Lessons Learnt Number Seven – We all rise when we lift each other up

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There’s a psychological anomaly called the Pygmalion Effect by which higher expectations actually result in an increase in performance. That is to say that if people, yourself included, believe in your abilities to accomplish something, you are more likely to succeed.

The reverse effect, by which low expectations lead to poorer performance, is dubbed the Golem Effect.

‘We can speak at 125 words per minute, but we can think at 900 words per minute. The likelihood that the first thing you say is actually the thing you mean is about 1 in 9 or 11 percent. ‘Oscar Trimbole

Today’s lesson learnt is inspired by a journal entry by Wool Young Farming Champion  and volunteer extraordinaire Lucy Collingridge. Lucy has some words of wisdom for young people starting their career and a reminder to us all we can all be leaders.

“Are you off a farm?” – This is a question that I hear more days than not as I work and live in Australian agriculture. When I reply with “No, I had no connection to agriculture until I was 15”, I receive a vast array of reactions. From the intrigue as to how I ended up with my life revolving around the Australian agricultural industry to the judgement that I have no place providing advice to our farmers, and everything in between. At the early stages of my career, as a new graduate with limited agricultural experience but a great passion to make a difference, I let these reactions affect my mood and approach to the industry. I let the doubt creep in and started to second guess myself.

That changed five years ago when I identified mentors to support my career and life journey .  We can all benefit from the advice and guidance of someone who has been there and done that.  My mentors have shown me that it is possible to become the person I want to be in spite of the inner and outer obstacles I face.

During my time at university, through my involvement at agricultural shows and as a result of the opportunities I have accessed, I have met countless people who were like me and had no connection to agriculture at a young age. So many of the successful, passionate and dedicated agriculturalists working in our industry today were not from a farm, yet they have just as much and if not more to give to the sustainability and longevity of our industry as those who were born on the land.

As an industry, we have a responsibility to welcome newcomers with full support and no judgement.  Outside-in thinking means having the courage to fling the window open to people who can offer new insights.  We may find these new agriculturalists could hold the secret to so many of our long running issues

To those who are only starting out in our industry, I encourage you to jump at every opportunity you are offered and take on board all positive and negative feedback and assess it through the lens of “Is the person giving me this advice or making this judgement the type of person I aspire to be?”.

People say a lot

I encourage you to not feel diminished by other people’s judgments. Instead use your passion, your actions and successes to speak for themselves.

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Looking for mentors. Here’s how to assemble your personal dream team

 

 

 

Lessons Learnt Number Three – Leadership development is an evolution

 Young People may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future.

Too often their voices aren’t heard.

At Picture You in Agriculture we are providing them with the skills and opportunities to earn a seat at the decision making table.

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Welcome to next chapter in our Lessons Learnt series. At Picture You in Agriculture we are big fans of the concept of Communities of Practice where people who share our vision and are getting great stuff done come together and share their lessons learnt, their successes and work together to amplify each others voices, pool their expertise and make more great stuff happen. This blog post in our Lessons Learnt series shares how we are supporting the leadership development of our Young Farming  Champions using Anika Molesworth as a case study. 

We believe leadership development is an evolution. In the initial workshops of the two-year Young Farming Champion program participants are taught the basic skills – how to tell their story, how to reach audiences, how to interact with media, both print and social. They then use The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas as a safe environment to hone these skills and are encouraged to take them into the wider community.

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Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth is using her voice, the skills she has learnt, the accolades she has garnered and the networks she has created to amplify youth voices and mobilise a movement for #ClimateActionNow .

Pivotal to the success of this leadership journey is a continuum of support, networks and opportunities. In this edition of our Lessons Learnt series we look how Anika Molesworth is using her voice, the skills she has learnt, the accolades she has garnered and the networks she has created to amplify youth voices and mobilise a movement for #ClimateActionNow .

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In the last eight weeks Anika has been the keynote speaker at the NSW Geography Teachers Association Conference, Prime Super International Women’s Day lunches and the Rotary District 9520 Conference, talking about her love for her semi-arid property near Broken Hill and the way in which it is being affected by climate change.

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How these conferences came about is a lesson in networking and communication. For Rotary it was availing themselves of local talent at their conference held in Broken Hill. Prime Super invited her to speak after sponsoring the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Award for Agricultural Innovation, which Anika won in 2018.

“While all the award winners are special, sometimes one comes along that stands out,” General Manager Distribution, Prime Super Mark Ashburn says. “We think her work on sustainable agriculture is inspiring and directly contributes to the success of tens of thousands of our members directly involved in agriculture.”

The Geography Teachers conference was an amalgam of many avenues.

“I saw Anika present at the Brave New World Agriculture to 2030 Conference in Sydney in November 2018,” president of the Geography Teachers Association of NSW Lorraine Chaffer says. “Much of what she said had links to topics in the NSW Geography Syllabus. I was impressed by Anika’s positivity about the future and her message about taking action and later found a TED TALK she had made the previous year. The link to geography was very strong so I approached Anika, via Twitter, with a request to present at the GTANSW & ACT Annual Conference in Sydney – using a mix of her Brave New World and TED talks. We were not disappointed.”

Although all of Anika’s recent presentations have followed a similar theme, she finds it important to tailor each talk for the organisation. “To be impactful and give a memorable presentation, it is important to tailor every presentation to the specific audience and have a clear vision on what you want to achieve by giving your talk,” she says.

“The whole process of presenting is adaptive and ever-evolving. I always ask myself, who are my audience? What do they want to hear? What is the message I want to convey? How do I want them to feel and what do I want them to do when they leave my presentation?”

Education needs to go beyond changing what is inside people’s heads. It also needs to facilitate action by providing supportive infrastructure and practical know-how. Anika’s presentations inspire and give people tangible actions they can make as individuals, and this becomes evident at question time. “I often get questions from the audience on big global challenges, which cannot be given quick, easy answers,” Anika says.

“My response is often that I don’t know all the answers and that’s why we need all-hands-on-deck working collectively to find the solutions. Having audience buy-in is very important to me. We are all responsible in trying to find the answers to these big questions, to work together in doing that, and I am pleased if I can help start that conversation.”

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Feedback from Anika’s presentations has been positive and encouraging. Geography teachers described her as engaging, highly inspirational, informative and relevant to the curriculum they are teaching. Prime Super believes her positive outlook for the future will translate to their members having a positive outlook for their financial future.

“We have been thrilled with the event feedback, much of which has included a request to bring Anika back after her trip later this year,” Mark says. “When you get an ‘encore’ and you’re a super fund something has gone right. Anika is a delight to work with and we hope to continue to work with her in the future.”

The trip that Mark alludes to is Anika’s acceptance into the esteemed leadership program Homeward Bound and her travel to Antarctica later in the year. Remuneration from these speaking engagements will go towards Anika’s fundraising for the program, but Anika feels the speaking opportunities go beyond financial contribution.

“They provide me with a platform to share my story and topics I believe are important and they further hone my communication skills, helping me practice and learn so I can do it even better next time.”

This is proof that leadership development is indeed an evolution. Picture You in Agriculture provides transformational leadership training for young people in agriculture between the ages of 20 and 35 and young people in schools between the ages of 10 and 18. Our programs use agriculture as a foundation to inspire students and young agriculturalists to think critically and creatively about real-world issues and work collectively to take action and create real-world impact.

#ClimateActionNow #StrongerTogether #YouthVoices #YouthinAg