Home  Goal Setting

Helping Farmers get the Edge

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Last month Wayne was asked to work with some of the top performing dairy and beef farmers in South Australia. Some of these farms have up to 25 staff and herds of over 1,000 cattle.

For 3 days we worked together exploring how their leadership can turn their respective workers into ‘Professional Teams’. The most significant highlight for them was understanding the difference between managing people and leading them.

There were a lot of laughs but equally a lot of learning. Even the greatest technicians are not necessarily the greatest coaches. For many of these farmers, this was the missing link in taking their farms to the next level of performance and production.

The fact they all wanted to develop themselves as leaders, highlights why they are at the top of their industry.

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We Can Do That! (The Payoff When Collaboration Becomes the Priority)

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We often hear the joke about council workers ‘leaning on their shovels’.

You could not get further from the truth with an inner suburban Council’s Works Depot team.

Nearly 10 years ago I received a call from their manager who wanted to take action to improve the collaboration of his crew of around 30. The team regularly partners with Bridgeworks to build this ‘working together’ attitude.

It’s amazing what happens when you invite the ‘brains from out of the car park’ and into the workplace.

Their commitment to learning, including getting along with others and building trust amongst their team has led to stellar results including:

  • Saving council over $1,000,000 in the first 15 months alone by making and installing signs in-house.
  • Saving over $200 per tonne treating drainage waste in-house at their own purpose built facility.
  • Scoring a perfect 100% twice in their CMP road management plan audits, thus reducing council’s insurance premiums… to name a few wins

All these ideas generated by team members (not leaning on their shovels!)

This caught the eye of their new CEO who was invited to attend the morning session:

“The depot is really leading the way in this as a department, and you and your coordinators deserve to be commended for the culture you inspire in your team.

Well done to you all – it was a delightful, inspiring, thoughtful and fun morning – thank you for inviting me!” 

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Christmas Message 2016: Reflect, Reset & Reconnect

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OK we all love Santa. But really it’s what comes with Santa we like. We end one year and start another – there’s a clear start and clear finish. A new year provides the clean fresh palate to paint a new or better image for you, your business, your relationships.

Thinking about the above make sure you have that ‘shower moment’; that time of reflection – what do I really want to make work in 2017? Remember to Chinese proverb “The journey of a 1000 miles, begins with one step”. 

Commit to doing just one thing differently in 2017. It might make a 1% difference or 100%.

Enjoy Christmas with family & friends – see you in 2017!

PS: I recorded a special Christmas message for you and it may include some singing with the loyal Mentone Iceberger family!

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How do you define happiness using brain research?

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I recently attended a conference in Sydney in my search to determine how brain function effects our leadership and relationships.

What attracted me to this event was that the program, called “Search Inside Yourself” began at Google through one of their software engineers, Chade Meng Tan.

It became a powerful process as to helping building personal happiness and success translating to Google’s success (and we all want a piece of that action!) The key according to Tan is your ability to be more ‘mindful’ – increasing the ‘bandwidth’ between the Thinking Brain and the Emotional Brain.

Due to the Neuroplasticity, (our own ability to train our brains) we can have greater control over our response to any stimulus. Training the brain is as simple as Stop, Breathe (deep breaths – you know, the old ‘count to 10’), Noticing, Reflect and THEN Respond.

This puts science behind why it is important to set clear goals and objectives. If you don’t, someone else will for you!

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Do You Back Yourself?

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In 1963, Bob Clifford was awarded the apprentice of the year award for printing. He began his boat building business in his backyard before expanding it to a commercial operation.

Clifford was both an innovator and entrepreneur. Although he made many more mistakes than you and I combined, he backed himself. He never ‘made mistakes’ just ‘discovered’ learning opportunities.

Clifford founded the INCAT (International Catamaran ferries) business based in Hobart Tasmania, which now build 100m high-speed, wave piercing catamaran ferries supplying world markets. One of his blackest ‘learning opportunities’ was in 1994 accidentally running aground his 40 million dollar catamaran Condor II on Blackjack Rock on the Derwent River.

He found doing business on a gentleman’s handshake, built on relationship and trust rather than complicated legal contracts was more his style. Particularly on major projects with the Chinese who, in business, tended to value relationships over contracts. He used what many described as an “authentic leadership style”

Clifford surrounded himself with loyal employees passionate about the business, encouraged to innovate. It seems very few, if any employees were sacked or laid off from INCAT – even during very lean years.

He had built a community of people all aligned to the cause: being the best, challenging past ideas and taking risks along the way.

…. and of course backing yourself!

Would people call you authentic? Do people trust you and your leadership? Why not discover how you shape up to these important qualities?

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Who’s in charge of your Life?

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Are you “Captain” / “Skipper” of your life’s Direction?

Have you ever skipped rocks across the water with your kids?

I’ve just returned from visiting my son and his girlfriend who are working in New York. We all embarked on a road trip into New England. Along the way we stopped in Maine and walked along one of their beautiful beaches.

We picked up rocks along the beach and started a ‘rock skipping’ challenging each other as to how many skips, the longest skip etc.

I kept a couple of prized ‘skippers’ – not sure why.

When it was time to say ‘goodbye’ and head back to Oz, I thought of those “skippers” and how proud I was of my son and his girlfriend who decided they wanted to take action on their career goals – living and working in New York, just like a Captain or “Skipper” of a ship charting out the course and taking control of their destiny.

