As we’ve stepped into the New Year, the focus has shifted from holiday celebrations toward planning and gearing up for the 2020 crop year. It can feel jarring to move from a relaxed time of year with family into full-on planning mode. Here are a few things to think about as you make that shift.
The farm’s leader and CEO likely feels the biggest weight of all the planning that must be done. After all, the buck stops with them. Most of the major decisions are made by them, as well as some of the smaller decisions that flow out from the bigger ones.
The key is knowing which decisions you as the leader need to keep – and which you can readily delegate to others. By starting with a clear idea of your top priority for the farm in 2020, you can then evaluate what types and level of decisions you, as the leader, need to be making.
Start with the big picture. What do you envision for your farm in 2020? This might seem difficult to imagine. Many farms and farm families are simply thankful to be taking down their 2019 calendars. 2019 was a challenging year for sure. But we also know that in farming, no two years are ever the same.
A tough year like 2019 can often lead us to focus more on the nitty gritty, day to day details. It might feel odd to be thinking of the farm’s “big picture” goals and vision again. But it’s important to do that now so you can determine your top priority for your operation in 2020.
Ask yourself: What are the few key things that are most critical to our operation’s success? Then, what do I as the leader need to be focusing on to get those key results? Where do I need to be spending most of my time? What decisions do I need to make now?
Take action and delegate
Once you’ve figured out your farm’s top priority, consider what you can hand off to others so you can stay focused on the “big picture” type decisions, and not risk getting lost in smaller, more detailed decisions. You might consider the farm’s next generation leader or leaders when thinking about some of the decisions to hand off. This can be a great opportunity for them to learn and start making more of the types of decisions they will make one day as future leaders.
Now it’s time to figure out how to make it all happen. It might be helpful to schedule timeframes when critical decisions must be made. That way, decisions don’t get pushed back – which can happen easily due to busyness or “analysis paralysis” – feeling unable to make a decision because of a continual desire for more information or data.
The truth is, no one will ever have 100 percent of the data about any given decision. Sometimes a leader needs to make the best decision they can, even if they don’t have all the data. This can be difficult, depending on personality and past experiences.
Scheduling your own time, particularly when it comes to the “big picture” work of planning, decision-making and strategizing for your operation, will be key in 2020 for farm leaders who want to achieve their top priority.
To schedule some partner support to achieve your farm’s top priority, and assistance with marketing and merchandising plans in particular, get in touch with our advisors for the farm.