Sometimes a special story passes across my desk. One that stays with me long after I have edited it, sorted out the photos and assigned it for layout. One that makes me reflect on my own life and approach to things.
This story about northern Victoria's Dee family is one of those stories.
When the Dee family won the senior champion cow award at the Victorian Winter Fair at Bendigo in July, the reaction of the crowd told the story of how highly regarded they were among those in attendance.
People were genuinely thrilled to see them win the award.
Dairyfarmer contributor and absolute enthusiast for the dairy industry in the region from Cohuna to Swan Hill Keith Den Houting approached me about writing a story about the family - not just from their interest and involvement in breeding Holsteins but how as a family they have lived with adversity. And how despite some horrendous setbacks, they have continued to be involved in the industry and remained remarkably positive and enthusiastic.
It's a great story with beautiful photos.
It is also one that help puts things into perspective. Sometimes we get caught up in worrying about problems in our lives but if we sit back and think about it, there are others who face greater challenges and who seem to meet those without fuss.
The story also dovetailed nicely with a piece I was reading about what makes organisations great.
This talked about three types of people in organisations: givers, takers and matchers. Givers are those who give more than they receive - willingly helping their colleagues or others in the organisation to achieve. Takers are only interested in themselves. They help others only if they perceive a greater benefit for them and work only to achieve their own goals. Matchers 'copy' the person with whom they are dealing -- they are givers when dealing with givers and takers when dealing with takers.
The article explained that givers made up both the worst and best performers in most organisations. They were often the worst in organisations that did not support them as they 'burned out'.
But the most interesting point was that the best performing organisations and workplaces were made up of predominantly givers and matchers. When takers were weeded out, organisations blossomed.
Givers help make teams great.
Families like the Dees, who have given back to the industry in many ways, help make it great.
As the tough times continue for the industry, it might well be those who can find a way to give who will be the key to making the Australian dairy industry great again.
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