Speaking up, burning bridges and the point of no return

I thought I would share leadership guru Zoe Routh’s newsletter with you today. As a person who does speak up but has often has found themselves at the ‘point of no return’ I do admire people who can both speak up and drive change without burning their bridges.

Looking forward to getting that balance myself but then again

Burning-bridges.

 

Why Don’t We Speak Up?

“What do you think, Zoë?”

Holy crap. This was it. I had to say something.

My colleague had just thrown me a bone in a meeting. He knew I was peeved about the contract and was quietly stewing in frustration.

And not saying anything.

It was only when he set me up directly that I sat up, and spoke up.

It wasn’t easy. I got emotional. Apparently I cared more than I thought. And I felt better for it afterwards.

Speaking the truth always feels better. Eventually.

So why don’t we speak up? Why do we keep quiet when we’ve got something to say? An opinion to express, an idea to share, a criticism to make, a concern to raise?

Here are some reasons I’ve found in my own life, and work with my clients:

We don’t want to hurt people’s feelings.

We don’t want to rock the boat and risk our status in the group.

We’re afraid we’ll go past the point of no return and the unknown looms as a menacing void.

We’re afraid of the can of worms that might be unleashed, and we don’t like conflict.

We’re afraid we’ll be judged. Or rejected. Or hurt. Or dismissed.

In essence, we’re afraid of feeling bad.

So we shut down, shut up, and shrink.

And that’s the worst kind of feeling bad.

When we don’t speak our truth, our soul wilts a little, our heart grows a little more brittle, and the emotional pot goes on simmer.

Not speaking our truth is the worst kind of personal damage we can do to ourselves. It’s the deepest form of pain. So we numb it with alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, overwork, over exercise, food, or any other kind of distraction that keeps us from feeling into the depths of our inner world.

But when we do speak up, when we share what is going on in our heart, on the other side of the unknown mess that may ensue, we have a chance of a bigger horizon. We show ourselves and others that we matter, that we are worthy, that the stories we tell ourselves, even if they are wrong, matter. They matter because they help us connect better to ourselves and each other.

In Rising Strong, Brené Brown says, “I believe that vulnerability – the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome – is the only path to more love, belonging, and joy.”

The equation looks like this:

Truth – – – MESS – – – Feel better.

Speaking up is a leadership moment that matters. It can rattle cages, upset the apple cart, ruffle feathers, and every other metaphor for sh*tstorm, but speaking the truth is the song of the soul.

What helps is having a tether to our values and the willingness to walk in integrity. I have an intention that I want to model what I teach others, to embody what I know to be true, no matter how challenging.

So when my colleague looked to me and asked, “What do you think?” I took a deep breath, and spoke.

What calls you to speak the truth? What keeps you from speaking it? And what, if anything, will you change?

Zoe Routh

p.s. Don’t forget to register for the Grace Under Fire webinar series that starts next Wednesday. Register here: http://innercompass.com.au/grace-fire-webinar-series/

Identity crisis and stereotypes – farmers with akubras and bandy legs

cool urban dude with surfboard

Image credit

The Art4Agriculture team have created a complementary program model to The Archibull Prize that will allow us to roll the program out nationally. The students participating in the program will be investigating and reflecting on the theme

Feeding, Clothing and Powering a Hungry Nation is a shared responsibility

with the word ‘power’ referring to farmers potential to provide the community with renewable energy sources

FarmerAnnimation_Man

So of course we needed  a logo and I briefed  the graphic designer who happens to be male and he comes back with

13306_FarmerIllustration_Page_1

Okay so this was James stereotype of a farmer – love the bandy legs

Okay James farmers can be women too

So James sends me this

13306_FarmerIllustration_Page_2

So girl farmers have bandy legs too !!!!!!

So then I said OK lets make it a partnership and James comes back with this

Archibull Connections

then we thought about it some more and we thought lets have the farmers on one side of the plug and people from the city on the other

So how should I brief James?

What does a stereotypical urbanite look like. Does he/she evoke images of super cool people with 9 to 5  corporate careers who surf after work and party on the weekends ??????

