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For the Greater Good

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For the Greater Good

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Regional leadership is, compared to corporate or CBD leadership, more often marked by its relationship with the community in which it lives and works. Women in leadership roles is evident, collaboration with the community essential in many contexts for effectiveness, and integrity in action critical given the consequences are evident to all and traceable to individuals. It might build anxiety around local ‘fish bowl’ – nothing is private – but it is a material gift.

Leadership should be integrated, collaborative, and connected to community practice. It’s common sense.

The challenge is, it is not common practice.


“We are working in Bendigo with women through the Compass initiative and with Be.Bendigo on The Rob Hunt Transformational Leadership Development Program, because it is a small, vibrant, intelligent, opportunity filled regional community. Bendigo is unique. We think a critical mass of like-minded leaders – from the most senior to entry point, from operations to social entrepreneur – has a real chance to consciously contribute to the culture of Bendigo and the Greater Region. Some 60 women in the community are now part of the Compass network, a significant women in leadership initiative. At 100, we have a movement.”


Swinburne Leadership Institute did an interesting study in 2015 on Leadership for the Greater Good. It concluded that, among many less than encouraging conclusions, that trust in corporate leadership was at an all-time low; just 26%.


Trust is the backbone of collaboration (identified in the emerging study of evolutionary psychology as central to healthy community evolution). Collaboration produces greater innovation, engagement, accountability, self-awareness, development and, curiously, fun. Fun leads to better health.


In this space women come into their own. We cannot know how much of the researched contribution women bring is environmental but we can say, if encouraged, women together are more collaborative, inclusive, have a legacy mindset and can be trusted with assets and money – a little more so than their male counter parts.


Our work with women focusses on some simple propositions in a unique way. We don’t endeavour to ‘teach’ anything in particular. Instead we uncover why we so often don’t do what we want to do, for ourselves as a crucial starting point, and consequently, over time, with and for others.


Dattner Group specifically:

  • Uncover the why of what women do (from the bus runs on the weekend, to roles in business and community)
  • We look at what is important in this (specifically for self, leisure, learning and leading), making sure we are true to what we personally value (understanding self to serve others)
  • We explore internal narrative – how our stories help and constrain us (guiding women as we go to create the story they want to craft their future)
  • We focus on personal strategy mapping (getting clear on personal, family and work motivation)
  • And finally, we challenge women to be visible – to show up to themselves, to family, to work and to community


To do this with nearly 100 women in a small community is a wonderful example of community based leadership and real collaboration.


Women discover something wonderful – we are not hierarchical, the issues we are addressing are as true for the most senior among us and the loan operator, the woman of 65 and the woman of 25.


Coming together in this context is a gift – for the individual and the collective.


The third Compass Bendigo program commences on November 14th 2017, early bird pricing for the course is available until October 5th. To register please go to https://dattnergroup.com.au/compass/compass-women-overview/ or contact our Program Manager via email compass@dattnergroup.com.au



Author, Fabian Dattner, Founding Partner Dattner Group, Co Founder Homeward Bound