Have we lost our moral compass?

Do you think we have lost our moral compass?

From destroying the habitat of Koalas to horses participating in a race for life or death to electing politicians who are not role models for anything but how best to incite everything that is ugly in the world.

Farmer and very wise man Peter Mailler has written a very important OP-ED on the Changing Face of Democracy and invites us all to have some serious conversations

An extract

A functional and robust democracy can only exist if the electorate is well informed. We must be able to trust the government for democracy to truly work and to trust the government, it must be trustworthy.

Many politicians, parties and lobbyists are deliberately dishonest about what they have done, what they will do and what their opponents have done to influence voters.

In such a corrupted environment, there is little hope that the electorate is well enough informed for democracy to function properly. The dishonesty undermines trust in the government and breeds discontent in the electorate.

Governments develop and enforce laws that ensure business people and companies can’t engage in false or misleading behaviour for commercial gain. So why is that standard different for people, parties or interest groups engaging in false or misleading behaviour for political gain?

It is past time for truth in advertising laws that hold political actors – politicians and/or influencers – to the same advertising standard as the business world.

It should be an unambiguous, punishable and punished offence to deliberately mislead the electorate for political gain.

Beyond the lying, democracy is in crisis as election outcomes are increasingly influenced by the resources available to the contestants, as opposed to any genuine contest of ideas and issues within an electorate.

Vested interests are channeling significant resources into major parties that are likely to form government, or hold the balance of power to effectively ‘buy’ influence.

This picking of winners by vested interests reinforces the structural bias of the electoral system to larger and better-resourced parties.

It is anti-competitive in its nature.

Read the full article here

If you are like me and don’t like the way we are all being manipulated by the people with the power ( power we gave them) are using it how do we come together to design and deliver a system with integrity?

When we know we are heading in the right direction and you are looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labour

Everyone wants to be proud of the industry they work in. Yesterday I found myself embarrassed to be a farmer.

I was sad that people could feel so undervalued they would share a meme that attempts to add value to themselves by undervaluing others. 

I was sad that at leadership level we apparently aren’t having conversations about what is clearly a much bigger issue.

We are better than this.  I need help. I want to understand how we can reframe our messaging in agriculture from being locked in the Dreaded Drama Triangle to embracing The Empowerment Dynamic

I am looking forward to growing a tribe of people I can have these discussions with. I am looking forward to every agricultural organisation seeing people as its greatest resource and telling them that.

Change starts with us – lets make our People Pillar our first pillar

Before I go – how can agriculture do messaging differently. We could ask Dorie Clark  

Getting off the toxic negativity train

I am currently reading Seth Godin’s book “Marketing You Cant Be Seen until you learn to See”

He gives very wise advice to people with a cause. That all important reminder that involves metaphors around starting small and growing your tribe and letting your tribe be advocates for the cause. You know the ones about not being able to boil the ocean. In his case its the difference between putting purple colouring ( Seth likes purple) in the ocean or in a swimming pool

Today I jumped in the ocean and invited everyone on LinkedIn to join the cause to fight toxic negativity in agriculture. Lets not stop at agriculture. Far too many other sectors use memes like below (sans my addition of yellow text) to feed their feeling undervalued base

When this meme ( sans my addition of yellow text) arrived by “Messenger” from some-one who was asking for advice on how to call it out, I wanted to scream. How do farmers get to a point where they feel so undervalued that we think its okay to bring the rest of the world down with us. When will we address the underlying cause that stops people realising how counterproductive this type of messaging is.

The impulse to devalue others always signals a diminished sense of self, as you must be in a devalued state to devalue. That’s why it’s so hard to put someone down when you feel really good (your value investment is high) and equally hard to build yourself up when you feel resentful. Source 

Why did I ignore Seth’s advice today. Because  I need a bigger tribe that believes in the cause. A tribe that wants everyone to thrive. Our farmers (and every sector who thinks like this) need help. They need communication skills help. We so need to learn how to frame our messaging. We so need leadership.