Update 

The sage minds on twitter have delivered me a solution – farmer Gus Whyte has proposed a salute to the middle man.  I will ask James to replace the farmers with  a tradie wearing hi viz. But still have the problem of sex and ethnicity

Tradie wearing hi viz

Further reading

Miranda column: The glamorous face of farming

Some serious food for thought  –  Identify crisis – the default setting 

What my readers are saying

Everyman need a canoe

Everyman needs a canoe ht JK

Active wear

According to TE our cities are full of people who look like this

The danger behind the hypnotic trance of leadership stereotypes

I watched the announcement of the pairing of Sarah Pallin and Donald Trump on TV last night and I will be polite and say it didn’t exactly make my day.

As an earlier post this week from me indicated I have predicted that 2016 is the year that our leaders in Australian agriculture will be required to step up to the plate in a way they have never been tested before and if we can’t find this decade’s Rick Farley Australian agriculture is looking at irreparable brand damage    

‘When did we last see a peak representative body deliberately and strategically reach out to its perceived opponents, seek to understand their position fully, and commit to work together to find a way through? ‘ Professor Andrew Campbell  Source 

Let’s have a look at how Leadership Experts in the US are reflecting on leadership selection  after yesterday’s “political marriage” in hell. In this case Will Marre

The Most Common Reason We Select Lousy Leaders

Lousy Leaders

Source

About this time in most political campaigns a majority of voters begin to look at who is running and say, “Is this the best we can do?”  Seriously, out of 335 million citizens, are the people up on stage really the most qualified candidates to lead the most powerful nation in the world?  Are you kidding me?

There are many reasons why the most qualified people don’t ever end up running for President or even leading major business organizations.  But I believe the root cause is our collective judgment falling under the hypnotic trance of leadership stereotypes.

Harvard Research reported that the book Compelling People confirms that our “fast brains” prefer leaders who are assertive, competitive, decisive and tough.  Our superficial thinking is that these leaders will protect us.  The problem is our “fast brains” are quite stupid. Our quick judgments are primarily ruled by primitive emotions and ingrained prejudices that lead us to foolish opinions.  Our smart brain needs to take time to analyze facts, test claims and exercise wisdom. However, using our smart brain takes a lot of time and energy that we mostly exhaust getting through our daily lives leaving us vulnerable to bad judgment and emotional bias when it comes to choosing leaders. This is a problem. A big one.

Our bias for mistaking confidence and competitiveness for leadership starts at a very early age. A brand new research report from Harvard graduate school of education, “Leaning Out,” confirms that by high school 40% of boys and even 23% of girls believe that male political leaders are more effective than females. Both male and female teenagers prefer males on the student council.  Even a majority of moms of teenage girls  believe that boys are more effective student body officers.  What?

The root of our problem is that most of us don’t understand the science of leadership.  In fact most people may not know that effective leadership has become testable science.  It has.  For instance if we agree that excellent business leaders should be able to:

  1. create and produce profitable products and services that improve the quality of life of customers;
  2. inspire and motivate employees to consistently perform their jobs extraordinarily well;
  3. consistently produce profits (once the company is beyond the startup phase) and;
  4. conduct business in a socially responsible manner that produces benefits to communities and minimizes or eliminates harm to the environment;

then we can identify leadership factors that actually produce those results. And we have.

Our problem is that neither our business schools nor Wall Street fully agree that these four worthwhile goals of business leadership really matter. Instead they focus on things like competitive dominance and financial results.  This leads companies like Volkswagen to pay their engineers to fool regulators instead of coming up with brilliant technology. It’s what led GE’s Jack Welch to spend two decades paying fines to the EPA rather than cleaning their toxic waste out of the Hudson River.  It’s what enables the financial pirates known as investment bankers, who caused the needless suffering of the last recession, to pay fines but escape jail.

Likewise in politics, too many of us seem to like puffed-up roosters bellowing about going to war, building walls and solving complex problems through the shear force of their will.  It is natural for us to wish the world be simpler than it is.  But this wish makes it easy for really strong sounding leaders to promise to deliver what we emotionally wish were true.  It’s simple.  When we feel overwhelmed we are easily suckered.

