CEO Direct Channel podcast #2

Well it’s been a busy few weeks at the wheel and I’d like to fill you in on a few things.

Firstly just to recap a little, the purpose of this podcast, called Direct Channel, is to provide a direct and unfiltered line of communication directly from me to you.

It’s not really designed to give you a full update on everything that’s happening, that will come through other sources such as our monthly Newsletter.

This channel will be more about why we are doing things rather than what we are doing.

So in a football sense it’s a bit like you getting access to the changerooms and coaching box, so that you can have some insight into the strategic thinking and management approaches.

And using the sporting analogy, the most effective style is no longer the one that worked best a generation or more ago – the AFL coach like Ron Barassi or Ted Whitten who took the fire and brimstone, blood and guts approach and screamed and yelled at the players at three quarter time to try to lift – and similarly militant unions got their way through noisy street marches with megaphones chanting ‘what do we want, when do we want it, now’.

Well society has changed a lot since those days, it’s now a completely different mindset.  A lot of those formerly effective communication methods simply don‘t work any more, the sports scientists and psychologists have found that to cut through and get the best out of their players, they need to appeal at a different level.

And that’s why you’ll see the modern sporting coaches, the super effective new leaders, are very calm, very composed and very rational.  They don’t get upset, they don’t rant and rave, they maintain their focus – and they are much more successful.

Here in WA – Adam Simpson from the West Coast Eagles is a perfect example; Justin Longmuir from the Freo Dockers is the same. He came in and has made a significant difference in a very short time – he turned the old combative coaching style on its head. And look at cricket, Justin Langer is an absolute legend – he’s calm and methodical, focused on getting the best and most out of the team.

From the fishing industry’s perspective, we can learn something from this as well.  To get through to our stakeholders – the general community which ultimately provides our social licence – we need to not only get our messaging just right, we also need to think about how that message is conveyed.

We’ve got to avoid being combative, we need to stake out the high moral ground and skilfully win the issues on our merits.  We’ve got to avoid language which frames situations as “us and them”, instead we need to connect at a higher level and peg out that high moral ground.

And we can’t give a sniff of being combative or having divisions – as that’s what other interested parties want us to do. It’s when we participate at that level that we most often have our interests eroded.

Now in saying that, it’s not always black and white – and I do openly concede that when something really very serious emerges, as happened with the Kelly saga with rock lobster – we do have to come out and be strong. But it’s a reserve power that we should hopefully only have to draw upon once every few years.  That’s how the mining industry is successful – they use their implied strength very skilfully.

But you’ve got to be very careful about choosing which hills of battle you are prepared to die upon.

So to sum up, if you look at our press releases or hear me on the radio, you’ll see a careful approach.  It will be calm and methodical, we won’t rely too much on statistics, it’ll be more about explaining things in a clear and rational manner – because what we want to do is to get through some of the doors that have been closed to us in the past. We want to win our way back into the hearts of all Western Australians.

Yes I know that it feels so much better to yell out and bang a drum, but the point is that we need to use some smarter methods which provide regular rather than occasional results.

We’re now on a new journey – a new voyage more to the point – and if we look after the health of the ocean, use the best science to protect the renewability of the resource so that the breeding populations are sustainable, if we act as ambassadors of our industry to win the hearts and minds of the community, and we communicate our messages in a calm and rational and non-combative way, then guess  what, we will have a sound and secure and successful future. And you know what, our community will be better off as a result.

So I’ll leave it at that, but hopefully you can see the background thinking as to why we’re doing certain things and how we’re doing them.

You can download the audio podcast here.