital,” says Mr Matteson. But both firms had to adapt; Kodak was slower.

A culture of complacency

Its culture did not help. Despite its strengths—hefty investment in research, a rigorous approach to manufacturing and good relations with its local community—Kodak had become a complacent monopolist. Fujifilm exposed this weakness by bagging the sponsorship of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles while Kodak dithered. The publicity helped Fujifilm’s far cheaper film invade Kodak’s home market.

Another reason why Kodak was slow to change was that its executives “suffered from a mentality of perfect products, rather than the high-tech mindset of make it, launch it, fix it,” says Rosabeth Moss Kanter of Harvard Business School, who has advised the firm. Working in a one-company town did not help, either. Kodak’s bosses in Rochester seldom heard much criticism of the firm, she says. Even when Kodak decided to diversify, it took years to make its first acquisition. It created a widely admired venture-capital arm, but never made big enough bets to create breakthroughs, says Ms Kanter.

Bad luck played a role, too. Kodak thought that the thousands of chemicals its researchers had created for use in film might instead be turned into drugs. But its pharmaceutical operations fizzled, and were sold in the 1990s.

Fujifilm diversified more successfully. Film is a bit like skin: both contain collagen. Just as photos fade because of oxidation, cosmetics firms would like you to think that skin is preserved with anti-oxidants. In Fujifilm’s library of 200,000 chemical compounds, some 4,000 are related to anti-oxidants. So the company launched a line of cosmetics, called Astalift, which is sold in Asia and is being launched in Europe this year.

Fujifilm also sought new outlets for its expertise in film: for example, making optical films for LCD flat-panel screens. It has invested $4 billion in the business since 2000. And this has paid off. In one sort of film, to expand the LCD viewing angle, Fujifilm enjoys a 100% market share.

George Fisher, who served as Kodak’s boss from 1993 until 1999, decided that its expertise lay not in chemicals but in imaging. He cranked out digital cameras and offered customers the ability to post and share pictures online.

Kodak also failed to read emerging markets correctly. It hoped that the new Chinese middle class would buy lots of film. They did for a short while, but then decided that digital cameras were cooler. Many leap-frogged from no camera straight to a digital one.

Kodak’s leadership has been inconsistent. Its strategy changed with each of several new chief executives. The latest, Antonio Perez, who took charge in 2005, has focused on turning the firm into a powerhouse of digital printing (something he learnt about at his old firm, Hewlett-Packard, and which Kodak still insists will save it). He has also tried to make money from the firm’s huge portfolio of intellectual property—hence the lawsuit against Apple.

At Fujifilm, too, technological change sparked an internal power struggle. At first the men in the consumer-film business, who refused to see the looming crisis, prevailed. But the eventual winner was Shigetaka Komori, who chided them as “lazy” and “irresponsible” for not preparing better for the digital onslaught. Named boss incrementally between 2000 and 2003, he quickly set about overhauling the firm.

Mount Fujifilm

He has spent around $9 billion on 40 companies since 2000. He slashed costs and jobs. In one 18-month stretch, he booked more than ¥250 billion ($3.3 billion) in restructuring costs for depreciation and to shed superfluous distributors, development labs, managers and researchers. “It was a painful experience,” says Mr Komori. “But to see the situation as it was, nobody could survive. So we had to reconstruct the business model.”

This sort of pre-emptive action, even softened with generous payouts, is hardly typical of corporate Japan. Few Japanese managers are prepared to act fast, make big cuts and go on a big acquisition spree, observes Kenichi Ohmae, the father of Japanese management consulting.

For Mr Komori, it meant unwinding the work of his predecessor, who had handpicked him for the job—a big taboo in Japan. Still, Mr Ohmae reckons that Japan Inc’s long-term culture, which involves little shareholder pressure for short-term performance and tolerates huge cash holdings, made it easier for Fujifilm to pursue Mr Komori’s vision. American shareholders might not have been so patient. Surprisingly, Kodak acted like a stereotypical change-resistant Japanese firm, while Fujifilm acted like a flexible American one.

Mr Komori says he feels “regret and emotion” about the plight of his “respected competitor”. Yet he hints that Kodak was complacent, even when its troubles were obvious. The firm was so confident about its marketing and brand that it tried to take the easy way out, says Mr Komori.

In the 2000s it tried to buy ready-made businesses, instead of taking the time and expense to develop technologies in-house. And it failed to diversify enough, says Mr Komori: “Kodak aimed to be a digital company, but that is a small business and not enough to support a big company.”

Perhaps the challenge was simply too great. “It is a very hard problem. I’ve not seen any other firm that had such a massive gulf to get across,” says Clay Christensen, author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, an influential business book. “It was such a fundamentally different technology that came in, so there was no way to use the old technology to meet the challenge.”

Kodak’s blunder was not like the time when Digital Equipment Corporation, an American computer-maker, failed to spot the significance of personal computers because its managers were dozing in their comfy chairs. It was more like “seeing a tsunami coming and there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Mr Christensen.

Dominant firms in other industries have been killed by smaller shocks, he points out. Of the 316 department-store chains of a few decades ago, only Dayton Hudson has adapted well to the modern world, and only because it started an entirely new business, Target. And that is what creative destruction can do to a business that has changed only gradually—the shops of today would not look alien to time-travellers from 50 years ago, even if their supply chains have changed beyond recognition.

Could Kodak have avoided its current misfortunes? Some say it could have become the equivalent of “Intel Inside” for the smartphone camera—a brand that consumers trust. But Canon and Sony were better placed to achieve that, given their superior intellectual property, and neither has succeeded in doing so.