Strong but stupid leadership has created the world we currently live in. In the 1990s we thought all war was over and perpetual prosperity could be engineered by Alan Greenspan.  Instead we have begun to recycle the geopolitical problems of the last thousand years and the ugliness of the unrestrained self-interest of the Gilded Age of 100 years ago. And we will continue to recycle our problems at even more extreme levels unless we understand the leadership qualities that will produce a world that works for everyone.

The actual science of leadership is based on a meta-analysis of what creates sustainable abundance confirms this:

  • Hard power, which is characterized by competitiveness, aggressiveness, decisiveness, single-mindedness and self-interest, is primarily effective at achieving short-term, easy-to-measure goals.  This isn’t to say it’s useless, only to say it is an inadequate way to run a complex organization or the most powerful country on earth.
  • Soft power, which is characterized by collaboration, teamwork, empathy and systems thinking, works well in complex environments where knowledge and information is widely distributed.  However, organizations led only by soft power tend to be indecisive, slow and uncompetitive.

The answer of course is the synthesis between hard and soft power.  It is the third way. It capitalizes on the goal-focus of hard power and social intelligence of soft power.  Is the basis for something I called gender synergy.  It’s no secret that most males favor hard power and most females exhibit soft power strengths. We need both.

The challenge we face is that we need to raise the new generation of SMART Power leaders pronto. The world economy continues to shake, new kinds of wars and medieval violence assault our peace, and businesses exhaust their employees, exploit the environment and fail all too quickly in the face of agile competitors.

Of course both men and women can learn the skills of SMART Power.  I am focusing on developing women leaders because women are listening.  Brand-new research reported in the book Broad Influence confirms that when any leadership group, whether it’s top executives, Boards of Directors or the U.S. Senate, reaches a critical mass of between 20% and 30% women, the group becomes much more effective in achieving its goals.  This phenomenon is being repeated all over the world. I believe more women in leadership is the most powerful trend that will revolutionize our future and get us out of the spin cycle created by the leaders who are currently in charge.

We need to celebrate it and accelerate it. You can help by calling out bad leadership.  You can put the name “hard power” on shortsighted, blindly aggressive leaders.  You can support socially intelligent, soft power leaders by helping them become SMART using the tools of goal setting and accountability. You can change the future right now, right where you are.

Will

Using oxygen to save lives not threaten them

When I was a girl and that was a long time ago I learnt in school the biggest threat to the world was extremism and the conflict in the middle east . Yet did we study this at school??? No way that would be too close to common sense. I live to learn and grow and as a person who is part of a team sending two very special young people to Paris this week I am reading avidly  in a effort to help play my role at home.

Today’s post is a reprint of this article in The Conversation– I found the article extraordinaryly powerful as in how we respond to IS

What are your thoughts has Japan got it right? How do we cut off the terrorists oxygen with as little impact on human life and the planet as possible?

I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did

The terrorist attacks in Paris have resonated around the world. In addition to physical violence, Islamic State (IS) is pursuing a strategy of socially mediated terrorism. The symbolic responses of its opponents can be predicted and may inadvertently further its aims.

In the emotion of the moment, we need to act. We need to be cautious, however, of symbolic reactions that divide Muslims and non-Muslims. We need emblems that act against the xenophobia that is a recruiting tool for jihadists.

Reactions from the West should not erode the Muslim leadership that is essential to overturning “Islamic State”. Queen Rania of Jordan points out:

What the extremists want is to divide our world along fault lines of religion and culture, and so a lot of people in the West may have stereotypes against Arabs and Muslims. But really this fight is a fight between the civilised world and a bunch of crazy people who want to take us back to medieval times. Once we see it that way, we realise that this is about all of us coming together to defend our way of life.

Queen Rania’s statement characterises the Paris attacks as part of a wider conflict around cultural values. How are these values playing out symbolically across the globe?

Propaganda seeks predictable responses

IS’s socially mediated propaganda is sophisticated and planned. This supports an argument that the Paris attacks are the beginning of a global campaign. Symbolic materials characterise IS as invincible. However, other evidence may indicate that it is weak.

The IS representation of the Eiffel Tower. SITE Intelligence Group

The spontaneous celebration on Twitter by IS supporters was predictable. Its representational coverage of the Paris attacks, however, suggests deep planning.

This planning is embedded in professionally designed images. A reworked image depicts the Eiffel Tower as a triumphal arch with the IS flag flying victoriously on top.