Some great advice in this article from Harvard Business Review. How to Thrive When Everything Feels Terrible  

Seek out positive relationships — inside and outside of work.  Research has found that de-energizing relationships — in which one person possesses an enduring, recurring set of negative judgments, feelings, and intentions toward another person — have four to seven times greater impact on an employee’s sense of thriving than energizing, positive relationships. To offset these effects, surround yourself and spend more time with energizers — the people in your life who make you smile and laugh, and lift your spirits.

You may not be able to stop the flow of negativity in your life, especially right now, but you can resist its toxic effects by making smart choices about who and what you surround yourself with, the mindset you adapt, and the information you consume. Not only will you be better off because of these choices — those around you will too.

Young Farming Champions meet our Kreative Koala Kids

Reading the Foundation for Young Australians latest report – The Missing Young People in Australian News Media it is clear it is pretty profound what our teachers do, helping the young people they teach realize that they have more potential and skill than the world tells them that they do.

A Picture You in Agriculture we think a lot about the hopes and dreams of young Australians. We want to understand their frustrations and we invest our time in helping them change the culture.

As agents of change we see part of our role is to consistently help the idea spread from person to person, engaging a tribe as you make change happen.

To paraphrase the Boss (showing my age) we work with the teachers and students to determine 

“What is the work for us to do in our short time together?”

One thing we can do at Picture You in Agriculture is help change the way young people view the world of work. 

As a result of COVID there is up to 100,000 more young Australians between the ages of 15 and 24 not in employment, education or training and 60% of young Australians are not confident they can get a job or have the right skills to get a job

Building young people’s confidence starts in our homes and in our schools. Research tells us that young people going from primary to secondary school have closed their minds to up to 70% of the current careers available let alone be thinking about the careers that will exist in ten years’ time that don’t exist today

To open their eyes to the diversity of careers in the agriculture sector over the next three weeks our Kreative Koala kids will get the opportunity to meet 15 of our Young Farming Champions who will be zooming into their classrooms 

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Knowing how much impact our Young Farming Champions have on young peoples perceptions of careers in agriculture I am looking forward to hearing the stories 


What does courage look like – Cathy Goes to Canberra

Role models show young people how to live with integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. They play an essential part in a child’s positive development.

Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. We owe it to our young people to surround them with leadership role models we can all aspire to be.

I don’t know about you but I was appalled when I saw this photo.   Far too  many of our  politicians  seem to not have any concept of what integrity looks like or even any idea how to be polite.

Yesterday I listened to Cathy Goes to Canberra a very  powerful episode of Conversations with Richard Fidler. As I listened I asked myself how much more could we improve the well being outcomes for our children if we had more political role models like Cathy McGowan

Below is a transcription of some of the conversation that truly resonated with me

“What does modern effective representation look like? Couldn’t we do better if we had a community representative who the community elected rather than a party representative who owed their allegiance to the party and all the party funders?” Cathy McGowan

Cathy McGowan:

I think that argument really worked for people. They actually could see and think, “Yeah, that’s a really good point. Cathy, if we get behind you, we’ll hold you to account,” which is what they did. That was the commitment I made to my community, that I would be true to them, that no one would ever buy my vote. It would always be what would be good for Indi.

Richard Fidler:

There was something new about that idea, but very old fashioned at the same time, wasn’t there? In so far as, it seemed fresh in a new approach to contemporary democracy, but it did embody it into a large degree, the kind of original spirit of the whole Westminster system, that you would have independent people elected to the parliament. They would exercise their judgments, having been entrusted into the job by the local people. Did you see it that way at the time?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, look, I certainly did. If we’re going to have a country that reaches its potential, people have got to participate. You’ve actually got to turn up, speak up and step up to positions of responsibility in your community. Then, you learn the job as you go along.

Cathy McGowan:

That was my belief. I’m a great believer in democracy and participatory democracy. I really trust in like our political system, but it works on competition. If you haven’t got any competition in the system, then you’re invisible. We had no competition in Indi. I was pretty sure that if we could make the seat competitive, we could change the outcome. Even if we didn’t win the seat, if we were competitive, then Sophie, if she won, she would bring more things into the electorate.

Cathy McGowan:

That’s certainly what happened in 2009. On my word, the Liberal Party bent over backwards to promise things to Indi. It was making the seat competitive that would make the difference. I would say through your program today, to all the seats who are somehow safe, one side or another, it just doesn’t work. You’ve got to be in the competition. It’s the marginal seats that actually get the goodies.

