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When your skills are pushed to the limits, opportunities for learning arise

Creation date: 09 February 2021

Challenges are one of the best ways to spark innovation, test your mettle, change a business and ultimately change yourself.


When Keith Quiney joined FMC in 2015, he closed the book on a successful 14-year career at another large Ag Chem company and took on his biggest challenge yet.  In the early stages of a significant growth phase, Keith commenced at FMC with a blank canvas and the opportunity to build an operations team from the ground up.  


Since then the business has taken on two major acquisitions, significantly transformed the portfolio, undergone major SAP projects, legal entity integrations, and increased the workforce by more than 50%. “The opportunity to be involved in so many major projects is something that doesn’t come along every day,” said Keith. “You don’t often get to be a part of such a significant change – complete with enormous challenges, and ultimately the reward that comes with it.”


Throughout FMC’s growth, there has been one core value that has remained at the forefront for Keith and that is diversity.  “I was very fortunate to lead a diverse team at a young age, well before the term diversity & inclusion was coined,” explains Keith. “This opportunity gave me great insights into the collective power of a team and how useful it was to have people who would challenge both my thinking and that of their colleagues - bringing about great decision making and what I know today as a valued team ethic.”


Diversity at FMC has become even more of a focus since Managing Director Kristina Hermanson came on board and opened up the dialogue about women in the workforce. “FMC as an organisation really values the cultural opportunities that come with having a diverse workforce,” explains Keith.


The FMC ANZ Operations team is founded upon many subject matter experts. “One would love to assume all knowledge; however, this is never the case. It is through the diversity and skills that each team member brings, that teams become collectively powerful.”


Keith describes his team operating as a ‘Swiss watch’, each having ownership and empowerment to drive the outcomes associated with the role, but never losing sight of the business goals. “The success of the team comes from the continued opportunities to stretch individuals and empowerment to own the space in which they operate” says Keith.


“The greatest opportunity in leadership, that I was lucky enough to learn early in my career and have personally been fortunate to receive as my own career developed, is developing people. It’s the most rewarding aspect of leadership, teaching, mentoring and developing people, supporting individuals to reach their goals and full potential.


We all have a responsibility to develop the leaders of tomorrow, and we must encourage our staff and our teams to promote healthy work environments that allows you to be yourself. For an employee to bring their best self forward, they must first have a sense of belonging” says Keith.


“Leading by fear encourages people to narrow their perspective. Conversely, teams will benefit from the elevated power of shared experiences and storytelling, having a sense of belonging, and being able to share their mistakes openly - creating greater potential for positive change and continuous improvement.


Understand when your skills are pushed to the limits, because that is when opportunities for learning arise. It is the ability to trade these off, that brings success.”


Keith Quiney with Andrew Francis, Production Manager

and Stephen Poole, MFG General Manager celebrating

the first batch of Overwatch Herbicide.

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