In Previous columns, we have talked about changes in the seed sector that stemmed from alternative service delivery for seed crop inspection. This issue of Germination also features change: new breeding techniques, Ontario regulations on neonics, new wheat classes and communicating about science and technology.

Just trying to keep up with the changes happening around us is a challenge, and it takes some dedication and commitment to stay up-to-date on all the changes. The impact of not keeping up can, in some cases, be costly. New wheat classes are an example. Growing a variety that has moved between wheat classes could result in a financial penalty to your operation. The new Plant Breeders’ Rights legislation could also be another example.

Reading articles such as those in this edition are a good start. Attending meetings that are of most relevance to your operation is also an effective means of staying up-to-date on changes. Networking, listening to expert presentations and picking up literature at meetings should be seen as a key strategy for trying to keep up. It is in fact a strategy for professional development in some cases.

The CSGA Annual Meeting, which will be held July 2016 in Manitoba, and provincial seed grower association annual meetings are the types of meetings people in the seed sector should attend. There are seven provincial, or branch, seed grower associations in Canada from British Columbia to the Maritimes. Their annual meetings routinely cover issues and topics like those being addressed in this issue. Many of them routinely also provide reports on what is new in the pipeline for varieties of crops being bred and produced in that Province or region.

So depending upon what part of the country you live in, mark the following dates for provincial seed grower association meetings on your calendar:

Dec. 2-3, Chateau Moncton, Moncton, N.B.
Dec. 8, Four Points Sheraton, London, Ont.
Dec. 9-10, Victoria Inn, Winnipeg, Man.
Jan. 13-14, 2016, Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon, Sask.
Jan. 22, 2016, Fort St. John, B.C. (details to be determined)
Jan. 24-25, 2016, Westin, Edmonton, Alta.
February 2016, Quebec (date and location to be determined)

Get involved and stay informed of the changes that are happening around you in the Canadian seed sector.

Pushing the Boundaries

It is often said it is not what you know but who you know. A strong balance of what you know and who you know might be a better combination for success and leadership. Just trying to keep up is a big part of leadership and, ultimately, success for your business. Here’s a set of unconventional criteria to help determine if you are keeping up with change.

Don’t be satisfied with your ability to just keep up if:

1. Nothing is being changed. Leadership is about new. It’s about change.

2. No paradigms are being challenged. Many times the best change is a change of mid-set. Leaders are constantly learning so they can challenge “inside the box” thinking.

3. You’re not asking questions. A great part of leadership is about discovery and you only get answers if you ask questions.

4. There are competing visions. One of the surest ways to derail progress is to have multiple visions, as this divides energy and people and confuses instead of bringing clarity.

5. No one is complaining. You can’t lead anything involving worthwhile change where everyone agrees.

6. People aren’t being stretched. When things are changing and challenging there will always be times of confusion. That’s when good leaders get even better at communicating and listening.

7. People being “happy” has become the goal. Progress hopefully makes most people happy, but when the goal begins with happiness no one is ever really made happy.

CSGA will be considering these seven criteria as we transition to our new executive director, Glyn Chancey, who came on staff in early October 2015. This includes a strategic planning exercise with the entire CSGA Board of Directors and senior staff beginning in November.

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