We’re just getting into a new calendar year – which many take as a prime opportunity for a fresh start or time to begin something new – whether in business, personal life or both. It can be exciting to think of the new year as a chance to take on a different project or updated approach.
At times, though, maybe that just feels overwhelming. As farm leaders, we’re already dealing with a lot – every single day – whether we decide to add something new to our plates or not.
We may thrive on trying new ideas within our businesses. Maybe that gives us energy. It feels like we’re gaining new momentum – but that may or may not actually be the end result. We might find out later that we invested time and energy into an idea or project that ultimately didn’t bring the type of return we were looking for.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever try new things – in fact, at times that’s exactly what we need to do to keep our businesses moving in the right direction. But it’s worth doing an in-depth analysis and evaluation first to determine if it’s a worthwhile investment for our unique operation.
Whether or not we decide to move forward with a new project or approach, evaluating and reflecting up front is important. Taking a closer look at what we’re currently doing and what we’re thinking about trying helps us become more creative as a leader and manager, too.
Simply considering a new approach helps us evaluate what we’re doing now, and can lead to additional ideas that might be even better than the original ones.
When we feel we’ve tried everything, that we’re starting to burn out on leading our operations, that we don’t know what to do anymore – it’s time to look for different perspectives and get another viewpoint.
This “lift” can come from a friend, a neighbor, a trusted advisor. Sometimes they see things that we can’t at the time. Sometimes they bring just the right comment or idea – getting us thinking a little bit differently. Sometimes they can literally even be a lifesaver.
Who we choose to draw close to us for an advisor-type role is something to consider carefully. They need to know enough about our farm operation and the business of farming in general to be knowledgeable, but not so close that they have high emotional stakes or involvement in the operation.
This “slightly outside” view brings a different outlook than those who are closely connected to our farm. They’re able to offer a more analytical view because they don’t have an emotional investment like owners and family members.
One area of the operation where a view from an outside advisor can be very helpful is with regard to the farm’s marketing program. Grain marketing can often be an emotionally charged aspect of the farm – it’s critical to the farm’s success, yet many factors appear to be out of the farm leader’s direct control.
Many farmers have found more confidence and peace of mind from partnering with our market advisors. You can get in touch with our advisors this winter to discuss your operation and goals.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.