Richard Fidler:

What was your approach going to be, being a newly elected member for Indi after that extraordinary victory you had in the 2013 election? How did you think you would be best able to draw attention to what you thought were the most urgent issues, both nationally and locally?

Cathy McGowan:

I have to admit, I was terrified. Oh, I didn’t know how to do the job really. I’d been a staffer and it was the new parliament house and I hoped I could hide. I was scared, all these really famous people, all these important people. Someone had told me that there was this other chamber in parliament, called the Federation Chamber. It was Anna Burke who was the speaker at the time.

Cathy McGowan:

She said, “There’s the Federation chamber. You can make speeches there.” I thought, “Oh God, I’m going to hide there. I’ll hide in the Federation Chamber,” and because it was just the enormity of the job, it just totally scared me, but I got over that I have to say reasonably quickly, because one of the early bits of legislation, other than dismantling the carbon trading system, was one that was going to have severe implications for education provision in Albury-Wodonga.

Cathy McGowan:

That really motivated me. It was probably six months in. I could see, oh, if this gets voted through, then it was going to ruin La Trobe and CSU in Albury-Wodonga. I knew about education and I could see a way through, of working in parliament and working with the senators. If we could work together, we could defeat the government’s legislation, which is what did happen.

Cathy McGowan:

The government lost that vote, because the senators voted it down, I think by one vote in the end and they brought it up again. There was that story. What I really learnt was to work with the senators, because there was a lot more chance to influence debate in the Senate because Tony Abbott had all the numbers in the House of Reps.

Cathy McGowan:

At the same time, Clive Palmer, he was also a member of parliament. His office was just down the road from me and we became an unlikely duo. We worked together with his senators as well and we were able to do some really good work on amending the government’s legislation around arena and the clean energy finance corporation, but what I came to understand was parliament’s a community and that there are people who are there, who … a bit like working with the fire brigade in Indigo Valley.

Cathy McGowan:

You might not agree with their politics on everything, but when there’s a bush fire, you’re all on the same truck. I was able to build alliances across parties, around topics of interest, and that worked really well for me. I didn’t actually have to be the captain of the team and I didn’t have to always be the one leading out. I could be a facilitator and bring people together. Over the six years I was there, I love the position of being on the cross bench, none aligned to any of the major parties and basically being able to work with anyone in parliament, depending on what the issue was.

Richard Fidler:

I went to see Question Time for the first time in my life around about that time, Cathy and I took my son along. As I was watching from up in the gallery, suddenly it became apparent to me that hasn’t been apparent after all these years of watching Question Time on TV, is how much like it is a set piece battle viewed from above, how you can see there’s the government, that wants to maintain its occupation of the treasury benches. There’s the opposition that are facing it and seem to be almost pushing forward to occupy the benches. It feels like a set piece military battle, when viewed from that distance.

Richard Fidler:

What does that feel like from the cross benchers? Do you get the same sensation?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, look. Absolutely. How I would explain it to the volunteers who came and worked in my office in Canberra, I said, “Just imagined it’s like an AFL footy grand final. You’re Carlton versus Collingwood and they’re athletes, they’re elite athletes and the whole game is choreographed. That’s the main game. The thing about being on the cross bench and being from Indi,” and I would say to my colleagues, I’d say, “it’s a bit like playing for [inaudible 00:20:18] in the grand final. I’m allowed on the field, but I’m only occasionally allowed to get a pass. As long as I don’t interfere with the main game, I’ll be allowed to do …”

Cathy McGowan:

That was good enough, because I only needed to get six behinds to get a goal. Over the six years I got three or four goals without interfering with the main game, but those three or four goals really made a big difference to my community. I suppose I say in the book that I stuck to my knitting. I didn’t pretend to be Collingwood or Carlton. I really knew my place in that parliament. I knew I was on the cross bench and I knew I had to build coalitions and then get the coalitions around my issues would work for me.

Cathy McGowan:

I never thought I was part of the government, never thought I was part of the opposition. I was always an independent member of parliament and really prized that ability to report to my community as being really important.

