We are so excited here at RuralScope. We turn 20 years old in 2020. We are celebrating by sharing 20 stories across 20 months. These will include highlights, lowlights and learnings. A unique insight into our development - personal and business for you. Our aim is to share learnings to support others who live and work across rural Australia.
This is our sixth story in the series. It’s all about the value of workplace-based learning, how leadership drives culture and how flexible facilitation wins every time.
Working with The North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCO) was one of my very first corporate ag projects. I smile as I write about my experiences over my 5 years with them as we worked in true partnership. It was about improving workplace communications right across the company. Lots of kilometres in Cessnas and Toyotas when I visited the cattle stations, backgrounding properties and feedlot twice each year. And in between I spent some time here and there in the Brisbane Office supporting streamlining of Human Resources including recruitment, induction as well as communication out to the regions / stations.
NAPCO has 14 cattle stations across Qld and the NT and approx. 180 staff. Founded in 1877, it covers 6.1 million hectares and carries approx. 200,000 head. In recent times it’s created the Five Founders Natural Australian Beef brand. This is beef born and raised on the vast, fertile grasslands of the North Australian Outback. www.fivefounders.com.au
I worked with NAPCO to provide workplace communication training for station managers, head stockpeople and ringers and jillaroos / jackaroos. Station Managers were key to my success here. I used the DiSC profiling tool for the first time across and entire staff there and created awareness around the different communication styles that play out across a workplace, team, camp and how to manage these. And I also used the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI Personality Traits Assessment) for Managers – I still use both these tools in my work today. It was fabulous to work on the inside of a company where their goal was to enhance the roles / lives of their staff.
Given my experience with TAFE Queensland where I led the development of workplace based learning, it was amazing to walk the talk with NAPCO in sheds, smoko rooms, kitchens, under trees and in stock camps. On more than one occasion, I nailed butcher’s paper to a tree! I developed and facilitated workplace communication sessions for one on one, small group, team and whole of station workshops. One of the key topics that came up was how to give instructions and receive them so that “the job” got done to the required standard every time. And another was how to report back rather than recount a story (or two) after a job to the head stockperson. In a short time we developed effective communication processes. And at more challenging times like mustering, communication plans and briefings were improved with visuals so that everyone had the best chance of knowing how things were going to play out and what their role was. Transparency in action.
I listened and learned a lot about the challenges and benefits of living and working on a station. I developed a whole new awareness of the meaning of community and what it means living hundreds of kilometres from supplies. The distance between those on station and policy / decision makers became closer and a positive workplace culture continued to grow to make the company an employer of choice.
“Leaders are found across all levels in an industry or an organisation. Capability increases when they are empowered.”
“Listening is one of the most important skills of an effective leader.”
“Technology can be a leader’s greatest friend”
Photo Credit; www.napco.com.au