Mining People Matters

Steve Heather

Steve Heather, Managing Director and Co-founder of Mining People International (MPi).

Why it is essential that you remain firmly Optimistic

old mining picture

Why it is essential that you remain firmly Optimistic

In this article I acknowledge MPi’s 20th year in business (we clicked into our 3rd decade in January 2015) with a nod to the past and an article based on thoughts first printed during the height of the GFC. We said then that;

The Pragmatic Optimists will inherit the earth mining industry!

Straight up I need to declare that I did not plan to include a photo of Andrew Forrest to introduce this blog, however when I did a search of “images of mining optimism” a huge wall of faces presented to me. Andrew was there – speaking at one of the world’s top mining forums "Diggers n Dealers".  Check it out.  If you haven’t been, you need to get there one time. Interestingly also on my search wall appeared a picture of Bob Brown! By then I was hooked on the idea of using the face of a prominent mining identity. Clearly, anti - “just about everything”, (or so I thought), retired Greens senator and passionate anti mining/pro environmentalist, Bob Brown wasn't going to get the headline gig and I figured Andrew was perfect. This small piece of research did though reveal two interesting conundrums; the first being that I do not agree with some of what Andrew says and promotes and I’m sure I wouldn't personally relate to him on a few fronts. That said, I cannot deny his optimism and positive life force and if the way forward is to look within and model the parts of people that might help mitigate some of our own deficiencies, then perhaps there are some clues here. (Please hold off hitting send on a haranguing reply just for a moment and bear with me) ... The second conundrum came when I looked at a related interview with Bob Brown where he was quoted (amongst other things) as saying: You can be optimistic or you can be pessimistic – take your pick. I was pessimistic when I was young and I didn’t like it. I found it was a mindset which prevented action. I think optimism is a weapon in itself. It’s certainly good for people in business, so why shouldn’t it be used by people who are planning to give the planet and the people coming after us, and indeed other creatures on the planet, a fair go?  Bob Brown on Optimism. Now again, I don’t agree with all of his politics and tactics but wow - the sentiment is awesome. So back to that article we wrote during the GFC. We observed that the amount of negativity swirling around was causing many people to forget how to think straight. We regularly found ourselves in the same situation! What we ultimately came to though was that while there was nothing we could do to influence the market.  We COULD (and HAD TO) decide on our own actions. This approach does though require a general sense of Optimism, and I appreciate that over the past year or two in the mining industry, this has NOT been easy for people who may have lost their job, their home, or even a relationship as a consequence of other stress. However, dark days gradually lighten and those who can at least create a sense of cautious and pragmatic optimism right now will inherit the mining industry of the future. By that I mean that whatever your world is, whatever your career is, or whatever your business environment; be making plans now for the eventual return of better times. If you can do this, history tells us that you will eventually be well rewarded. Look out further than next week. Recapture a sense of the future. Start to position yourself for it.

Image Source: australiangeographic.com.au

Why Optimistic Leaders Build the Healthiest Companies.

I didn’t write the headline above. It is the title of an article on the subject of optimism written by Bert Jacobs. Bert calls himself Chief Executive Optimist at "The Life Is Good Company". The article can be found on the inc.com website here. I highly recommend it if you want to send a dose of optimism into your company. Check out the story of Jake – a stick figure with a “high ratio of grin to head” who helped create a $100m business for two young brothers selling T-Shirts on a street. Another great tip for ensuring that you slant your emotions towards “glass half full” as opposed to “glass half empty” is to ask yourself; “DID today mater?” every day. “…when you ask yourself this question, chances are you’ll know the answer intuitively. Did today matter? If so, great. Do more things like it tomorrow. Can’t remember anything in particular that made a difference? Well, better change it ...” This is a central quote from another terrific short article on the lifehacker website found here. And lastly, for those who are able to laugh at themselves, remember those wonderful words from that hilarious scene as Brian and the other prisoners sang, as they waited to be crucified in the final scene of the Monty Python classic movie “The Life Of Brian”.

Original Movie scene version here.

Updated Karaoke version here. (I recommend this one – sing it loud).

To this day, it remains one of the funniest but concurrently, most inspirational movies scenes I have ever seen.

Always Look on the bright side of life

Even in the mining industry, Life remains fabulous ...

 
 
Steve Heather
Managing Director & Principal Executive Search

P