How to make the monsters go away

For the last 15 years I have been designing and delivering programs to help young people to be more resilient than I was when the perfect storm hit

One of those programs Kreative Koalas has been identified by an international organisation as having the capacity to help young people be resilient to natural disasters

I have never been more thrilled in my life to do a deep dive into the risk assessment process for  “How to deal with Latent Trauma

I know my programs teach others what I want to learn and I have never been more hungry to learn something in my entire life – How to make the monsters go away

Seeking Incredible Aussie Women – When you work with the best opportunity comes knocking

According to Wikipedia Woman’s Day is Australia’s highest selling weekly magazine with up to 400,000 weekly readers.

This week there is a 4 page spread titled “Real Life – Incredible Aussie Women – Ladies of the Land”  featuring four Young Farming Champions  Emma Ayliffe, Anika Molesworth, Jasmine Green and Bronwyn Roberts ( and what a pleasure it was to read about Kate Andison)

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Yesterday I attended a workshop on Elite Teams and I was stoked to have our organisation listed as an example of having a high performance culture.

Being impact driven and focused on measuring the ripple effect of what we do, I have been giving a lot of thought to the impact these young women’s stories will have on the readers of the Woman’s Day.

How do we measure that?

I look forward to my readers sharing their thoughts

Its an important question because this media cost agriculture zero $

It involved:

  •  my time ( the journalist identified me as the go to person)
  • the time of the interviewees
  • Interviewees capacity to share with the journalist high quality photos

In comparison say to agriculture paying for TV time or Billboard space 

Are there other important questions to ask?

  • Why was I identified as the go to person?
  • Why were these young women confident they would do agriculture proud?
  • Why did they have high quality photos they could send to the journalist?

These are questions I am very happy to give my perspective on if asked

What I would like to do is give a big shout out to our journalist Mandy McKeesick. It is because she writes high quality content for us that these young women are highly visible and easy to find when journalists from the Woman’s Day and any other main stream media are looking for talent

Lets all choose to challenge – Raise your hand high to show you’re in and that you commit to call out inequality.

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Today I am celebrating a group of young women that epitomise

MOXIE {noun} North American informal
force of character, determination, or nerve.

Anyone who is stepping up and being a force for change knows its hard … and it’s exhilarating, and it’s important.

These young women have walked this path and collected scars and trophies along the way.

Future generations will look back at this period in our history and see marketing and spin, and a complete absence of political leadership and  coherent policy

These young women are taking a leading role in being the force that changes this for future generations.

They are role models advocating for agency and voice for young people

They are shining examples of what success looks like when we invest in our young people

They are choosing to challenge

They are making things better for everyone .

I very proud to walk along side them

#ChooseToChallenge #WomeninStem #YouthinAg #SDG5 #GenderEquality


On International Women’s Day lets all ask ourselves how can we best support women to feel safe?

The day is today… The moment is now…

We are no longer at the age where we can afford to postpone what needs to be done right away.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day

I am currently being asked by #GoodMen how do we support women to feel safe. Very often when you have the deeper conversation they will say I am not surrounded by “men like this”, aka men who are unsafe for women to be around .

And you ask yourself what “men like this” look like to men. For everyone to feel safe we all need to be prepared to have difficult conversations. This is so important for all cultural issues we must change

This concept of putting people in boxes doesn’t fly anymore. Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and now according to The Australian men are right wing and women are left wing is pathetic in the extreme.

If culture change means some books written in another era that don’t pass the culture pub test today aren’t printed any more so bit it.  That means somebody is doing something. Its sending a message

In the last ten years behaviour change has become my area of expertise. Not because I am an expert, its because I surround myself with experts who help others become experts

and we have become extraordinarily successful at it together. This year we were declared world class. 

If this can be achieved in 6 months in a school classroom how long will it take in the community.

What are the barriers?

How do we bring the right people together?

How can we support them?

So many questions?

Yes it starts with asking questions and genuinely listening?

The principles for behaviour change are universal and we can all be role models.


Time for agriculture to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future  

Its was wonderful to read that Australian universities are reporting a significant increase in young people studying agriculture careers.

If the agriculture sector is going to effectively leverage this increase in workforce talent and increase growth we must integrate workforce planning into our core strategic planning processes and establish a clear action plan that covers us now and well into the future.

Over the next six weeks Picture You in Agriculture will be posting their “Crafting Careers” series written by journalist Mandy McKeesick.

