Making More from Sheep Australian Wool Innovation Limited Meat & Livestock Australia
MODULE 4: Capable and Confident Producers
Tool 4.1
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The process below focuses on a business setting. You can apply it to a family setting by modifying it as required. Consider the following questions and use them for establishing your business agreement.

Important principles to apply when calling a business meeting

  • Appoint a leader/chair for the meeting. If you believe that the issues are difficult and the relationships already strained, you might benefit from engaging an external facilitator who can be impartial in giving everyone a say.
  • Decide who needs to be involved, and consult with others on the value of having a written agreement.
  • Choose a convenient time, place and date for a meeting. Sometimes this may be away from the home environment.
  • Send out an agenda so that people can prepare beforehand. Don’t take on too much for the time you have allocated.
  • Set a start and finish time, and appoint someone to keep notes.
  • Each person’s views are important, so let everyone have a say.
  • Work on the areas of agreement first, before focusing on any differences.
  • Summarise agreements and actions and close the meeting on time.
  • After the meeting, ask for feedback and how you can do things better next time.
  • Make sure notes are distributed. Set at least two future dates to review what has been agreed on and to get into a regular pattern of business meetings.
  • Discussion will be required to reach consensus. Write down your agreed group position.

Often farming businesses find that a series of meetings over a short period of time is the best way to complete their agreement. In some of the steps below, it will be necessary to refer to, or perhaps develop, some clear objectives for the business – refer to tool 1.2 in Plan for Success.

Step 1. Roles and responsibilities: who is doing what?

  • Describe an ideal week
  • What will each person be doing?
  • Is this the best use of people’s skills, or is modification needed?
  • How will they make decisions? Who is responsible for what?
  • Agree on specific ways of handling common situations that arise (eg, heavy work periods such as shearing). Write these down.
  • Who has overall responsibility for business performance?

Step 2. List the situations where conflict could occur

  • What must you do to reduce the risk?
  • What recovery actions can you take after conflict?

Step 3. What do people expect?

  • Each person can make a list of what they expect while they are working in the business.
  • Below are some common sources of tension in sheep businesses. You may like to discuss these (adapting as required) and agree on:
  • Work hours (and flexibility)
  • Work days/week
  • Amount/timing of holidays through the year
  • Remuneration levels1
  • Vehicles (type and amount of personal use)
  • Housing (including power and phone usage)
  • Education for children
  • Recognition/feedback
  • Input into decision making

Source: Adapted from Working in Groups Manual, MLA, 1995

1 Visit or call the Fairwork Infoline 13 13 94 to review pay and conditions for your enterprise.