As we departed, I presented them with the skippers and said “Susan and I are so proud you decided to take charge of your dreams and aspirations.  – Becoming “Skippers” of your own lives.”

Sadly the majority of people’s lives are “skippered” not by their own goals, but by circumstances, other people’s goals or they simply give up when the going gets tough.

Are you ‘skipper’/Captain/driver of your destiny, dreams, goals? Have you mapped where you want to go anyway? Research says only 3% of people actually write down their goals.

Who’s the skipper of your life? Who charts your course? Time for you to have the upper hand and articulate the business/personal future you desire.

Good sailing!

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Values Posters – Pathetic or Practical?

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Take down your VALUES posters. You know, the ones that say how much “Integrity” or “Teamwork” etc you display.

Unless your staff can put their hands on their hearts and say that you, as their manager/leader, live and breathe what these posters articulate – leave the wall blank.

Otherwise they will do MORE DAMAGE THAN GOOD.

I just finished a teleconference with graduates from our recent Leadership NOW program. We all agreed that VALUES statements on display do more harm than good if such values are NOT lived and breathed by leadership. Until the evidence reinforces such values, leave the wall blank.

How do you know whether you live and breathe your corporate VALUES? It starts by having the courage to ask the people you lead open and honest feedback (that’s if the trust is there). It’s called ‘looking in the mirror’ and highlights how people see your behaviours, actions and attitudes.

Remember, leadership is not necessarily about being nice. It’s about being HOW you communicate, what level you respect others including your effort to continually engage and include others in decision-making.

How good you are at getting worker’s brains out of the carpark and into your business?

This is the focus of our next Leadership NOW program on Lady Elliot Island in October.

Join us if you have the courage!

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Building Best Culture Requires Lateral Thinking

I love this story from the Smart Company newsletter.

Risky stuff, but a great long term investment in Building a Culture that attracts the best.

Coffee giant Starbucks has announced it will foot the bill for online university education for thousands of its employees in the US.

The coffee chain launched a new program yesterday which will pay for its employees to attend online classes at Arizona State University.

Although the company has struggled in Australia, the US arm of Starbucks has been acclaimed for its human resource tactics in the past.

The program is open to any of the company’s 135,000 staff based in the US and working in its company-operated stores, support centres and plants, provided they work at least 20 hours a week and have the test scores to gain admission to Arizona State.

It will allow employees to finish a bachelor’s degree from a choice of 40 undergraduate programs delivered online through the top-ranked University. Juniors and seniors will earn full tuition reimbursement for each semester of full-time coursework they complete toward a bachelor’s degree, while freshmen and sophomores will be eligible for a partial tuition scholarship and need-based financial aid for two years of full-time study. 

Staff will have no commitment to remain at the company past graduation.

“I believe it will lower attrition, it’ll increase performance, it’ll attract and retain better people,” Starbucks CEO Howard D Schultz told The New York Times.

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Creativity – the last true competitive advantage

What do I fear about getting old?…..becoming “functionally fixed”.

This became clear to me as I listened to a great message delivered by TV Host & celebrity Todd Sampson (Australian television personality and CEO of the advertising agency Leo Burnett Australia). Todd’s presentation at the recent 2014 National Retail Association highlighted the power of creativity. The lack of it of course led to people becoming ‘functionally fixed’.

Todd’s view was that becoming ‘functionally fixed” meant becoming more and more routine, stuck in one’s ways, becoming a dinosaur in thinking and in attitude, becoming closed minded. Routine, processes and compliance have the danger of replacing creativity, common sense and just thinking differently/creatively about how we resolve our problems and challenges.

That really scared me as I thought about many of my own conservative or fixed views. It highlighted to how we still educate using methodologies that are often from a 100 years ago!

“Creativity is fast becoming the LAST remaining competitive advantage” according to Todd who heads up the very successful Leo Burnett agency. “Most people think they are not creative. How wrong they are.”

It was Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson that invented the mantra “CVSTOBVS” – with everything we currently do (our ‘current view of the situation) there is ALWAYS a better way of doing it (better view of the situation).

The way you plan your day

The way you do your work

The way you connect with your friends

The way you market your business


There is ALWAYS a better way to do everything in our day to day. As you explore your day why not remember the mantra “CVSTOBVS”.

What will you do different today to avoid the ‘functionally fixed’ disease?!

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Who’d want to be in retail?

Who’d want to be in retail at the moment?? 

Threats from on-line stores, drop in consumer sentiment, competitors from overseas, major department stores laying off staff and stores closing.

There’s at least one person I know who is enjoying the moment of these challenging times – Harris Scarfe CEO Joe Barberis. He’s got all the excuses under the sun to be pessimistic however…..

Harris Scarfe seem to bucking the negative trend. New stores are opening, new staff recruited and profitability is up. Joe who previously headed up Officeworks as their CEO, is excited where Harris Scarfe is currently placed and has big plans for it’s future.

“I’ve learned some many hard lessons over the years, mainly about myself. Self awareness is key, especially understanding your strengths and in particular your weaknesses. Surround yourself with complimentary people. Having a great HR team too can ensure the business continues to have quality open & honest feedback and communication channels

Joe has generously offered to present at Bridgeworks’ Leadership breakfast at the MCG on Friday 2nd August. There he will share tips on succeeding in tough times against the tide – something he is well versed at from opening businesses, closing businesses and taking many through significant transition.


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