Crafting Careers is a culmination of a number of interviews with thought leaders in the agriculture and education sectors that call for us to move from awareness to action to ensure we are workforce ready now and in the future

The Crafting Careers series is an initiative of the Youth Voices Leadership Team and their commitment to

  • expose young people as early as possible to agriculture careers in schools
  • ensure there are multiple touch points along their school journey
  • equip students and job seekers with navigation resources and
  • ensure industry routinely assesses its skills and credential requirements

Over the next six weeks Rob Kaan MD of Corteva, Dr Neil Moss from SBScibus, Craig French from Australian Wool Innovation, Professor Jim Pratley and Scott Graham from Barker College will share their vision for a thriving agriculture sector that has a human centred design approach – we are all only as good as the people we surround ourselves with

As you will see from the research quoted below agriculture is not alone in being behind the eight ball in planning in advance for its workforce needs. The time has never been better to get ahead of the curve and ensure agriculture attracts, develops and retains the best and brightest

According to Ranstad half of employers fail to plan a year in advance for changes in their workforce, and only 13% plan for a two-year period. Rather than being reactionary, agriculture can commit to being an employer of choice and ahead of the curve in ensuring we have the skill sets needed to not only thrive but also grow our sector .

Skilled talent shortages are expected to persist across Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region – even in countries where growth is slowing – due to the restructuring of many economies, labour markets and large multi-national organisations.

The region faces nothing short of a corporate leadership crisis – it’s time for organisations to re-think their approach to attracting and developing leadership talent.

To predict how this will affect agriculture we have the opportunity to :

1. Assess the current strategic position of the sector  – including factors such as the size and diversity of workforce, business goals, long-term plans for expansion or diversification, and location-specific circumstances.

2. Review existing talent – including managers and employees at all levels – and flag those whose functions will be critical to future success and how they can be up-skill these vital team members.

Consider the political and economic environment our sector is likely to operate in within the next two to five years; for example, employment regulation and the number of women in senior roles are likely to increase during this time.

We should also think about what additional talent we will need and the experience, knowledge, skills and capability required.

Effective workforce planning in the coming decade means our sector will need to use a mix of enabling tools, systems and strategies to attract, develop and retain an increasingly mobile and skilled workforce.

Adapted from predicting your future employment needs | Randstad Australia

Did you know?

Agriculture graduates enjoy strong full-time employment outcomes on graduation, with a full-time employment rate of 79.5 per cent, compared to the graduate average of 72.2 per cent. Source

How do we all play our role in keeping our governments accountable?

After spending 25 years working in the for purpose- for profit space I have always been flabbergasted by the way governments spend taxpayer money

I am equally shocked that our governments lack of attention to detail around accountability seems to be so rarely questioned by taxpayers.

We live in a complex world. The challenges we confront today are many. Being future ready requires us to rethink our core processes and practices

No-one has a monopoly on good ideas. Yet our governments throw grant money around like the next quick fix is just around the corner.

Surely real break throughs come from cross sector collaboration, strategic  funding and policy making and creating enabling environments?

How do we help our politicians see success requires a human centred approach and sustainable change happens at community level?

It should go without saying that solutions must go beyond having isolated impact and deliver progress at scale.

It was heartening and enlightening to read Stacey Barr’s newsletter this week

“Stacey is a specialist in strategic performance measurement and evidence-based leadership.”

In her newsletter Stacey gives a a lot of food for thought with questions like

  1. Is the return on our taxes quantified by how much activity government does with those taxes?
  2. Where is the evidence of how it’s improved the quality of life for everyone?
  3. Isn’t that the evidence we most want them to use to spend taxes ever more wisely?
  4. Do government organisations measure their performance with activity measures, because they focus too much on what they can control, and not on what they should influence?

You will find an extract of Stacey’s newsletter below. You can find out how your organisation can work with Stacey here 

Is This Why Government’s Performance Measures Are Activity-Focused?”

The performance measurement advice that government gives its entities causes the biggest measurement problem in the public sector: trivial activity measures.

Everyone wants government organisations to perform well. Unlike the private sector, they can’t be judged by profit. But we all want to know that the tax we pay is being put to good use.

Notoriously, public sector organisations don’t measure their performance well. From my 2017 study, ‘How many organisations have meaningful KPIs‘, I found that only 6% have measures that provide direct evidence of their strategic goals.

In part it’s because public accountability is tough. To avoid the distraction of dealing with reactive public scrutiny, government leaders can resort to vanity metrics and measures of how much activity they’re doing. They will avoid measurement of the real results their organisation exists to create for the community.

