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Partnership challenges traditional thinking

Ruralco is proud to launch a partnership with business development company Stile Inc Ltd. Based in Gore and delivering their highly successful programme across the South Island, Stile founders Sheree and Dylan Ditchfield developed the programme to flip the traditional leadership model on its head. Sheree said “traditionally, business leadership has been the position at the top of the pyramid, where their job is to ensure all those below them are contributing positively to the business. At Stile we believe that a true leader provides a stable base from which others in the organisation can contribute from.”

Understanding and establishing a solid foundation for any business to reach its potential involves having a clearly articulated purpose, values and a structure that enables the team to operate autonomously without fear of failure. The Stile ‘Freedom in Business Workshop’ is a programme which challenges current thinking and behaviours whilst also providing life, leadership, and business tools to support personal growth and development. Sheree said “the Stile team have been very impressed with Ruralco’s genuine desire to meaningfully contribute to their members businesses beyond what they currently do with the tangible. It is a significant point of difference and stance they have taken, a very holistic approach to business.  A partnership we value.”

Ruralco Group CEO, Rob Sharkie was impressed by the programme, “after hearing about and meeting with the Stile team, I was impressed with the programme. It has been rolled out using industry experts and by people who have been there and done it. Real people who have made mistakes, reassessed their business and personal goals, and then ultimately done something about it.”

“Throughout my career I have seen solid farming families lose their way and make decisions without critically assessing all aspects of their personal and farm lives. This programme provides that pathway to an outcome with longevity and purpose.” Rob said

To find out more and to register for the programme, visit website or please contact Sheree or Dylan Ditchfield on 0800 404 101.

Stile’s programme is made up of eight modules, each facilitated by independent experts:



The rules of the game of life and business are constantly changing.  In a world where uncertainty and chaos are constant, and markets more cynical and selective than ever we are being challenged to redefine leadership and business.

A business really gains momentum when both the people and the business have real clarity of purpose and direction. In this workshop learn to identify and articulate core purpose and values unique to you and your business. This will be matched with an understanding of the leadership behaviours needed to make your aspirations a reality.

Facilitated by Sue Lindsay



People are different and because of our differences we are often misunderstood.

Being able to present information in ways that recognise, respect and meet the needs of others is crucial to effective teamwork and leadership.

This workshop module will help you to understand why we think and act the way we do. It will also help you be better able to identify another person’s communication style, so you can get onto their wavelength more quickly and leverage the strengths of diverse thinking in your workplace.

Facilitated by Claire Harvey & Kathy Jamieson



If we do not take care of ourselves, we are no good to our business, our team or our family and friends. Becoming a resilient leader means to be able to come back from the setbacks and disappointments we face in business. Mindful decision makers assess issues, gather and process information more effectively and respond wisely and more compassionately to others and to life.

 This module allows you to experience mindfulness and to learn skills that allow you to become more aware, productive, creative, flexible and effective and enable you to live in a more meaningful way.  This will take ownership, discipline and a willingness to get uncomfortable.

Facilitated by Kris Mac & Katie O’Connor



The people you select to engage in your team play a significant role in driving business performance and outcomes.

In order to become an employer of choice, this workshop module will assist you in identifying a recruitment and selection process which works for you and your business. You will develop the skill set that will provide a strong and sound platform to improve the probability of hiring the best people and help you create real people success stories in your business.

Facilitated by Lee Astridge



Work on the business not in the business.

This workshop module will provide a framework for a deeper understanding of your business, learning how to distinguish and separate out governance, management and operations. You will also develop a platform for safe delegation in establishing your meeting rhythms.

Facilitated by Brendon Harrex



Success and enduring growth in business is often capped by a leader’s capacity to effectively let go of the day-to-day tasks and delegate responsibility throughout the team. In this module you will develop a framework to formalise your unique business knowledge and allocate responsibility accordingly to ensure whole business coverage.

Facilitated by Dylan & Sheree Ditchfield



The financial parameters that drive our businesses are often poorly understood.

Learn to establish real clarity around what drives financial success and translate that understanding into what financial resilience truly means and looks like in your business.

Facilitated by Brendon Harrex



A resilient business has its people leading by example at all levels.

In this workshop module you will learn what it looks like to lead, mentor and coach. Understand the significance your behaviours play and ensure they are consistent with your business and personal values.

Facilitated by Dylan & Sheree Ditchfield

Past participants have experienced a renewed sense of purpose, an improved work life balance and have moved into the next stage of their lives with a more people-centric approach to business.

“The biggest impact for us personally has been how it helped to shape and expand how we not only view ourselves and our abilities, but how we view, understand, interact and have relationships with others. From staff to work colleagues, to family and each other. There was a true shift in the conversations we’re having with each other plus others around us, coming from a greater self-awareness.

This new understanding, then in turn flowed through into business, how we set up policies and procedures. It all became a more people focused approach rather than starting and finishing with just a business outcome view. We soon realised it had been the ‘people focus’ that had been the missing link.

The influence Farming to Freedom had on our team dynamics both then, and within the teams we work with now can’t be overstated.”

- Vicki Jensen & Daniel Mattsen


“The biggest thing that really hit home from the first session was the fact that everything could be applied to a much wider spectrum than just farming.

The things we have learnt from the course have allowed us to head in a direction that we never envisioned when we started out by allowing us to step back and allow others to take more leadership within our business and for us to then pursue other avenues within our careers.

Our lives are now headed in a very different direction to where we were 4 years ago when beginning the course we feel that we can make the right decisions that will lead us on whatever path we choose for our futures.”

- Callum & Hanna Stalker


“This is not just another course. You have teamed up with some very strong leaders to put together an unforgettable course. 

It didn’t just finish after the last class. It is still taking us on a journey two years down the track. Originally this was to help us within our business but fast forward to now it does much more than that. It puts a different perspective on life. We now have a purpose and a why for not just our business and farm life but our personal life. 

A big take home was that not everyone has the same goals and ambitions but more importantly share the same values. Supporting each other on their journey is very rewarding for everyone.“

- Tracy and Steve Henderson


Watch the full video here to learn more

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