We all know the saying; we've heard it applied to everything from our political leaders to the sexual harassment and poor treatment of women (and sometimes at the same time). But I would like to see agriculture take a long hard look at itself and apply that same rigour to our own leaders - those who represent us on boards from the local to the national.
I've often heard that we can't expect the same standards from them as they're "only volunteers" and shouldn't have to have the same skills and attributes as we expect from our politicians and other "professional" boards.
Here's the thing though - the law makes no distinction between someone who serves on an industry board and those who are raking in the big dollars at a multinational corporation.
And realistically, neither should it. Our industry leaders make decisions on behalf of tens of thousands of members and for commodities worth over $61 billion dollars.
If that doesn't demand that our representatives take their roles seriously, I don't know what does.
Many peak industry councils are currently undergoing a period of reflection and renewal, but none more than the grass-fed cattle industry.
While some would argue that it's 20 years too late, many would say that it's taken this long for the industry to achieve the maturity and depth of talent needed to ensure that any new organisation will be a successful entity capable of providing the leadership and direction that we so desperately need.
And I see this as one of the current serving members of a peak industry body.
Long has it been acknowledged that the current representative structure doesn't serve the needs of the majority of industry and are eager to make a positive change that will see the evolution of a peak industry council that is democratic, representative and above all - skilled.
The complexity of responsibilities a peak industry council is accountable for is truly mind-boggling, and in a time of crisis, such as the cattle industry is currently experiencing with Foot and Mouth Disease and Lumpy Skin Disease on our doorstep, the need for highly skilled representatives is more urgent than ever.
That is not to say that producers don't have the attributes needed to properly represent their own industry. I'd argue that they're an essential part of any peak industry council.
But we need to change our mindset that just because you own a lot of cattle or a few big chunks of land that it somehow gives you the magic ability to operate in a highly competitive, technically challenging board environment.
Please don't let my words discourage you from stepping up and nominating to represent your industry from grassroots to a national level.
People with passion and skin in the game are essential to a well-functioning representative body but let me tell you this - if you want to play, bring your A game.
Your industry deserves nothing less than your absolute best, and that means a personal commitment to holding yourself and others to account, to continually learning, evolving and developing your talents across the wide range of skills required to properly serve an industry as important as ours.
And remember - the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.
*All opinions are the writer's and don't reflect those of any other organisations.
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