But another reason why public sector organisations don’t measure performance well is likely due to the advice they get from their regulators about how and what to measure. This advice unwittingly sends them in the wrong direction:

  1. To believe that strategic objectives are too high-level to measure, rather than making strategic objectives measurable.
  2. To focus on what is within the organisation’s control, rather than the social results it exists to influence.
  3. To measure activity, rather than measuring results.

We will see this problem clearly in the advice given in the Australian Government’s Resource Management Guide 131 (RMG-131) for developing good performance information. It exists to support the PGPA Act for Australian Government entities. But the same goes for many other countries’ government advice for performance measurement.

If public sector organisations are going to truly improve and demonstrate the value they generate with taxpayer’s money, a few things need to be fixed in the advice they follow for developing performance measures.

Fix 1: Strategic objectives can be high-level and measurable.

The first fix to the advice government gives itself on how to measure performance is to provide guidance on how to measure strategic objectives. Any change we intend to make should be observable, and therefore should be measurable. Our strategic objectives describe intended changes, and can be written measurably with a little deliberate effort.

Item 15 in RMG-131 says that because an entity’s purposes (which they define in item 16 as strategic objectives) are naturally high-level, performance measurements should be based on lower-level objectives derived from it’s purposes.

The problem with this advise is that it essentially advises government organisations to not bother looking for ways to directly measure their strategic objectives, but to focus on measuring their activities.

And this leads us to the next problem: measuring only what they can control, not what they should influence.

Fix 2: Public sector organisations exist to influence, not control.

The harsh truth is that no entity can have control over everything it wants to change. Control assumes things are predictable. But our world is somewhere between predictable and unpredictable. And that’s the realm of influence, not control. The most meaningful performance measures for improvement of effectiveness and efficiency (government loves these words) are measures of influence, not control.

Item 20 in RMG-131 suggests government entities use the Logic Model to more easily measure the things they have direct control over. They allude to the notion that they have too little influence over the outcomes they contribute to, to measure their impact on those outcomes.

The problem with this advice is that government organisations will resort to measuring only what they have direct control over. And what they have direct control over is what they choose to do; how they spend their allocated budget. They assume that what they have chosen to do will, indeed, positively impact the outcomes they contribute to.

This, again, leads to another problem: measuring the doing of activity, not the achievements from activity.

Fix 3: Measuring activity means measuring the results of that activity.

In PuMP, we do measure activity. But it’s the results of activities that we design performance measures to evidence. Activities are just smaller parts of the larger organisational system of processes, functions, goals and purpose (as described in the Results Map, activities are in the outer layer).

Item 17 of RMG-131 does suggest that performance measures should focus on what the activity is intended to achieve. But the measure examples given include many actions or measures of how much action, like these:

  • “Effective administration of investment in road infrastructure”
    (what should be quantified to know how effective?)
  • “Coordinate the National Road Safety Action Plan 2018-2020 through the Council of Australian Governments’ Transport and Infrastructure Council”
    (what is the result of this that should be quantified?)
  • “Number of site visits undertaken nationally”
    (what is the result of a site visit that should be quantified?)

The problem with the advice of item 17 is that it’s not reinforced with consistent and proper examples of measures of activity results. If you take just 10 minutes to look at your own strategic plan, or that of any public sector organisation you immediately think of, chances are you’ll find too many action-oriented measures and too few results-oriented measures.

Thank you Stacey

Our politicians work for us.  They spend our money. They report to us. We can all play an active role in ensuring they are accountable and show evidence of how our money is being  spent to improve the quality of life for everyone.

There is a real opportunity here for our politicians and our governments to be leadership role models

That’s why I have signed up for the Getting Election Convention.

Join me and learn how to be politically savvy.  #BeTheChange

“How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

I am currently reading Adam Grant’s new book Think Again. It is fascinating. I am re thinking a lot.

It has helped me answer the question I asked in a previous post – I am curious, if honesty is the most valued leadership trait why did 75 million Americans vote for Trump?  in which  I suggested Australians  are equally happy to gloss over the failings of our politicians in this country   

In “Think Again” – Grant shares the story of a black musician who  estimates that he has helped upwards of two hundred white supremacists rethink their beliefs and leave the KKK and other neo-Nazi groups. It began with a conversation with a white supremist who heard him play and he asked him a HOW question ( in preference to a WHY question )

“How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

Here is a an extract from the book 

It’s one thing to love your team. It’s another to hate your rivals so much that you’d consider rooting for terrorists to crush them. If you despise a particular sports team—and its fans—you’re harbouring some strong opinions about a group of people. Those beliefs are stereotypes, and they often spill over into prejudice. The stronger your attitudes become, the less likely you are to rethink them.

