Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 4: Capable and Confident Producers
Procedure 4.4
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The ability to quickly adapt to changing situations (seasons, markets and input costs) is a key factor in business success. Applying new knowledge and skills enables a business to seize opportunities and provides a buffer against influences beyond the farm gate.

It is important to commit to identifying and implementing new ideas for your business. This involves a commitment to developing the knowledge and skills of each individual and, through them, the capability of the business to be productive and profitable.

At a Glance
pt Commit to identifying and successfully applying new ideas for the business

Develop knowledge, skills and confidence within the business

pt Foster positive attitudes and support for change

Key decisions, critical actions and benchmarks

Developing knowledge, skills and confidence within a business requires a commitment to:

Seeking new ideas and information

People with a commitment to learning, growth and improvement are those who are most likely to be able to adapt to the changing realities of business and family life. Learning creates opportunity and this can lead to new production and business options. In general, better trained people are more confident in their decision-making and are more likely to make timely decisions that can benefit the business.

There are many ways to learn, discover new ideas and identify opportunities. Some people prefer reading articles and books, while others prefer to attend workshops and field days or to participate in discussion groups and use the internet. Identify the methods that best suit your personal learning style and situation.

Learn by doing and trying new ideas

Applying new knowledge or skills to benefit your business is not always a straightforward process. Use the stages in the ‘Action Learning Cycle’(bottom of page) to help minimise some of the risks associated with trying new ideas, and to help build confidence to successfully implement changes in your farming practices or operations.

Develop personal learning styles

Learning is a skill that develops over time and it is useful to know the strengths and challenges of each person’s approach to learning. Use tool 4.5 to better understand learning preferences and to select appropriate learning experiences

Encourage positive attitudes and support for change

There are many reasons why people are reluctant to adopt new ideas and implement change. But generally, these barriers to adoption can be attributed to either a lack of knowledge, skills and confidence or a lack of perceived benefits from the change.

When planning or implementing new ideas, use production or discussion groups to share experiences (both good and bad) in a positive environment. This support significantly contributes to successful practice change, by sharing information and reinforcing positive outcomes and attitudes.

Good ways to develop the capability and confidence of business members include:

  • Have family and employees complete the learning styles exercise (tool 4.5) to better understand everyone’s learning strengths and challenges.
  • At your business meetings, plan ways to improve the capacity to learn and implement change within the business.
  • Use external information sources to assist with business decisions. This may be through a group or trusted external advisers.
  • Develop and maintain a positive attitude at all times. Build a commitment to whole-of-life learning, training and skills development.
  • Work equally hard on yourself and your business. Remember, your business can only grow as fast as you do!