Richard Fidler:

Of course, you go into the parliament, seeing these famous political figures. Then, after a while you realize that not all of them are rocket scientists, so to speak. Some people then genuinely surprise you. Were you pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by the caliber and character of your fellow members of parliament?

Cathy McGowan:

Oh, there’s a long pause here. I am significantly disappointed, I have to say. Really, the calibre, the life experience, the values of many, many members of parliament disappointed me. There is a thing called the parliamentary handbook and you can look through people’s occupation at the back of it. There is so much similarity. There were no nurses there. The women from rural and regional Australia that I’d been working, with Australian women in Ag, they were really capable women. They were running properties; they were managing families. They were multimillion-dollar businesses buying and selling wool on the stock exchange, going overseas, traveling, doing business.

There was none of the women who I had met through Australian women at the calibre of those women who had a deep commitment to community who were in parliament. The people who were there, I often had to question their motivation for being there and the role that the parties have to control people’s agenda. The thing about parties is people pay money to belong to a party. Then, they sign on to agree to the agenda that somebody else sets. Then, they go into parliament and follow it.

Cathy McGowan:

I just constantly saw that argy bargy happening. It’s not that I’m against parties. I understand the need to set up alliances, but I just think we’ve lost it in the middle somewhere that we’re actually there servicing our communities and their interests. I think if I could have anything happen, it would be more of the women I knew through Australian Women in Ag, who actually knew about drought and flood and bush fires and communities and working across difference. If there was just a handful of them in parliament, it would be really different, but they’re not there.

Richard Fidler:

Maybe there’s something about the quality of political life that it’s really quite horrible for normal people. To that extent we get, in some ways the parliament we deserve. The kind of people who are prepared to put up with the life that’s asked of them to be a member of a political party in the government or an opposition, maybe it’s so unappealing for the people you’re talking about, they don’t run for parliament. What we get other people who are prepared to stay.

Cathy McGowan:

Certainly. If I could change that perception, because I was there. Being a politician has got a very bad reputation, but my experience was so different. I had six good years and I loved the job. I love being of service. I didn’t want to keep doing it forever. Six years was a good period of time. I know Helen Haines feels exactly the same way. She now goes in with strength and ambition and she’s loving the job.

We can change it. It will change if women of calibre, people of calibre getting there and do the job professionally, but what makes it so special is when I go shopping now, my community says, “Thank you. Oh, thank you, Cathy. I really appreciated how you helped me do this. And thank you for doing that. And I’m really glad that you did the work on the ICAC. And thanks so much for the work you did on the drought,” and that’s recognition, not that I did it for thank you, but that recognition now, 18 months later.

I go, “Yeah, it was a really good job.” If we had more people doing it for the community, people would really enjoy it, because there’s so much satisfaction in it.

Richard Fidler:

What are you most proud of as a member of parliament, Cathy?

Cathy McGowan:

The fundamentally most important thing for me is that we’ve kept the seat independent. That the people of Indi liked what we did enough that despite the Liberal Party and the national party throwing millions of dollars in inducements, the people of Indi voted for Helen Haines. The community got the vision and they moved from being cynical and sceptical about politics to saying,

“Actually, it’s about us and if we get involved … not only getting a member of parliament up, but getting involved in state politics, getting involved in our local government … if we get involved and have opinions, if we turn up and we speak up and we step up to responsibility, we can actually make our communities better.”

Richard Fidler:

You were a big supporter of the establishment of a federal anti-corruption commission, the federal ICAC or ICAC, if you like. The government has indicated that it has support for it in some form, but it’s too busy right now to go about implementing it, because of the COVID emergency. What do you think of that and where we’re at, at the moment with establishing an anti-corruption commission?

Cathy McGowan:

Well, it’s a bit about the morals and the values, isn’t it? I’m profoundly disappointed. The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull said that he would support a ICAC. Scott Morrison told me to my face that he would support an ICAC. Christian Porter said to me that he would introduce an ICAC. Two years later … this is after I introduced my private members bill in December 2018 … and still the government hasn’t done it.

