David Stewart, RYP International
David Stewart (B Ed, Grad Dip Sports Science, master’s Business Leadership) David is the Founder & Principal of RYP International – A Coaching & Advisory Practice. For over 40 years he has worked globally with organisations, communities, sports teams, CEO’s and their leadership teams to develop their capability and culture to maximise performance.
Storytelling will always provide a window to the culture of any team or community. Storytelling is the most powerful weapon any leader has to engage, inspire and influence others ... Storytelling reveals how a leader walked their talk. Whilst storytelling is the mechanism to pass on history and wisdom, it is also the mechanism for a leader to build trust, belief, and credibility. No story, no impact!
This week I am going to explore what demotivates volunteers, and hence increases the likelihood they will stop being involved. Volunteer participation is the responsibility of leaders, and I provide a checklist to help ensure leaders are doing everything in their control to maximise the likelihood of volunteer attraction and retention ... Volunteer motivation is a key factor in their continued commitment and contribution to any community organisation or charity.
In recent times I have been saddened to see reports that many local community groups and charities are struggling or being forced to close due to a lack of volunteers. Volunteering may be the best leadership and team development program anyone ever undertakes. Don’t think of volunteering as a cost of time – but rather an investment in personal development.
A quick lesson anyone learns when travelling regional and rural Australia is how quickly you must adapt to the unpredictable and ever-changing circumstances regional communities find themselves in. If you cannot adapt – you cannot survive! This requires a special mindset ... “The important thing is to never stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”: Albert Einstein.
Reaching Your Pinnacle - a mindset, not a destination. Leadership is not easy. It requires time, persistence, patience, and above all energy. This is especially true in regional and rural Australia, where the need for leadership can suddenly become foisted onto a person at any moment. The first test of leadership is your ability to lead yourself. If a leader is OK and in a good place, then they have an ability to help others.
Have you ever noticed it is always the same people who volunteer and involve themselves in all aspects of the community? Regional and rural Australia would not be the same without our army of volunteers, community leaders, and people who put their hands up to lend a hand for the betterment of the community.
A leader has a responsibility to role model a resilient mindset to overcome difficult times. Nothing goes to plan. Especially living in regional Australia there are always challenges ... Optimistic people are more resilient than pessimistic people. As Henry Ford famously quoted: “If you think you can - you are absolutely right! …. If you think you cannot – you are absolutely right!”
The Victorian Government’s recent decision to cancel the Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria once again demonstrates two things. Firstly, for a leader to be trusted, any up front promises and subsequent actions and lived experiences must align. Secondly, regional Australians must be able to adapt quickly to the incompetent decisions governments make. This is often and many.
Regional townships have a huge advantage over big cities in an ability to authentically inject a sense of connection and inclusion into the community ... when people know their family history, you will hear stories of enterprise, resilience, perseverance and bravery, which help fuel a sense of pride and family identity ... the research is quite clear. Children who know their family history have a sense of belonging, and in turn are more resilient.
Whether you are a coach of a junior sports team, president of a volunteer organisation, manager of a workplace, teacher or parent, an ability to coach and influence others is a life skill. Regional Australia has a long and proud history of coaching and influencing each other. It is how we get through difficult times together.