The tower is illuminated and points to the heavens and a God-given victory. The inclusion of a road running through the Eiffel Tower provides a sense of speed, change, even progress. In Arabic, the text states, “We are coming, France” and “The state of Khilafa”.

IS is using symbolic representations of the Paris attacks to garner new recruits.

A sophisticated pre-prepared image of an intrepid fighter walking away from a Paris engulfed in flames was quickly distributed. It is inscribed with the word “France under fire” in Arabic and French.

IS had its ‘France under fire’ image ready to post immediately after the attacks. INSITE on Terrorism

InFAMOUS IGN Entertainment Games

This image keys into the heroic tropes of online video gaming, such as prototype and inFAMOUS. Chillingly, it is designed to turn virtual warriors into actual warriors.

The five million young Muslims in France are particular targets. Among online recruitment materials are videos calling them to join other young French nationals who are with IS.

Prototype hifisnap

Support for the victims in Paris and for the democratic values of liberty, equality and fraternity are embedded in the blue, white and red lights movement. These lights shone in major cities in the US, Britain, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan and South America. The blue, white and red lights also were displayed in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Malaysia.

However, the light displays were seen in few countries with Muslim majorities overall. Such countries are in an invidious position. Display the lights and you may be characterized as a lackey of the West. Don’t display the lights and appear unsympathetic to the victims.

Facebook blue white and red Paris author provided/courtesy J. Smith

Support also is embedded in a parallel Facebook function that allows members to activate a tri-colour filter. Adapted from a rainbow filter used to support same-sex marriage, this filter attracts those with liberal sentiments.

The question of whether to use the French flag to show sympathy for the victims is invidious at a personal level. Many people find themselves exploited and condemned to poverty by neoliberal economic models. They are put in a difficult position. They feel sympathy for the victims. However, they are bitter about how they are being treated by “the West”, including France.

Perils of an ‘us and them’ mindset

As the blue, white and red activism plays out around the globe, there is a potential for this to transform into a symbolic manifestation of an “us and them” mentality. Such a division would support xenophobic forces, which steer recruits towards IS.

The global impact of the attacks can be related to the iconic status of Paris. The attacks hold a personal dimension for millions of people who have visited this city. They have a sense of “there but for the grace of God, go I”. This emotion echoes responses to the destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001.

The Japanese and Italian cafes included in the attacks are symbolic targets for their countries. In March 2015, IS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnan stated that the group would attack “Paris, before Rome”. Rome is a target because of its symbolic role as the centre of Christianity. Japan is a target because of its role in coalition forces. It has already suffered the execution of Japanese hostages early in 2015.

In Japan, the cultural reaction has been relatively low key, as part of a strategy of minimising terrorist attention. The blue, white and red lights solidarity received minimal press coverage. There have been few reports of the Japanese restaurant that was one of the targets. In addition to factual coverage of the attacks, Japanese reports have concentrated on implications for security at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Are there any symbols indicating good news? The Syrian passport found near the body of one of the attackers could be a sign of weakness. It could have been “planted” there – why carry a passport on a suicide mission?

If so, its purpose is to increase European xenophobia and encourage the closing of borders to Syrian refugees. This suggests the mass exodus of Muslim refugees from Syria is hurting IS. The propaganda could be a sign of alarm in IS leadership ranks.

In our responses to the Paris attacks, the grief of the West should not be allowed to overshadow the opprobrium of Muslim countries. Muslims are best placed to challenge the Islamic identity of this self-declared state.

As Queen Rania states, the war against IS must be led by Muslims and Arabs. To ensure success, the international community needs to support, not lead, Muslim efforts.

This article orginally appeared in The Conversation

 

Never underestimate our farmers – not only can they feed the world they can also power the world

We all know farmers feed, clothe and house the world the question that is the key focus of my lobbying activities going forward will answer is – can they also power the world through renewables?

