As farm leaders, we know that there are times when our plans don’t work out the way we think or wish they would. This can happen when it comes to smaller, daily plans – or larger, more all-encompassing ones.
But the real question – whether the plan was big or small – is what to do next. This can become a major turning point. Our response as leaders when things don’t go as planned can set the course for our operation.
What to do
There are a few different responses we can have at that point. An instinctive response can sometimes be along the lines of “Why me?” or “Why does this always happen to us?” While it might be an initial response, it’s probably the least helpful thing we can think or say because it doesn’t lead toward any sort of solution.
A better way to respond might be to first take a step back and look at some different ways to solve the problem. Sometimes going through a process to create an “alternate route” can result in a better overall solution in the long run.
When you find yourself confronted with roadblocks to your original plan, take some time to work through these three steps.
- Step back after your initial reaction. Most people in general will have a negative reaction to finding out that their plans didn’t work out or encountered problems. That’s understandable, but the real key is what you do next. Make sure to take the time to step back mentally from your initial reaction. Then, start getting your mindset ready to pivot toward a new, different solution.
- Start thinking creatively. Next, it’s time for some problem-solving. You might do this alone or with others, depending on your situation, time that’s available and leadership team. If it would be helpful in your troubleshooting, start by analyzing what went wrong in the previous plan. Make sure to note what factors were under your direct control and what factors were not. This is key to know. Then you can start brainstorming about alternate routes. Don’t be afraid to think creatively. It’s ok if it’s not something you’ve ever done before in your operation.
- Evaluate and choose. The length of time it takes to brainstorm can vary based on the size and complexity of the roadblocks and challenges to the plan. At some point, though, it will be time to start evaluating potential solutions and make a decision. Make sure to take the farm’s overall goals into account when evaluating solutions. You need to know what the “end game” is so you can aim all your major plans toward it.
One area on the farm where flexible, dynamic planning is essential is around the farm’s marketing and merchandising. You can get a trusted advisor to help with the marketing planning process for the 2021 crop year by getting in touch with our market advisors this winter.