Be authentic about values

GippsDairy recently hosted the GippsDairy Muster in Denison, at the farm of Jon Ryan and Lauren Clyne.

We were blessed with a lovely sunny day, and welcomed about 270 attendees to enjoy a day of innovation, connection and inspiration.

Planning for the muster began last year during COVID-19 lockdowns, and it took a brave, passionate and committed team to bring the day to life.

On behalf of the GippsDairy board, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to make the day a success — including the organising committee led by GippsDairy director Michelle Axford, the GippsDairy team, Jaydee events, our hosts Jon and Lauren, and our speakers and sponsors.

I often think that the best learning starts as you make your way home from the event, when you have time to ponder, and your mind starts to connect the dots. Rumination, you might call it!

Into the rumen goes not just the speakers and what they said, but the casual conversations and connections, your situation and lived experience, and usually for me, a wish that I’d taken more notes.

Out of my rumination for this column, I ended up with two key words: Authenticity and Values.

Authenticity can perhaps best be described as being real, and not pretending to be something or someone that you’re not.

It’s probably what delivered the greatest value to me across the day of the muster; the willingness of our speakers to share the good and the bad, the truth and reality — not just the shiny and superficial.

Values, because I believe these are the key to being authentic.

Have you thought about your personal values? What about your business ones? Are they up on the wall and do you live them every day? Every person, and every business will have a different set of values. How then do we work together? Why does this matter — shouldn’t we just get on and do the job?

It matters, because Nollaig Heffernan told us that we are competing with 88,000 vacant hospitality jobs in Australia. Lack of people isn’t just a dairy problem. Both employees and the self-employed (yes, that’s pretty much all of us) have more choices than ever about what we do for work.

I found that the easiest way to figure out my personal values, is to think about what makes me really angry, and also what makes me really motivated. Usually, these things happen because they touch on our deeply held values.

Pick three or four words, write them down, and see how they feel. It will take time, but when you’ve got them worked out, it will help you understand why you react the way you do, and where you find satisfaction in your job and your everyday life.

Business values are shared values that form the basis of how we work every day.

Certainly in our business, when things go wrong, we can almost always bring it back to one of those values falling down. We discuss our business values and the behaviours that go with them at the job interview stage, and recruit people who identify with our values.

Then there’s how we work together. Rachael Robertson gave us a clue at the muster as she shared learnings from her year in Antarctica — respect trumps harmony, every time.

Rather than seeking to have a team of people who are the same, and always at peace, we need to respect each other’s differences.

When we see this as an opportunity to utilise our different skills, values and motivations to best advantage, a diverse team can achieve great things.

Lauren Finger

GippsDairy chair