Rivalries aren’t unique to sports. A rivalry exists whenever we reserve special animosity for a group we see as competing with us for resources or threatening our identities. In business, the rivalry between footwear companies Puma and Adidas was so intense that for generations, families self-segregated based on their allegiance to the brands—they went to different bakeries, pubs, and shops, and even refused to date people who worked for the rival firm.

In politics, you probably know some Democrats who view Republicans as being greedy, ignorant, heartless cretins, and some Republicans who regard Democrats as lazy, dishonest, hypersensitive snowflakes. As stereotypes stick and prejudice deepens, we don’t just identify with our own group; we dis-identify with our adversaries, coming to define who we are by what we’re not. We don’t just preach virtues of our side; we find self-worth in prosecuting the vices of our rivals.

When people hold prejudice toward a rival group, they’re often willing to do whatever it takes to elevate their own group and undermine their rivals—even if it means doing harm or doing wrong. We see people cross those lines regularly in sports rivalries. “Diminishing  Prejudice by Destabilizing Stereotypes”  from Think Again by Adam Grant 

You can tell I am Australian because I couldn’t find a graphic about Australian stereotypes that didn’t make me cringe

Think Again reveals that we don’t have to believe everything we think or internalize everything we feel. It’s an invitation to let go of views that are no longer serving us well and prize mental flexibility, humility, and curiosity over foolish consistency. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.

Momoko Nojo has shown us we can all #BeTheChange

Would you agree that the human need to be heard and valued trumps almost everything else?

When my dose of Red Tractor Designs arrived in my inbox this morning  the picture reminded me of a great little book I read recently called Life and Death Listening by Dan Oblinger 

Dan invites us all to become better listeners by building more  CAMPFIRES

Sometimes we need an anchoring image in our mind to focus our intention. The best image for the sort of listening that I’m talking about is that of a roaring campfire.

Inside the circle of the light, it’s safe to tell your story for all to hear.

Almost any topic can be discussed in this atmosphere of friendship and trust.

Outside the circle, there is darkness, fear, and confusion. Leaders and lovers should put considerable time and energy into creating a campfire atmosphere at work or in the home!

Stoke the coals, throw on a new log, and invite the story-telling to commence.

What should motivate all of us to become the best listener we can is this truth.

We should listen to people because of what they are, not who they are.

We listen to people because as a human being they possess a dignity that is invaluable.

They are one of us!

Every human being wants to be understood and loved.

Everyone has a story to tell and desires for an audience, even an audience of one.

The human need to be heard and valued trumps most everything else.

Dan is right. Listening is the most important communication skill.

We hesitate to share our fears, dreams, and aspirations with each other.

When we do, it is often raw, unfiltered, and incomplete.

In the modern hustle of business and life in general, our society lowers the bar for listening.

Our shared human desire for connection is what makes the fine art of “listening well” so compelling. It is the secret to unlocking the universe of people. It is foundational for both leadership and friendship. Source Life and Death Listening by Dan Oblinger 

In 2021 I am looking forward to mastering my listening skills and giving the emerging leaders I work with access to experts from all over the world like Charlie Arnot, Roxi Beck, Kwame Christian and maybe even Dan  to help them “unlock the universe of people” and get the best outcomes for farmers, consumers and the planet

Speaking of great listeners how awesome is the work of Oscar Trimboli who recently shared this on LinkedIn

If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom. The challenge – scaling what works

Intellectual humility—knowing what we don’t know.

Recognizing our shortcomings opens the door to doubt. As we question our current understanding, we become curious about what information we’re missing. That search leads us to new discoveries, which in turn maintain our humility by reinforcing how much we still have to learn. If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom. Quoted from Adam Grant  in Think Again

I am feeling so blessed to be part of something that has this much impact

I have the wisdom to know that the program’s success is underpinned by the relationships and partnerships we build ( and the Power of the Koala)

Monitoring and evaluating (M&E) should be a key component of everything we do in business and life. Asking people to actively participate in the M&E process requires them to be as passionate about the outcomes you are trying to achieve as you are. It also requires you to provide them with clarity around what the outcomes are.

This week I was reminded of the high level expertise I have been introduced to on my journey and in this post I would like to do a shout out to Larraine Larri who was our program evaluator for seven years.