FARMERS FEED US THEY CAN POWER US TOO

Working alongside me are the  dedicated Young Farming Champions team at Picture You in Agriculture who also believe our farmers can help power the world. They are not alone and they have joined forces with a very powerful group (both in size and capacity) of people who vehemently share this belief

There is no denying that an poltical environment in Australia that facilitiates and encourages our farmers and their equity partners to invest in reneawble enery will provide a watershed opportunity for our farmers to not only leave a phenomenal legacy for the planet, it will also provides a new, exciting and pivtoal opportunity for farmers to significant reduce the market and prodcution inputs volitiltyand business risk that a reliable source of dual income from farmers putting energy back into the grid offers

I look forward to sharing our journey to get the Abbott government to share our vision and make it their mission to deliver the necessary incentives and policy to turn “Farmers feed and powers us” from possible into reality

This week as I attended face to face meetings and participated in conference calls from unique locations I was constantly reminded of another often unrecognized service our farmers provide

Last Wednesday saw me travel down the south coast of NSW to meet with farmers and bright minds who share my vision and I documented my journey through the following photographs

Enjoy this pictorial reminder our farmers are the unpaid park keepers of Australia.

Sunrise on my front verandah greeted me like this…….

Sept 9 2015 Clover Hill Sunrise (7)

Salute to Michael and Nicholas Strong who wake up every day committed to growing the best pasture ( and they do) the magnificent rain fed soil the landscape at Clover Hill rarely fails to deliver 

Sept 9 2015 Clover Hill Sunrise (1)

Salute to the magnificent and adorable herd of record breaking “girls” our family has selected and bred over the past 40 years 

IMG_3527

On my journey I took this picture of contented bliss on the Burke family farm

IMG_3538

My meeting with Mike Logan ( Dairy Connect) and  Rob McIntosh ( Chair NSW Farmers Dairy Committee) took place in front of these scenes at the McIntosh Family farm 

IMG_3542 IMG_3544 IMG_3547and then it was back home as the sun set on our gorgeous girls 
Sept 9 2015 Clover Hill Sunrise (4)

Yes our farmers and Australia’s landscape are definitely worth my time. I look forward to sharing our journey to ensure Australian farmers get a fair return on their significant investment in the health, wealth and happiness of all Australians

Farmageddon Indeed?

Having spoken to a number of people who were interviewed for this article I know it was months in the writing.

Farms Way

What do I think about it.? I don’t know.  It does raise some issues that concern me. I think the main one being does this megatrend and the FTA mean ‘foreign workers”

What it does clearly indicicate is the world finds technology very exciting except it appears when it comes to using it to help produce our food

I had a pre theatre meal in Sydney last week with a small group of non farming background people some of whom I met that night for the first time. Robotic dairies came up as part of the dinner conversation and one of the group said she was uncomfortable with the concept as from what she had seen on television robots for milking cows meant less human/animal interaction

I know where she is coming from Michael Strong always said the reason he loves to dairy is because he loves to milk cows so I can’t see any robots on the horizon for Clover Hill in his lifetime

I on the other hand never wanted to milk cows, and having been to farms where robots milk cows, I love the concept of cows wandering in to get milked voluntarily, getting their backs scratched on the way out and then wandering back to the paddock

I especially love all the data the system collects that allows farmers to spend more time focusing on cow health and less time washing udders, spraying teats and dealing with all the stress milking time invariably brings twice/three times a day

From a dairy consumer point of view – it’s an interesting article. The journalist very pointedly is it appears wanting to be seen to be giving a balanced viewpoint. – Interviews with two farmers, a Dairy Australia analyst, a couple of university experts, an animal welfare group and an animal liberationist group

It reminded me how right Josh Gilbert is in this article titled Whoever Tells the Story Wins the War.

This is part of what Josh had to say ………………….

In Australia, our agricultural industry made towns, supported and raised families and provided resources through times of struggle and conflict. Our farms became a location where dreams were realised, memories created and history shaped.

But too often we forget to share this story, the journey shaped by where we are and the lifestyle we grew up with. Too often, we surrender our love and incite fear that food will no longer be on the shelves. And too often, we fail to recognise that what we want most is equality and the same opportunities as our city peers.

Late last year I stood before agricultural rockstars and policy makers and stated that;

‘The farming narrative will be told- it is up to farmers to decide who tells that story and how it will be remembered.’

That the agricultural world that we want to portray is our responsibility and if we don’t share our story, we risk leaving it to someone else. Someone else who may not feel our love and our connection of the land, someone else who may criticise our actions, with little knowledge for why we do it.