Why haven’t they done it? The only reason can be because they are so terrified of what skeletons there are in their closets, because there’s no other explanation that would explain why they haven’t done it. Then, that just makes me feel so incredibly disappointed to the place we’ve got in Australia, where our government is not brave enough to have a fully funded, really robust, modern Australian Integrity Commission.

It’s not an Anti-Corruption Commission. It’s actually an Integrity Commission where we can be proud of who we are and we don’t work from the negative. We work from the positive space of government being for the people, of the people, by the people and how proud we are, because we’re a nation of integrity.

I don’t think we are that. I’m so, so disappointed that our leaders don’t have the vision for what we could be as a nation and that they’re working from the lowest common denominator. They’re making pathetic excuses about why things can’t be better.

Richard Fidler:

Is an Anti-Corruption Commission the same thing as an Integrity Commission? Or is it a different thing in your mind?

Cathy McGowan:

No, they’re basically the same, they’re just different words, but what I really like about Helen Haines private member’s bill, it actually works from the positive of what would we need to do to create integrity in our system and how do we protect it?

It’s a very strong, positive opportunity-based bit of legislation. What the government is proposing is anti-corruption, which means we’ll just get you into trouble if we catch you doing something wrong, which I don’t think is what we as a nation need. I think we actually need to be striving to be better. We actually need to strive … for the long-term is to actually keep re-inventing our nation through participatory politics, which actually makes us better. I just think that’s really important.

Richard Fidler:

Like you said, you’ve stepped down after two terms. Helen Haines, another independent was elected to the seat with your strong support. Do you nonetheless miss it? This stuff is happening in the news all the time. Do you really wish you could step into the chamber and give them a piece of your mind, Cathy?

Cathy McGowan:

I do listen to Question Time. My friends go, “Oh, you have to be kidding.” Usually it’s on in the background. No, I don’t miss it. I’m really pleased to now be on the next stage of my life. I totally am delighted that Helen Haines is in there. She’s even better on policy than I am, and she’s really strategic and she’s got a great team.

It feels like she’s standing on the shoulders, if you want. Now, at my time is about actually encouraging more regional independence to stand for politics. If I could just share this one statistic with you, Richard. In Indi in 2013, we knew that 1/4 voters had to change their vote for me to get 25,000 votes to be enough to be in the preference list. That’s out of 100,000 people. We needed 25,000 votes, which is 1/4.

I absolutely know that if 1/4 people who live in the regions changed their vote, we could be in a different space. It’s possible if we had quality candidates running both in the Senate and in the House of Reps. That’s my mission now, is to actually go out and talk around the regions and in the cities and say, “1/4 votes could change,” and we actually could have a different public perception of who we are as a nation. We actually could get involved and engaged in a really wonderful country that we could be.

I don’t think we’ve anywhere nearly reached our potential. I want us to.

Couldn’t agree more Cathy

Find your tribe love them hard

I am currently reading Seth Godin’s This is Marketing You Cant be seen until you learn to see 

Some wise advice early in the book resonated

“When in doubt, assume that people will act according to their current irrational urges, ignoring information that runs counter to their beliefs, trading long-term for short-term benefits and most of all, being influenced by the culture they identify with.”

You can make two mistakes here:

  1. Assume that the people you’re seeking to serve are well-informed, rational, independent, long-term choice makers.
  2. Assume that everyone is like you, knows what you know, wants what you want.

I’m not rational and neither are you

It certainly reminded me of the importance of valuing my tribe to stay sane

Speaking of my recent reading library

Looking for an inspiring role model I highly recommend Ronni Kahn’s book – A Life Repurposed

Speaking of inspiring people looking forward to receiving my copy of Cathy McGowan’s book Cathy Goes to Canberra in the mail shortly. Great interview with Cathy by Richard Fidler here

Reframing the “woe is us” messaging in agriculture

Todays big question

What do you think it would take for agriculture to reframe its messaging from

“woe is us”


“If you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem”?

I am a sixth generation dairy farmer who was told growing up by my father “never learn to milk a cow”  It was a message that resonated and I listened  and obeyed and chose a career pathway that the world told me would always provide a reliable income for my family and provide opportunities that my siblings and I didn’t have growing up on the farm.

