As winemaker and owner of sixth generation family wine business in McLaren Vale, Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards, I was lucky enough to receive an ILF grant to attend the Leadership 21 course run by Melbourne Business School.
I was attracted to the Leadership 21 course, as it is a development program specifically designed for small and medium-size business owners across Australia. The program helps you to grow your business with the support of experienced coaches, leading experts and other owner-managers who know exactly what you’re going through.
The opportunity to spend time with other successful business owners in industries different from my own was very powerful and created a bond between us all that I have been able to call on many times since. More than just networking, regular meetings over 9 months meant that you got to really understand the other businesses and be a part of inspiring improvement in some way in all of them. This allows you to implement changes in your business as the program continues, gaining support from the group through both your successes and your challenges.
Most challenging was the difficult conversation training. Having actors in the room and playing out difficult situations in front of the group was very confronting. But you were also able learn so much about the way you react, and how that can lead to quite different outcomes. Most valuable was the individual 360 analysis. Being able to get feedback from all areas of your work and personal life, was a huge benefit, allowing significant growth in self-awareness and understanding the way you are perceived by others, and insight into how to improve as a leader.
The other business owners in my cohort were very inspiring to be around. It was great to get outside my own region, industry and family business to learn from our lecturers and the other attendees. I am still in contact with many of them today. Since my ILF grant my business has gone from strength to strength, and I have also taken the leap to create another business with my husband, Swell Brewing Co. Between both businesses, we now have over 25 FTE staff, a significant growth from our humble beginnings.