Having spent time this week with environmental groups, faith groups and Indigenous organisations to discuss climate change, I have come to appreciate that there is great respect and support for what we do by all parties. We have people who want to listen, who are thirsty for information, but their ability to find information is limited. Our opportunity to share our story is the greatest it has been- agriculture needs to grasp it, take advantage of it and realise this potential.

Whoever tells the story wins the war- the war of opportunity and of accurate, positive stories

History is indeed written by the victors. I am looking forward to everyone being a winner in the production of safe, affordable, healthy food produced by people who care and get paid a fair return for their efforts.

Cows in Paradise

When political leaders around the globe are getting on board the clean energy train why is Tony Abbott still on the coal train?.

Just as there is love at first sight between people, there can be love at first sight between a person and a place.

 A landscape is more than a location, it is one party in a relationship – Vaclav Cílek ,

Coming from a farming family that supplies 50,000 Australians with the milk for their breakfast every day we have come to realise that farming is so much more than food and fibre production. It’s nature that sustains us and our cows.  When Nature thrives we thrive..

Cows walking home Clover Hill

We live in a world that is becoming more and more aware of our environmental impact and we realise that what our family love doing could damage the pristine rainforest we were surrounded by.

We see our role as a food and fibre producer and custodians of the land is to ensure the people we employ, the people we feed and Mother Nature and the animals in our care have a voice

We realise for nature to thrive we had to be prepared to evolve just like nature

As farmers whether we own or lease the land we farm on we have a responsibility to plan for the legacy we want to leave behind. Until we have a plan, a legacy is only a good intention.

For the last ten years I have been accessing funding and expertise for multiple land holders in my region to help them leave the legacy they will be proud of

Along the way I have met many people with very different ideas on what their legacy looks like and how much time and effort and personal funding they are prepared to put into it.

As I put the final touches on the latest partnership report I am seriously despairing about what the current federal government think their land stewardship legacy will look like.

Banksia (1)

I have the joy of working with people like Erin Lake as young person passionate about our landscape 

Renae Marcus and Megan

The dedicated bush regeneration team Michael Andrews CEG  (28)

Regeneration work as part of the project   Michael Andrews CEG  (40)

Protecting the endangered Illawarra Zieria (Zieria granulata)

Michael Andrews CEG  (30)

.and the  Illawarra Socketwood (Daphnandra johnsonii),

Megan

and filming our work to share with the world

I am with the Australian Conservation Foundation’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy on this one and our politicians need to start acting in the interests of the people they represent.

This is what Kelly had to say here

Most Australians want to do the right thing for the environment, but we are seriously lacking in political leadership on protecting nature, life and our shared future.

There are ….local climate action groups working with councils and businesses to reduce their impact on the planet. … Landcare groups restoring creeks and replanting trees on degraded land. …. solar panels going up on rooftops all over Australia. (Did you know one in five Australian households now has solar power?)

….  we should celebrate these acts of leadership which are actively creating a better future.

If only our political leaders would follow suit. Unfortunately political inaction is holding us all back. In fact, some political decisions are driving environmental destruction.

Australia’s environment has never needed a helping hand like it does now. Yet, more than ever, our leaders are turning their backs on our natural places.

…. politicians are making decisions that go against the interests of the people. And right now across Australia decisions affecting our future are being made.

The good news is clean energy is here, ready and waiting, and other countries are deploying it at a fast and furious pace. We just need the political will in this country to move towards a clean and safe future.

At a national level we desperately need multi-partisan support for strong climate change action, after all, it will take more than one term of government and therefore more than one political party to solve climate change.

Most political leaders around the globe are getting on board the clean energy train. It makes me wonder why our Prime Minister is still on the coal train.

I think one of the most important ways to tackle Australia’s environmental challenges is to raise the voices of people in this country who love nature and who want a safe future for their family and friends. That pretty much describes all of us.

Like Kelly my aim is to make it so that our political leaders find it impossible to ignore these concerns.

Surely they can see the management decisions they make now will have impacts far into the future. Surely they care. I look forward to them showing me they do

Want to join me and take a stand and Keep Australia Great Sign the petition here 

Keep Australia Great#aimhigher