You can imagine the shock/horror feeling I had when six months into my marriage my partner got an offer to go back to his dairy farming roots.

It was a very difficult conversation to have. He was so passionate about the opportunity but the messages I had received as a child rang very loud alarms bells. Those messages meant that despite wanting to support his dream I did everything I could to convince him neither of us should be milking cows for a career.

My pleadings were to no avail, He began his new career as a share farmer on a local dairy farm and the messaging I had received as a child told me I would be required to work very long hours in my off farm career to ensure the bills were paid on time

Twenty five years later I bought my career skills and knowledge of financial literacy, consumer insights and marketing back to the farm so we could grow the business to allow our son to join the dairy business.

What I discovered was a whole new exciting world that for some reason the dairy industry and agriculture wasn’t sharing beyond the farm gate

A world where science, research and technology was available at a level that the medical world I came from couldn’t even dream of. The level of knowledge of ruminant nutrition and capacity to collect data was phenomenal. If only they did this amount of research on human nutrition or doctors got the holistic training vets and agronomists received.

In the following twenty years working in the agriculture advocacy space I have asked myself over and over again . Why are we keeping all this science, research and technology a secret.

Why do we prefer the “woe is us” messaging

Why do we prefer to tell the world things like the average age of farmers in this country in 58 when we know those ABS figures don’t tell the real story.

Why is agriculture so focused on sharing negative messaging . Last week I was part of a workshop where the participants were asked to list all the reasons why young people don’t choose careers in agriculture. I was shocked, surely I must have heard wrong. Surely the industry is across the knowledge from the world of social science that tells us the dangers of reinforcing the negative.

Why do we engage experts to tell us how we can make the most of the opportunities in the world of agriculture and then ignore their advice?

What do you think?

Is it time to reframe our messaging?

What would that look like?

For years I have been been looking for courageous industry leaders who do that.

Meet the forward thinking David Carter CEO of Austral Fisheries. This is the first of a series of Leadership is Language interviews Dione Howard deputy chair of the Youth Voices Leadership Team is doing with David.

What do you think it would take for agriculture to reframe its messaging from “woe is us” to “If you aren’t part of the solution you are part of the problem”?

By the way – those opportunities for a rewarding career in agriculture abound. My advice is only choose to farm if you have strong financial literacy capability ( or some-one on your team who does) and be committed to life-long learning and growing

As an aside I got up early this morning and walked around the garden I started creating 40 years ago around the house on the farm that I lobbied hard not to live in and I experienced great joy. We are a product of our life experiences and I have found you often learn most from your greatest mistakes.

  1. Neil Barr 2014 Where are the young farmers  
  2. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones Source
  3. Bray and Cay 2018. Room To Grow 

Finding your tribe – the coalition of the willing

Earlier in the year, pre COVID,  I signed up for an international leadership academy and committed to journaling my journey .

I am now six months in and this week we are reviewing our personal and professional vision. Its well recognised to lead others we have to be able to lead ourselves.

Agriculture has a plethora of excellent leadership programs that teach people how to lead themselves. What agriculture needs is pathways to teach people to lead others. Its no wonder we all work in silos. Its hard to be what you cant see.

Success for me professionally is to develop future leaders who have the confidence and skills to lead teams.  I epitomise the statement “we teach others what we want to learn.” Or in my case I get others to teach my team  what I want to learn, so I can join the team.  I am very grateful I have an extraordinary group of young women on my team who I trust implicitly to accomplish what needs to get done and more. Its scary what Team Branding and Team Innovation are achieving this year.

As part of my vision statement I set myself a list of things I wanted to make progress on

My list:

Lynne will:

  • Relate to others better
  • Lean into difficult conversations.
  • Build her capacity to understand other people, what motivates others, how they work and how to work cooperatively with them.
  • On making progress with dot point 3 build a coalition of the willing to engage in #CollectiveImpact 

  • Be a better listener – be fully present in conversations
  • Learn the tools to provide better clarity when I brief some-one on a project (hence difficult work conversations will be minimised)
  • Embrace that fact that we all make decisions driven by emotion first and will strive for emotional balance 

Your emotional system can give you an advantage in decision making if you make proper use of it. Many people think of their emotions as something they have to manage or control rather than something upon which they could capitalize.

