The Forestry Source - August 2012 - (Page 10)
SAF Leader Lab: Influence! From Comfort Zones to Microphones
By Tom Davidson oresters are knowledgeable and nice, but that’s not enough to influence tough audiences. As a group, foresters are scientifically minded, analytical, friendly, easygoing, respectful, and shy. We like data, getting our hands dirty, and doing things right. We got into forestry for many reasons, but they didn’t necessarily include working with people, at least not to the degree that is needed now. Yet many of us find ourselves working more with people than with trees, wildlife, and numbers. We deal with landowners, lawyers, politicians, loggers, regulators, special interest groups, investors, developers, hunters, local boards, recreationists, urbanites, journalists, and sometimes even protesters. As managers, we supervise and develop staff, run committees, build teams, lead projects, solve people problems, and negotiate with unions. The focus of this column is a leadership skill that is common to all of these people-oriented situations, the art of influencing—the ability to cause people to think, feel, or act differently. Here are five key principles for you to assess, develop, and apply in the growing scope and evolving complexity of your roles. 1. Curiosity. People will never be ready to hear your perspectives if you don’t actively and sincerely try to understand theirs first. This dimension of influencing includes powerful questions, active listening, and the illumination of other people’s interests, motivations, and goals. For an advanced lesson on the subject, read The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, in which social psychologist
Jonathan Haidt describes how “moral mindsets” drive people with differing perspectives apart and keep them there. The challenge is to be actively open to alternative points of view even while advocating for your own. 2. Visibility. We have to be seen to be heard, which for many of us means getting somewhat out of our comfort zones and in front of microphones. You can start by giving programs for your local civic clubs and continue by speaking up at public hearings, standing up at formal and informal debates, joining special interest groups, representing your state forestry association, taking leadership positions in the SAF, and reaching out to your local media. A great example is Peter Marchese, CF, an SAF member who approached his local newspaper with a novel idea, started a forestry blog in his home state, and made a big difference—for all of us (see “SAF Member Uses the ‘Power of the Media’ to Promote Forestry,” in the June edition of The Forestry Source). 3. Preparation. Do your homework, so that when you get an audience’s attention, you make your case effectively using both facts and emotion. Foresters and other scientific professionals rely heavily on facts, data, and hard analysis when making their cases to others, but at least equally important is appealing to people’s sentiments. Judy Chartrand, a critical thinking expert, explains that people aren’t wired for logical, evidence-based decisionmaking. She says that feelings serve as important cues that help listeners pay attention to certain information, and that people tend to jump to conclusions to relieve inner tension and decisionmaking pressure (see “The Role of Emotions in
Critical Thinking,” at www.critical thinkers.com). As a result, most audiences make decisions based on their emotions first, and then look for the facts, sometimes only to confirm what they have already concluded. So prepare your case in emotional terms as well as factual ones. 4. Persistence. People need to receive a message 8 to 12 times for a single point to stick, which is why advertising is so carefully crafted, repeated, endemic, and relatively costly. The general public is constantly bombarded with messages from every direction, making people more and more difficult to reach through the clutter of information. Even when you clear that hurdle, you will have to penetrate deep-seated belief systems in adults that were formed early, many by the age of 6 to 10 years old. Such primary paradigms help people cope with the deluge of information and decisionmaking, but they also lead us to take shortcuts as adults that filter out important information. An ominous example of this early mindset formation is evidenced by Alabama tree farmer Diane Saloom, who states that every fifth grader she visits believes that cutting a tree is “a bad thing,” even in an area of the country that is highly dependent upon forestry and wood products (see the video, We Grow Stewardship from the Roots, at www .treefarmsystem.org). To be effective influencers under these conditions, more of us will have to follow the example of the tireless Bob
Williams, CF, who has written dozens of forestry articles, proactively spoken with the news media, and helped produce and distribute the video documentary A Working Forest: Its Future with Fire, People and Wildlife, a project supported by the SAF, AFF, and several others. 5. Include a Clear Call to Action. Every opportunity to influence others should include a call to action, a specific next step that is reasonable and doable (e.g., “Contact a professional forester before you sell or transfer your forestland.”). Because your audience is constantly filtering the clutter and prioritizing their time, you have to make it clear what you want them to do. Otherwise, they are unlikely to act on your message. At the 2012 National Tree Farm Convention, for example, organizers set up a phone bank and asked the audience to “go down the hall and call their representatives” with a specific message. This is a great example of a call to action. What’s your advice, question, or challenge about influencing others? Log on to LinkedIn and add your comments to the ongoing conversation about the SAF, leadership, and more (look for the SAF group). Thanks for reading—and leading! Davidson is a forester and leadership consultant, as well as author of The Eight Greatest Mistakes New Managers Make. More information, tips, and articles on leadership can be found at www.DavidsonLeadership.com. Email suggestions, comments, and questions to Tom@DavidsonLeadership.com.
