It’s the thought that counts??

It’s Christmas eve and it’s time for people to stop work, finish their work lunches and work days and head into an 11 day break. there are those that will still be working, I think of my nursing friends at this time, firemen, police, train & tram drivers and others who perform public duties (and are never paid enough) for their hard work. They will get to spend part of the day with loved ones depending upon thee rostering. I have as a nurse on call on Christmas night / morning been called in to assist with a couple of birth and some emergencies but infrequently.

I am now working for farm and self and as such – there is no such thing as a long lunch – perhaps next year I’ll organize one in my local town for all the people who work on farm and may need to jolt themselves into the spirit of Christmas. Something with which I am struggling to get to this year, I haven’t had time to do the Christmas shopping with much thought as I normally would have. I did however get gifts to my nieces and nephews in other states in time for Christmas day openings. I have managed to get those that I love gifts and wrap them (albeit) today and place them under the tree.

There is one thing missing from the tree or bottom of it and that is a gift to myself, I decided this year I wasn’t going to bother getting me something other than a book I can struggle to find time to read during the year. I may keep it till I travel and read it on a plane (a planned trip to Sydney shall happen this year).

I know many farming women who work with partners and are looking down at 2 or 3  more months of summer, going into a drought with dread.  I wonder how many of you have for gone your own Christmas present this year? I would love you all to tell me and I would also love to hear how many years it has been since significant other bought a gift? It’s the thought that count though isn’t it? isn’t it?

Wishing you all a Happy & safe Christmas season, drive carefully on the roads, I’ll be on them and we’ll get to spend some precious time with my daughter

Merry-Christmas-Santa

 

Today is brought to you by the letter D part 1

It is something in the country many of us are aware of, we can look at each other and know that D applies to all of us. There is no escaping it, we have to interact on a daily basis and we know those coming to see us are partakers of this. Driving is one of the biggest time wasters country people have to participate in. I can hear the sales reps who work on the road howling their protests and the great truckies of Australia, but that is their jobs and they get paid for it.

Farmers cover kilometres just driving around the farm checking on things. they have to check fences if they have livestock. They have to check troughs, waters and dams, they have to check the stock that live in the paddocks, that drink the water out of the troughs and they need to drive to do this. I currently have a husband who is wearing out trouser belt tabs from his pants as he is forever hitching them up as he gets in and out of the ute. Even the classical mens shed is not attached to his house or ‘in the back garden’ it is normally close on 200 mtres from the house, the place where they go to ‘fix things, check things, get tools from and plan their day.

Women get to drive everywhere as well, if you work off farm then you are travelling, I have clocked myself some weeks and I have done over 1000 kms in a week. It is such a tiring waste of time that it is boring. I have travelled many times just to see family and friends, you can not do business from the ‘farmgate’ that is a complete myth, one has to travel for this.

As farmers if you require service people they charge you the driving fee and though we only live 50km out of town there is always a travelling fee, it is as if they are travelling into Adelaide, it is offensive most of the times we receive it. We can not charge them for return of goods, we can not charge them for the inconvenience of them not doing their job properly in the first place require them to come out numerous times nor if we have to take the machinery or parts back into them and when questioned they get offended.

Living in the country is kilometres and kilometres of driving whether it is on the property or off the property and it’s boring. I waste large amounts of my life driving but sadly if I don’t do the trips very few opportunities or people come our way.

 

Women’s networks, sessions and webinars – are they useful?

I started late last year, deciding I needed to expand my skills and networks to include more busy women with ambition, ideas and directions. I am a member of the YWCA, Women on Boards and Business Chicks and decided that I need to (as a member) go along to these seminars that they run.

I have decided I want to get onto a Board and need to be Board ready, I did the YWCA ( there is one in every state in Australia)  “She Lead Board Training” one day workshop. I found it very useful and the connection of the girls was vast and a great network. It’s upside was it was informative, inclusive, relevant and talked on Governance. It’s downside it is geared towards the younger ladies, who are considering Boards or school councils (I have passed these). So I highly recommend this for any lady who has wants to get a basic understanding of Boards, committees and Governance issues.

I followed this up with Women on Boards “Getting Started: Realising Your Board Potential” run by Director and co-creator Ruth Mudd. This was another workshop, which I can say matched where I thought my ability and levels were at. It was again full of women. Ruth gave practical and at time complex knowledge of the dealing of Boards and where to target your skill set, and how competent one is to apply for the different levels of Boards. I found this extremely helpful and though this does not open the door to Boards you get exposure to what is a minimal requirement to get on Boards and the big highlight here was “if you don’t understand the financials you are not of use to a Board”. Taking it the next step, we got given a list of Courses to do, places to do them and homework, Identify a mentor and work with that person who needs to be a Chair of a Board. The downside, not enough education events and course are run in SA mainly NSW & VIC, which can make them expensive. They offer great discounts to members so if this is where you want to place yourself become a member, they will work with your CV to make sure it is Board ready.

So I set about going off to do the Financials for Non Financial Managers through AIMSA, part of a Cert IV in Financial Management. It was interesting, hard and extremely helpful and I highly recommend this for all people on Boards. Knowing this was the minimal requirements set for Professional Boards I wanted to be Professional at the very least.