I am mega excited with the people and organisations who have put their hands up to be part of a #CollectiveImpact model to develop future leaders who have the confidence and skills to lead teams.

Yesterday I was thrilled to share my journey to lean in to difficult conversations when the fabulous Kwame Christian delivered a Negotiation and Conflicts Skills workshop ( thanks to funding from Soroptimists International Griffith) for 18 of the team .

How good is it to work with this man. So committed to #genderequity,  #racialequity and #socialjustice

We all know “Alone we are smart. Together we can be brilliant” works.

What do you think are the barriers to #CollectiveImpact mindset in agriculture?

What am I doing with my one wild and precious life?

This week I am reading The Power of TED – The Empowerment Dynamic by David Emerald

“Your life is a kind of laboratory where you’re constantly experimenting with your own higher knowing, always increasing your capacity to design the life you choose. Human beings must create; it’s hardwired. The question is, are you consciously creating or only sleepwalking through your human life?”

The book starts with a fabulous forward by Lisa Lahey and this quote from Mary Oliver

I found this extract very powerful.

“Some people are delighted by the question’s reminder that their lives are in their own hands, while for others, it is a novel but wonderful idea that they could actually plan to do something with their lives.

One way is to see ourselves at the mercy of those around us, and the other is to see ourselves as having agency over our lives. We can move back and forth between these two mindsets, though people seem to operate predominantly from one or the other.

People find it hard to ask for help for many different reasons.

Asking for help is hard.

Our individual development needs to be nurtured, and that an ideal environment is one that both supports and challenges us. Too often, we go without both of these conditions. If I could wave the proverbial magic wand on behalf of each of us becoming our best selves, I would make it so we could ask for help and we could do so before things go terribly wrong, or before we feel overwhelmed and excessively stressed from being in over our heads. Living out of fear not only keeps us small but creates a dynamic in which we keep others small as well. We limit our own potential as well as the people around us. We lose a connection to our vision and purpose. Developing our capacity to take responsibility for our lives is an achievement that needs to be cultivated. If we did so, we would be able to use our one wild and precious life to create something meaningful. We would be available to support other people to do the same. And together, we might intentionally participate in our communities (in our home, our work, our neighbourhoods) to do something bigger than any of us individually could.

If we could develop our capacity to plan and live our lives fully, we would feel less like victims, helpless to solve the problems other people make for us. We would no longer feel so exhausted from fighting, feeling badly about ourselves for not fighting back, or for believing that we are not good enough. We would have energy to create more of the life we want.

Go find the community, even if it is just one other person, to provide you with what you want, need, and deserve.”

Dairy Industry Culture Change – opening Pandora’s Box

When Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge recently interviewed Michael Bungay Stanier (MBS) she put to him a Wool Industry challenge.

MBS used the Drama Triangle concept to frame his response ( Lucy’s full interview with MBS will go live on 8th Oct 2020.)

Australian Dairy Farmers President, Terry Richardson’s OP-ED last week put the Australia dairy industry’s toxic culture front and centre. 

Word on the street is there is no shortage of people who agree with him. 

Now that Terry has opened Pandora’s Box – What next 

My experiences have shown me the Australian dairy industry ( at all levels) has spent so much time perfecting the drama triangle it has no concept of what its world would look like without it   

As Lucy and MBS have highlighted the agricultural landscape isn’t alone in favouring the drama triangle over the TED model. We all can default to this culture when its the predominate culture.  How do we reframe the toxic negativity?  How do we help victims become creators, persecutors become challengers and rescuers become coaches ?

When boiling the ocean isn’t an option perhaps dairy might like to take a leaf out of the NSW Local Land Services model and provide extensive personal and professional development for their team members  to be resilient to the negativity and help farmers who are entrenched in persecutor or victim mode to have outcomes focused conversations.  

What can we do?

We can all boil our own glass of water by learning to recognise Drama Triangle patterns and call them out 

Great example from Unions NSW today on Twitter. Sounds like some-one is feeling undervalued. Classic mix of Victim/Rescuer and maybe even a little bit of persecutor/finger pointing thrown in for effect.