SAF Revises and Renews Timber Harvesting on Public Lands Position Statement
By Robert Malmsheimer and Mark Buckbee he SAF recently revised its “Timber Harvesting on Federal, State, & Other Public Forestlands” position statement. The new statement updates the scope of the prior position and incorporates updated background talking points and related facts. This issue remains highly relevant, given domestic demands for forest products, the need for active forest management and related infrastructure, and both legal and social mandates for economic benefits from many public lands. Specifically, the position states that: The Society of American Foresters supports commercial and non-commercial timber harvesting as an objective and the primary means for maintaining resilient and sustainable forests on federal and other public lands. Experience around the world has shown that, to achieve sustainability, forested landscapes must provide a robust and mutually supportive complement of environmental, economic, and social values. Although the relative emphasis of these values varies among ownership types and locations, it is essential that all values be considered as legitimate options in the management of public forestlands. Most public forestlands are governed by laws and policies that allow or mandate sustainable timber harvesting with appropriate resource management planning. When carefully planned and supervised by professional for-
esters and other resource specialists, timber harvesting can be compatible with, and in fact support, other values such as fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreation. SAF believes that the use of renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable forest products from public lands is imperative given our nation’s increasing resource needs and sustainability concerns. The position statement will be especially useful as the SAF reviews and responds to congressional and administrative proposals concerning federal forestland management. State and local chapters can use the statement to help local leaders and stakeholders better understand how timber harvesting can be a key tool for providing ecological, social, and economic benefits from public forestlands. In addition to the core position shown above, the statement includes a background section that highlights the: Extent and productivity of many public forestlands Mandate, or allowance, for timber harvesting to support local communities Policies and practices that protect other values when public forests are harvested Importance of commercial timber harvesting as a management tool Broad economic and community benefits of timber harvesting Importance and sustainability of domestic forest products
The Forestry Source
Widespread need for active management on many public forestlands. The complete position statement is available on the SAF website at: www.eforest
er.org/fp/documents/timber_harvesting.pdf. Robert Malmsheimer is chair of the SAF Committee on Forest Policy (CFP). Mark Buckbee is a member of the CFP.
SAF Welcomes News and Returning Members
The following individuals either joined the SAF or renewed their membership in the Society during the month of June. Dorothy C. Abbott, Wyoming, DE Thomas R. Albrecht, CF, Shawano, WI Nathaniel M. Anderson, Missoula, MT Linda J. Bedard, Portland, OR John J. Berlanda, Meriden, CT Gerold A. Bourbonnais, St. Paul, MN Leif L. Brantner, Independence, OR Sean P. Brinkman, Portland, OR Anthony R. Cartisser, Gresham, OR Molly J. Corbett, Cumberland, MD Eladio H. Cornejo-Oviedo, Saltillo, Coahuila Mex. Christina A. Cozad, Olympia, WA Joshua Cucinella, Silver Springs, FL James J. Dailer, Triadelphia, WV Casey A. Elder, Aberdeen, WA Amy G. Fannon-Osborne, Pennington Gap, VA Tobias P. Ford Jr., St. Francisville, LA Philip M. Giorgio, Hoquiam, WA James D. Guthrie, Wilmore, KY Benjamin M. Hansen, Milladore, WI Caleb L. Hoffman, Bellefonte, PA Scott M. Horton, Augusta, WI John R. Howe, Carthage, NY John W. Langdale III, Valdosta, GA Michael Leff, Cheltenham, PA Jimmy D. McKinney Jr., Edenton, NC Kristopher C. Meletti, Harlingen, TX Kathryn L. Mennella, Gainesville, FL Brock Messinger, Hanover, PA Henry R. Miller, Altamont, TN Jason R. Moore, Centralia, WA Erik J. Neilson, Astoria, OR Jared Nunery, Hyde Park, VT David Oettinger, Boulder, CO Scott T. Orr, Stillwater, OK Guillermo Pardillo, West Lafayette, IN Jagdish Poudel, Starkville, MS Ryan V. Rohr, Montesano, WA Roger E. Sauerborn, Battleboro, NC Caitlin Sellers, Fort Bragg, NC Angel R. Spell, Spokane, WA Michael D. St. John, Westminster, MA Dalton Starnes, Clovis, CA Brian L. Townsend, CF, Grapeland, TX Brian D. Van Winkle, Carbondale, IL Martin E. Wicklund, Tenino, WA Chris P. Wiedamann, Elma, WA Stephen E. Winslow, Caledonia, NY Jenny N. Wood, Minneapolis, MN
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