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People and Business Results


In a previous column, I mentioned that I asked a group of peak performing producers, “What is your biggest snafu?” Last time we discussed the importance of developing a board of advisors. Now let’s focus in on the people component.

One person stated that his biggest mistake was keeping certain employees because they were nice and trying hard.  While a good attitude and work ethic are critical, business results do matter.

A great question you should ask is whether you would hire this person, or do business with this vendor again? Would you want this person on your team?  If the answer is no, then obviously the next question to answer is, why are you procrastinating?

However, before you get too trigger-happy, have you outlined clear expectations for this person? In the communication process, is there an understanding of expectations?  Occasionally, it may be the manager at issue, rather than the employee or vendor. 

Sometimes family situations and long-term relationships may cloud the issue.  In one situation, a father actually let his son go.  In the short run, there was considerable tension, but in the long run, both father and son admit it was the best decision. 

In today's competitive world, mediocrity is not acceptable in the workplace or in the delivery of customer service.  As Jim Collins says in his book Good to Great, “In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats.” This is a key to business success.  My forum of greatest and most painful lessons/snafus will attest to that.


Editor’s note: Dave Kohl, Corn & Soybean Digest trends editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups. He can be reached at [email protected]

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