Farm Futures logo

Learning with the birds, last in a series

How to use the DISC profiling system to evaluate your farm team.

Davon Cook, Family business consultant

June 30, 2021

2 Min Read
Getty Images

In my recent blog, I discussed how you can adapt your approach to the others, based on their Taking Flight DISC style. Now, let’s use Bird knowledge to evaluate your team as a whole.

Like the old TV show Diff’rent Strokes theme song, “It takes Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.” Meaning, we need each of these Birds to be an effective team. When I work with farm teams, the dominant culture of the farm often reflects the majority of the DISC profiles, particularly if the managing team has hired people like them (which is easy to do).

Here are a few of the situations I’ve seen that illustrate “watchouts” for a team:

  • If you don’t have an eagle, or there isn’t an eagle in the rising generation to replace the founding eagle, who will drive decisions or take appropriate risks?

  • Conversely, if you have too many eagles, you may have conflict with too many bosses. Have you clarified roles to be clear who is (and is not) in charge of what?

  • If you’re mostly all owls, do you get caught in paralysis by analysis? Are the few parrots among you stifled, desiring some fun and interaction?

  • If you have a lot of parrots, does the organization stay focused enough to complete initiatives?

  • If you’re dominated by Doves, will prioritizing harmony prevent needed changes from happening?

  • Is there pressure to adhere to any one style to fit in or be seen as valuable on your farm? If yes, you may have trouble retaining team members that don’t fit the mold.

There isn’t one ideal combination but being aware of your team’s biases can help you adapt and potentially hire more intentionally.

If you missed the first two parts of the series, check them out:

Learning with the birds, part one

Learning with the birds, part two

Davon Cook is a family business consultant at K Coe Isom. Reach Davon at [email protected]. The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 

About the Author(s)

Davon Cook

Family business consultant, Pinion

Davon Cook is a family business consultant at Pinion (formerly K Coe Isom). She helps families work well together in the business and navigate transitions in leadership and ownership. She works with farmers and ranchers all day every day and is passionate about production ag. Davon has been specializing in this area since 2012, partnering with Lance Woodbury at Ag Progress and K Coe Isom. She facilitates peer groups covering a range of strategic and technical topics, so she understands the issues producers are managing every day. Her perspective is shaped by spending ten years working in her own family’s cotton business near Lubbock, Texas, and a career spanning the ag value chain from McKinsey to ConAgra to consulting with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation throughout Africa. She welcomes comments, questions, and conversation!

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like