I followed this up with a talk by Elaine Bensted CEO of the zoossa, hearing her talk about their financial stress and their business plan to overcome their troubles which seem to becoming less of an issue. Pandas aside. If you do get a chance to hear her talk she was great, open and honest in her appraisal of the situation and herself and role in the recovery of the Zoo.

This year I have kicked off with a Karen Brook “Bringing Ideas to Life” Webinar. Here is another young woman putting herself and her business out there. It was well worth the hour of my time. She talked on how to move your business forward, branding, communicating in the business world and purpose and direction. It was very thought-provoking and does leave you thinking you need more. A one on one with her is recommended, I am yet to do a workshop.

I am good at finding trouble

As I dip my toes back into this world of blogging, I have missed it, yet I feel trepidation in taking off my training boots & socks and putting them out there. Of course this is a metaphor for myself. So much has happened since my last blog and I feel I have tempered and double checked myself and stayed out of trouble but this last couple of weeks I have found it.

It’s a bit like “where’s Wally” I am jumping, waving, yelling (in high visibility clothing) “here I am, bring it” Then BAM, it is in front of me and I have lost sleep because of my frustration and feelings of powerlessness caused by others. Its crazy in that the power of some can influence others into being irrational, thoughtless and well just plain mean.

I have been asked this week to remove tweets, face book postings as my words were taken as “being suggestive of others doing something illegal” This was not the intention what I was saying was what they did was immoral & unethical, but I took them down none the less and purely in respect to the writer not to those that found me controversial. Some of you would say I conformed, the posts were left for an entire 12 hours before I was given a call out. So for all intents and purposes it worked, it tweaked the conscious of those that were involved and made others begin to ask questions.

I am still getting messages about it, I can not for the life of me sit back and watch people or women not having ‘contracts renewed’ by others who should know better. Or for my thinking perhaps they do not know better, it is bullying and it is unprofessional. This was done with no notice and after original contract had already expired and there is nobody qualified enough to take her place. How does this make good business sense? how is this NOT bullying? the majority of voters were male, there was one sane voice on this panel (a woman) that said “it didn’t make good business sense” but unperturbed they went ahead and made not only a woman jobless, a single mother jobless there was no performance based assessment here either by the way. In fact the previous meeting she was congratulated on her work, sadly this committee in both Constitution & Polices do not have any mechanisms in place to protect the workers (or each other). There is no bullying policy, no access & equity, no organisation chart where the CEO is in control of operations, it has no equal opportunity policy and no disability policy, in fact these documents read like they were when incepted probably back in the 70’s. There has been no forward thinking officer here that has introduced them, made themselves and the other members accountable for actions and worse than that has perhaps not seen a need if they themselves may be like it. See you can all read the trouble that is coming my way once I post this. I wanted to be part of this group as I originally felt they were working towards a good cause, fighting the good fight as they say but the leader dissuaded me, I was too weak to say hang on “I’m doing it”.

I have had numerous people ring, email, call wanting to know how to change it as this panel is making decisions that are going to affect the entire community with NO consultation what so ever. This will never work out fairly, nor in my own opinion, be of  benefit to anyone, so why do others do this? Perhaps they are tired of the fight and instead of putting their hand up and asking for others to step in they put their heads down and stumble along, sitting biding their time till their time is up. Perhaps they could be megalomaniacs where there has to be an outcome and their outcome is the only outcome that can be reached? Perhaps they have the rescue syndrome in that they see themselves on a white horse, sword waving, long hair blowing in the wind not seeing themselves popping fingernails as they are clutching onto some else’s tried & tested ideals that are slowly sliding off the cliff. I don’t know I am only assuming but really if you don’t want to do the job, why stop others who are performing? Why grunt at them instead of greeting them, it’s rude and terrible behaviour for adults in (supposed positions that deserve respect).

There is no shame in stepping down, paving the way, creating opportunities of succession, really there is none. So why do we hang on to old ideals, ‘go with the flow behaviour’ or  follow the leader no matter how ill-advised this can be. Even leaving early is better than being the last one standing. No one thanks you for staying late as the mess is still there the next day when you could have started to clean earlier had they gone home. Being a good effective leader is having the ability to move aside, everyone is replaceable no matter how important you are (or think you are) or what position you create or are in. There is always someone who can step up, they may (luckily) not have the same qualifications as yourself but they may also come with great forward thinking ideas.

When you work in an industry where ‘best practice’ is expected on a daily basis then it should be expected on the Panels, Boards, Committees and workers associated with that work place and those same rules are applied to themselves. A good committee, Panel or Board works well with CEO’s and staff to ensure that operations are run well, they should not step into the Operations arena  at all. I am yet to find a document on google that says this is a good idea. This not only under minds their basic roles constitutions and policies, but that of the CEO, why have one (a CEO) in the first place if their decision is not going to be reflected and respected?

To those that want to know how to change it, become involved, make your voice heard, write to those involved, call them, make it known how you want them and yourselves treated. Don’t sit back and watch become engaged and engaging of others