Peter Birch is the co-founder of B+W Rural in Moree, new South Wales. With over 25 years experience as owner of B+W Rural in Moree and numerous years before that as an agronomist, Peter has a broad range of knowledge and expertise. And a well regarded network of colleagues across the Australian Cotton industry and beyond. Peter is also known as an industry commentator and sought after for advice from emerging leaders in the region and industry. We invited Peter to speak at a recent Australian Future Cotton Leaders Dinner in Moree. He spoke about a wide range of topics including his Own Pathway, Staff Management, Clients, Technology, Mental Health, the Vibrancy of the Cotton Industry, Mentoring and Getting Ready for your Future. With so much generous sharing, I think we will have to video Peter next time!
"You can learn from anyone - anytime."
"Say YES to Leadership"
Peter studied at University and headed into the workforce in 1974. He worked for a chemical company for 6 months and moved to regional New South Wales. He stayed! He loves where he lives and is proud to have developed a successful business supporting others - staff, clients and colleagues.
Look After Your Staff
Looking after your staff is really important. Leading by examples is one of the most important things you can do. Treating staff with respect is essential and simple, you just have to do what you say you will do. People - your staff look to you. Keep yourself physically and mentally fit. Always present happy and people will respond. As an example of this, at B+W Rural in Moree, we provide bread, meat and salad each day for our staff. This offering helps build the team as they sit down and have lunch together, saves time and also encourages them to not go out for take away each day. We have found this to be a fabulous strategy to support our staff. Be encouraging of your team. Pick up on signals when things aren't going well and see where you can help.
Look After Your Clients
Looking after your clients is paramount to any business. It's important to treat all clients with respect. Taking time to do the best job you can for them is important. And getting it right and doing a good job is critical each and every time. Always have something interesting to present about. Never forget the face to face in business and with clients. In fact, with everyone. This is what agriculture is all about!
Look After Yourself
Take time to look after yourself, both physically and emotionally. This is really important in business and leadership. Stay fit and healthy. Dare to be Different. An example of this is the Australian Cotton Conference where I have dressed up as a clown. It is a reminder not to take yourself too seriously and for others to see that life is about having fun and seeing the lighter side.
Look After Your Business
And you can dare to be different in your business too. We have made a technology focus at B+W Rural at Moree. We have developed a strong enough understanding of technology to be a in a position to be involved in in assisting others in their decision making. Drones are an example here. There is no doubt technology is coming and you need to keep abreast of it. Drone and satellites are an amazing resource.
Look After Your Industry
The Australian and global cotton industry is vibrant. There is a strong sense of competition and cooperation. It's a young people's game. A fabulous industry of cooperation and support. From time to time the cotton industry comes under attack - spray, GMO and now water. It's important for everyone to have a succinct story to tell about these things. Social media has a role to play here. Everyone needs to get on board and find these channels to share their stories. We need to get on top of issues early.
Look After Your Future
If you aren't thinking 10 years ahead then you just aren't in the game.
And a Word About Mentoring
Mentoring is really important to your own development and to those around you. We have built a good team of senior agronomists at B+W Rural. Those that move on always talk about the value of mentoring. There is no such thing as a silly question, we will never laugh at you. And we always have our phones on. Mentoring is about respect and trust.
"Say YES to Leadership"