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The thorn in the farm’s side

Three ways to think differently about business challenges

As the farm’s leader and CEO, you’re responsible for so much. And nowhere is that more apparent than when problems come up in your farm business. It can seem like you hear about (or must deal with) every single problem in your operation – from the simple and easily solved to the complex and ongoing.

I wrote recently about how to deal with the simple, “fire-fighting” types of problems that can pop up in a farm operation nearly every day. Hopefully, most of those are easily solved – and ideally by others in your operation rather than you as the CEO.

Here, I want to focus more on different ways to think about the bigger business problems you face in your operation. These aren’t the day to day problems but something that’s ongoing. It’s not easily solved because it’s usually multi-faceted.

The challenge

Think about the single largest business challenge that your operation is facing. Go beyond outside causes and think in terms of how you as the CEO and your operation are dealing with it.

It might be a financial metric where you can’t seem to move the needle, or difficulty with finding the right lender relationship for your operation, or trouble with finding and keeping the right employees. Maybe it’s a lack of proactive risk management that continues to create ongoing problems.

Three ideas

Whatever it may be – it’s usually the thing that causes you the most headaches and sleepless nights. Once you’ve identified it, here are three ways to think differently about this challenge.

1. Take responsibility for what you can take responsibility for. This is tough. Our human tendency is to look for someone or something else to blame. Some are more prone to doing this than others. But in order to get on track to improve results, it’s important to take responsibility first.

Where can you take responsibility for what’s happening – without blaming? This means sorting out what you can control from what you can’t. Don’t try to take responsibility for something that’s truly out of your control – the weather, for example. However, you can take responsibility for your actions, reactions and responses to it.

2. Redefine the problem. You may be at the point where you believe you’ve tried everything there is to try to solve the problem. Consider redefining how you’re looking at this challenge. Back up a step further and think about the root cause or causes. Don’t think about the symptoms or how the problem appears on your farm – only the potential roots.

3. Get creative about solutions. Once you’ve determined a possible root cause, focus on that instead of the problem itself. Brainstorm solutions that address the root cause rather than the symptoms. Who can you enlist to help implement solutions? If marketing and risk management may be a cause of some of your challenges, get in touch with our market advisors now to talk about planning.

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