To many, change among committees, boards of directors, and organizations is a good thing as it provides new insight and ideas to grow the organization. Change can also be tough to some as people can feel as though they’re “starting all over again” with a new person added or some feel as though they won’t be able to complete anything with the short time they’re on the board.
With this in mind, I sat down with Todd Hames, then director with the Alberta Wheat Commission (now chair), and director with Cereals Canada to talk all about what it takes to be a part of a great commodity board.
“Well I think one of the key things is to work together,” he says. “Be it working together with all the partners at the table equally and listening to their perspectives and making sure farmers voices are heard, too — it’s very important. Industry always enjoys when farmers can explain themselves and clearly, and also not be looking just at their farm, but as agriculture as a whole.”
Hames explains by looking at agriculture as a whole, that means sometimes one will have to put away their “side issues” in order for the work to get done.
“You gotta let that go and think of the broader picture and I think that’s what (other board members) appreciate,” he says.
As far as what doesn’t make a good leader at the table, he says it’s simply the opposite — not working together, and not being able to listen to industry and consumer concerns. He says one has to put themselves in the consumers’ shoes and look at, “what challenges they might be facing and look for solutions on how you can help with that.”
Lastly, in order for things to move forward, he points out strong relationships on every level is what’s need to get the work done. By having your predecessor build trust, over time it can go along way into conveying your message, according to Hames. This also holds true when trusting one another on the board.
“I think it’s important to have that leadership that is trusting of each other and can rally dig deep into what needs to get discussed and tackle those hard questions. And you can’t have that without trust — it’s the basis of everything.”
Listen to the full conversation with Todd Hames below: