Future Leaders 2015 – Session Three wrap-up

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘influence’ as ‘the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something…’ and it was ‘influence’ that provided the theme for Session Three of Future Leaders 2015 held in Yarra Valley last week.

With an overarching goal to develop participants both personally and professionally, day one saw the collective talking media, spin and influence with Toby Ralph, marketing, strategy and communications consultant and ‘Gruen Planet’ contributor.

Future Leader Gemma West, Continuous Improvement Coach at Treasury Wine Estates, described this as a highlight of Session Three.

‘Toby showed us how people outside the sector can “spin” an image around a topic. We looked at how we view our short and long term future and how we might be able to come back if “spin” negatively affects the wine sector’, Ms West said.

How important is ‘spin’? Does truth end and spin begin or can truth and spin collocate? How influential is emotion in any debate?

From speakers across days two and three, it turns out that the answer is ‘very’ and when we talk about ‘effective influence’, it turns out that both ‘emotion’ and ‘connection’ are foundation stones. The Future Leaders 2015 were introduced to the theory underpinning this idea by Zoe Routh.

‘Imagine if one person’s values, ideals and beliefs fit inside a volcano – with behaviour at the top. There is a lot going on under the surface that influences people’s behaviour and it would be rare that we’d ever get the opportunity to fully understand someone’s reasons for it,’ Ms West said.

‘People management is the most important part of leadership and it was valuable to understand that effectively using empathy enables us to visualise what might be happening below the surface, instead of simply taking behaviour at face value.’

The importance of emotion and connection were practically evidenced by Andreas Clark, Wine Australia CEO, Lawrie Stanford, Wine Grape Growers Australia Executive Director, and Paul Evans, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Chief Executive, who were each invited to sketch and share their leadership journeys in the context of the current sector issues.

For Ms West, the most valuable part of Session Three was in continuing to build the relationships formed through Future Leaders.

‘Future Leaders has created a circle of trust – we can share issues and discuss ways forward together. It has also provided us with valuable opinions outside our immediate sphere due to the breadth of industry roles in our group.’

Future Leaders