“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” “Failure is doing what you did last year and expecting a better outcome.” “You fail because you fail to change.”

Rah! Rah! Rah! I’m sick of the word ‘failure’. The dairy industry is failing and, as it collapses, every attached industry or service is going to experience failure with it. We have very knowledgeable and long-standing dairy farmers breathing, eating, and sleeping with ‘failure’. The world economy is failing. Even David Cameron has failed and I am sick of being constantly told I am failing.

The gloom and doom is frightening and I am also sick of being frightened. Yes … money is tight. Yes … the drought didn’t help. Yes … the future forecast is abysmal. Yes … the industry is in uncharted territory and yes … new thinking is what’s needed. We need to tip our usual ways of doing things upside down if the economy is going to overcome the massive world financial blowout which is looming. Yet, turning our businesses upside down and having to look at them from an entirely different perspective is tremendously difficult and will create extra stress on already strained situations. But, to survive, we must.

Recently I was at a seminar given by an exceptional gentleman about the organisational psychology of design thinking (or in ordinary terms – the emotional brain versus the realistic brain). It was a revelation to me to listen to his presentation and to understand simple ways to take the emotional aspect out of decision-making. Things like what kinds of food to eat to assist with this, which parts of the day were best to make the best decisions, and a list of some ordinary strategies I could use to help me get through these extraordinary times.

We have all heard someone say, “I’m sorry. I’m just not in the right frame of mind right now.” And, like me, you probably thought it was a cop-out statement. But this seminar made me realise how honest that statement is and how certain factors, such as neurochemicals and protein levels within our bodies, can have a profound impact on effective decision-making. His message was that we do not need to be victims in times of change. Instead, we need to focus on the things of value for the future, we need to identify where innovation is going to go, we need to connect with opportunity and we need to economically realign ourselves to new prospects and novel approaches.

Fear is an emotion … the fear of failing … the fear of complete humiliation … the fear of change … and it can rapidly lock you in its grip. Yet, if you cold-bloodedly remove the emotion from fear, you are left with a logical process (or an obvious pathway) to change. And, while change is going to be a struggle because the status quo will not yield very easily, I shall roll up my sleeves, redouble my efforts and fight harder. What else am I supposed to do? The penal system and tourism seem to be the current answer to expanding and securing industries … now that, combined with Kiri and Peppermint, could be an interesting mixture.