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Do we ever get in our own way as farm leaders?

To reach desired success, ask these questions first.

Darren Frye, CEO

February 18, 2020

3 Min Read

On the farm, the leader has so much to pay attention to and so many different hats to wear. At any given moment, the farm’s leader can be called on to serve in several roles – and then needs to be able to switch back and forth between all of them seamlessly.

This is a tall order for any business leader, but I think it can be amplified on the farm. Leading a farm operation requires us to know about so many different areas and subjects for our farm to run smoothly.

Add that to the reality that most farm leaders typically start out with a background focused on production. Often, making the shift into managing all the other aspects of the operation can be overwhelming, especially for a newer leader.

Future focused

One of these key roles of the farm leader is to, along with the farm’s other main stakeholders, envision the farm’s future – one year, five years, ten years out – and then be able to communicate and execute that vision with and through everyone on the farm.

Sometimes it can be tough to imagine that future at all, especially during a tough year, as well as in the aftermath of those times. But that’s when it’s especially important as a leader to have a clear vision of the future and be able to communicate it to the other people on your farm.

Often, what’s holding us back from the success we want to see in our operation isn’t necessarily what we might first think or assume it is. It’s important as a leader to take time to step back, look at the big picture of the operation and do some serious thinking about what needs to change so we can reach the success we want.

Moving forward

Here are a few questions to ask yourself while you consider what you really want for your operation this year, the future you envision, and how you’re going to get there.

  1. What’s holding me back right now? What am I afraid of? Holding on to old beliefs and fears that are no longer serving us can keep our entire operation from moving toward the envisioned future and success we really want. Sometimes we might keep carrying old fears or anxieties that are no longer applicable to our situation. It serves us well to consciously leave that unneeded baggage behind. Set aside time to dig deep and answer those two questions with that in mind.

  2. What’s the next step? How can I start moving forward today? Often, the most difficult thing about making a change is simply taking the first step toward it. You can help by simplifying the change for yourself. Start by thinking of the first few steps that need to happen, and then, break those down even further into micro-steps. The smaller you can make the initial step, the better – you’ll likely feel less resistance to it because it’s not a huge change right away.

One area where farm leaders often say they want to have more success is in creating and executing effective marketing plans for their operation. A step you can take toward that goal today is talking with our market advisors.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Darren Frye

CEO, Water Street Solutions

Darren Frye grew up on an innovative, integrated Illinois farm. He began trading commodities in 1982 and started his first business in 1987, specializing in fertilizer distribution and crop consulting. In 1994 he started a consulting business, Water Street Solutions to help Midwest farmers become more successful through financial analysis, crop insurance, marketing consulting and legacy planning. The mission of Finance First is to get you to look at spreadsheets and see opportunity, to see your business for what it can be, and to help you build your agricultural legacy.

Visit Water Street Solutions

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