Unlike people, companies can in theory live for ever. But most die young, because the corporate world, unlike society at large, is a fight to the death. Fujifilm has mastered new tactics and survived. Film went from 60% of its profits in 2000 to basically nothing, yet it found new sources of revenue. Kodak, along with many a great company before it, appears simply to have run its course. After 132 years it is poised, like an old photo, to fade away.

The consumer-producer divide is real. Lets embrace it

Last night I was in my happy place – and that is inviting the community (non-farmer audience) to codesign what the future for our region could look like if we worked together and created a road map to get there

My journey has taught me its pivotal to start where people are at and do some applied research

To help me understand where my audience was at  I introduced the Sustainability Circle concept

I said the role of farmers is to

  • produce safe, affordable, nutritious food whilst
  • treading as lightly on the planet as possible,
  • ensuring worker safety and animal well being and
  • being an active community  member.

I then said in an ideal world farmers will make enough income they wont need to prioritize one sustainability circle responsibility  over another

But in an era where food is just 10% of our income and we have come to believe food at rock bottom prices is a birth right farmers often find they have to prioritize

I invited the audience to put their farmer hat on and make their choices  using a Mentimeter poll

The two graphs below compare the audiences choices to mine (the farmer) .

Are my choices on the left or the right?????

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE

I did this research at the end of my presentation and prior to doing this I showed these three slides

If we keep consuming the earth’s natural resources and generating the same amount of waste we will need 1.8 planets

and then I highlighted this

Is it surprising when asked to make spur of the moment decisions the audience made the choices they did?

We are all a product of our life experiences, the choices we make so often depend on where we are standing and what we choose to see

I see this when I look out my window

What do you see?

Creating a bright future is a shared responsibility.

Has there ever been a more important time for farmers and the community to reconnect and have conversations and build relationships ?


A refection from me

To be a successful farmer you have to be able to deal with ambiguity as you are often going from one daily crisis to the next.

On our farm we had the mantra – always prioritise the things  with a heartbeat first

Fostering a mindset that food at rock bottom prices is a birth rite is not amusing

Action4Agriculture,  through programs like ACTION4YOUTH, is committed to working with our partners in industry, education, and community to make sure the agriculture sector is the opportunity of choice, where every individual is valued for their role in nourishing our nation.”

Images and perceptions matter – This joke is not funny –

Its time

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether

 

 

 

Have we taken our badge of honour too seriously – I am a farmer I wear many hats

I have been watching with great interest the agriculture sector call to arms to tighten our biosecurity protocols to keep Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease out of Australia

There are messaging experts all over of the world. I am yet to see my generation of agriculture embrace this area of expertise.

As an example the acronyms FMD and LSD mean very different things for non farmers

I was impressed that it was young people in agriculture who were early embracers of the possible confusion of the acronyms and cleverly drew it to the attention of others and the movement towards positive action messaging was quickly adopted.

As part of our school programs we engaged messaging expert Les Robinson to share with teachers and students best practice

We use campaigns like MLA’s Myth Busting Campaigns as examples of how NOT to do it

We invite schools to show us how we could do it better

Google Good Meat – wow two very different sites.

Good Meat

Good Meat

If the big idea is to stop the scroll and look up the website – mmmh   – I leave the thinking behind this strategy to some-one else

I do my bit to explain it here using what I have learnt from the messaging experts

Young people are so exciting – they are ACTIVE and they are AWARE. They have the capacity to create movements of change.

Lets give them agency and voice. Let them become the new experts

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether

and leave it to Cathy Wilcox to remind me humans are not an homogenous group

We dont have a skills shortage problem we have a workplace culture problem

Yesterday I attended a forum for business leaders who had been invited to have input into the RAI Rebalancing the Nation – Regionalisation Consultation Paper 

There was a comment made by an expert in the skills training space that resonated with me

“we don’t have a skills shortage problem per se we have a shortage of workplaces with the culture that people want to work in”

Last night I hosted a workshop for 15 of our Young Farming Champions facilitated by leadership culture expert Cynthia Mahoney 

The conversations around the table indicated we have a lot of work to do in agriculture on our CULTURE. What is exciting is these young people are investing their time as life long learners to help us get it right

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether

Creating a better world together

This week our Young Farming Champions are continuing their deep dive with Cynthia Mahoney into How to Ask for More, they are learning to handle the people who are stuck in the drama triangle and in particular the people who want to be rescued. I personally find them more insidious than the bullies

I am very passionate about giving our Young Farming Champions the skills to take others on the journey with them as painlessly as possible.

I definitely don’t want too many people to feel the need to go on my journey to drive change.

Persistence is part of my DNA, thinking “no” means “almost YES” a glass half full strategy.

When you get a reputation as a person who never gives up ( if only they knew how wrong they are – I tried that once – wasn’t very good at that) others who mean well often take advantage.

I have had some very rewarding wins

I have been on some scary journeys. When some NSW vets asked me would I step up on this and have it phased out  I hadn’t even heard of the practice ( nor had most farmers in states beyond Victoria and Tasmania – Again this is an example of the push to have food at rock bottom prices is not good for animals or people or the planet.) It took 9 years but it happened, and it certainly told me agr-politics was not for me.

In 2022 I am on a mission to enable everyone who works in agriculture to feel they can be loud and proud. That the best people apply and stay to work in the industry that helps nourish the nation.

I have been around long enough to know there are still several things we have to address before we can put our hands on our heart and say we are doing enough as a sector to achieve that.

This takes are lot of lobbying and sometimes in my case calling things out.

Its hard work, at times I struggle and I journal my pain.

We can all work together and build a better world or we can focus on bettering our world

I am grateful to everyone who is on this journey to build a better world with me.