Best business practices that are simple to integrate into your farm business
Photo credit: Denise Faguy
At a recent presentation called Peak Performance Culture by Dave Mitchell of the Leadership Difference during the Farm Management Canada Conference AgEx in late November, Mitchell shared a few key pieces of advice for those who run a farm business – meaning anyone who own a farm that hopes to make money.
At first blush, some of his recommendations seemed obvious, or like statements the audience had heard before. But a careful review of these best practices revealed some important, yet impactful things a farm business can do to run their business -- even if it includes family members.
Like many, he told farmers to ensure they have a passion, vision, mission, and strategy for their business. He warned that passion does not make you love your job every second of every day, but rather it is what gets you up in the morning.
When he gave the definition of business Vision, the desired future state of the organization – the destination; he warned the audience that this should not be a fluffy statement but should outline where it is you are going.
The Mission, according to Mitchell, “is the secret sauce that will propel the farmer’s journey” – what makes your farm different than anyone else’s farm? High yields, great commodity marketing? What is your thing? Strategy, Mitchell said is the actionable items between your current state and your desired future state, “It’s the map of how to get there.”
Mitchell said he does not believe in 5 or 10-year Strategic Plans because things change to rapidly in today’s day and age (war in Israel, War in Ukraine, etc.). But he says planning one year out and looking at the actions that are needed to get you there are important strategies to help propel your business forward.
How will you know when you are successful, if it was not part of a plan that was written down?
He also warned attendees not to be too heavily influenced by the recent past in your strategy session. Just because you had high yields this year, or the cost of inputs was low this year, it does not mean the same thing will happen again next year. Mitchell warned attendees that many organizations fail, because they can only remember and prepare for the future based on the most recent past.
“One of the biggest challenges in creating a high-performance culture is aligning each region, location, department, and person around the expressed ideology of the organization.” He said the most undervalued tool for doing so is the job description.
I know, you are thinking three of us run this farm we don’t need job descriptions, but for clarity ensure that everyone has a job description – because it matters.
Dave Mitchell is a speaker and author. Mathew’s latest book is called Peak Performance Culture.