Australian behavioural scientist Allan Parker paid a visit to the region recently to conduct a communication and negotiation workshop in Glen Innes.
The workshops focus on managing relationships and communication to enhance productivity and profitability.
“We put so much energy into what’s different and what we disagree on,” Mr Parker said.
“The amount of time we waste, if you extrapolate that across the entire country, I think it would be worth one billion dollars in loss of productivity each year.”
I think it would be worth one billion dollars in loss of productivity each year.Allan Parker
Mr Parker said the workshops explore ways to create a rapport among key stakeholders.
“One of the important things I say is ‘how do we stop being me and become we’ and how do we make our needs higher than ‘yours and mine’,” he said.
And his strategies weren’t just well-received by the farming community.
“As we started to talk about it, it became apparent that Landcare communicate with a range of other people,” he said.
“We ended up engaging with people from pretty well every part of the community.
“The minute you start working with unlike groups, which I’m a big advocate for, it’s really useful.
“It’s a very interactive, skill-orientated workshop around what will allow us to produce really good human interactions in general.”
During the workshop Mr Parker conducted a segment on relationships with teenagers – and how to approach difficult times.
“They want to claim their own power and independence and make decisions,” he said.
“We generated ideas about how many ways to give children their independence in a safe way.
“It’s about getting people to realise that we all turn up trying to get our needs met, but if we spent more time generating options about how we could get them met and get inventive – and come up with 10 options instead of one solution.”
Mr Parker is the managing director of a Sydney-based consultancy company called Peak Performance Development which operates in the areas of negotiation, organisational change facilitation, training and dispute management. He is also author of a new book called The Negotiator’s Toolkit.