Best practice behaviour change programs are underpinned by program logic.   Success requires a deep appreciation of the Theory Of Change. Putting it all on paper requires a whizz – our whizz in this space was Larri

You might be saying its one thing for young people to say they are changing their behaviours can we show they are they walking the talk? Its gives me great joy to share with you they are. Report the #CKreative Koalas Kids Changemakers Community Action Reports here  

What we gleaned from our exit survey

96% of young people reported experiencing a change in knowledge, attitude, or behaviour (a little or a lot/ either in school, outside of school or both) because of participating in Kreative Koalas

In an open response question we asked them to tell us what these changes looked like.

The top seven participant generated responses ( Note participants could give two responses) out of a wide range of responses were:

  • 20% reported personal growth. This included increased communication skills and confidence to talk to others about sustainability, better collaboration skills and caring for others, and an increased ability to advocate for positive actions that impact the environment
  • 20%  engaged in behaviours to reduce electricity use and energy consumption and increased understanding of the importance of switching to renewable energy
  • 17% reported increased awareness about the impact of their actions on the environment and commitment to action for improving environmental outcomes
  • 15% reported they reduced their food and water waste in general
  • 15% started growing vegetable gardens or other plants at home.
  • 14% reported greater awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.
  • 10%  reported engaging in recycling at home and school

The Kreative Koalas teachers also had multiple opportunities throughout 2020 to attend our  Train the Trainer workshops.

It is clear Changeologist Guru Les Robinson empowered the teachers to support the students on their journey to #BeTheChange

Les ethos reminds me of the work of  BJ Fogg

Behaviour = Motivation + Ability + Prompt

See Les’ Comfy Zone Diagnostic Tool here 

As the word spreads about the high level impact our programs are having I am more and more finding myself invited to consult to other organisations on how they too can achieve this type of impact. I am more than happy to share my knowledge and have conversations that reinforce you don’t always have to have scale to have influence. We can all be #RoleModels


I am curious – if honesty is the most valued leadership trait why did 75 million Americans vote for Trump?

It seemed easy to just brush past accountability in a world where, according to the ongoing tally by the Washington Post, Trump made more than 30,000 misleading claims in four years. Source 

Why would you want to follow someone if you suspected that they were lying or trying to trick you?

According to the Leadership Challenge Gurus if you want to: 

  1. Become the kind of leader people want to follow.
  2. Get other people, by free will and free choice, to move forward together in pursuit of a common vision.
  3. Mobilize others to want to struggle for shared aspirations. 

Then the majority of people want a leader who they believe is:

  •  Honest  
  • Competent  
  • Inspiring  
  • Forward-looking

Then I am very curious as to why we keep enabling our politicians to lie to us. 

If you google trump lies  the list is frightening

The truth hurts, but lies kill. The past 12 months have demonstrated that with a terrifying clarity. Lies about Covid, insisting that it was a hoax cooked up by the deep state, led millions of people to drop their guard and get infected. And one big lie about the US election – claiming that Donald Trump had won, when he’d lost – led to the storming of the US Capitol and an eruption of violence that left five dead. Source

and its not just American politicians 


Thirty five years of research by the leadership gurus have shown them, of all the qualities that people look for and admire in a leader, honesty is by far the most personal. People want their leaders to be honest because a leader’s honesty is also a reflection upon their own honesty.

They make this very poignant statement 

It’s the quality that can most enhance or most damage personal reputations. If you follow someone who is universally viewed as having impeccable character and strong integrity, then you’re likely to be viewed the same. If you willingly follow someone who is considered dishonest and unethical, your own image is tarnished. In addition, there is perhaps another, subtler, reason why honesty is at the top. When people follow someone, they believe to be dishonest, they come to realize that they have compromised their own integrity. Over time, they not only lose respect for the leader, they lose respect for themselves.

Honesty is strongly tied to values and ethics. Once upon a time people appreciated leaders who took a stand on important principles. They resolutely refused to follow those who lack confidence in their own beliefs. 

In reality you really are only as good as your word in the eyes of those you aspire to lead.

Why would you want to follow someone if you suspected that they were lying or trying to trick you?

Not knowing our leaders beliefs is contributing to conflict, indecision, and political rivalry.

People simply don’t trust leaders who can’t or won’t disclose or live by a clear set of values, ethics, and standards.

Honesty is the basis of trust and you have to believe that what the leader speaks or knows is true.

I am constantly seeking out role models who walk the talk. 

People who turn  

  •  values into actions,
  • visions into realities,
  • obstacles into innovations,
  • separateness into solidarity

People who make a positive difference and create a climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.

A leading example in this country in Cathy McGowan and she share her inspiring story with our leadership team this week

I am excited