Shane Thomas is an Ag Professional with Upstream Ag Insights who “…provides unique perspective surrounding agribusiness news and events that empowers readers to become better thinkers, more effective leaders and deliver better results.”
In a recent newsletter he shared 22 ways that Ag Professionals can use to be more effective in delivering their services to clients. Though originally started as a list for university and college grads entering the ag industry, many long-term professionals found the list to provide good reminders for any professional.
Too often, we have a grand idea to start a new venture or how to refresh or elevate our business to a new level, to be profitable and viable for the long term, doing what we love to do. We want to be independent and free from the bureaucracies of working and being controlled by others in our daily grind.
This happens in the personal aspects of our lives, too, as we make grand plans to elevate our health, our diet, our physical being, our relationships with God and with our families and friends.
Too often, though, just as we experience with New Year’s resolutions, we fall into the trap of slacking off, taking the path of least resistance, cut corners and do only what we need to do to get by to the next day. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow”.
In this article by Cyndie Shearing and posted on the Farm Bureau website, Joanna Lidback, CFO of Adirondack Farms, LLC, consultant for Adirondack Management Services and ASAC member, is interviewed about her advocacy of agriculture and support for women in the industry.
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“Find Your People, Find Your Peers”
By Cyndie Shearing
Successful women supporting and mentoring other women interested in advancing their careers is commonplace in corporate America. This type of supportive professional relationship is found in other business environments as well, including agriculture and farming.
Joanna Lidback, a Vermont dairy farmer and ag advocate on social media, offers some advice for women in agriculture who are thinking about getting involved in advocacy.
“Find your people, find your peers,” Lidback says. “It can be daunting to put yourself out there, particularly in this age of keyboard warriors and shocking content,” she acknowledges. But you’re not out there on your own, she explains.
As consultants we are often asked to help our clients work through difficult decisions. In many cases, these are families who have several individuals involved in the decision-making process, and each of them has their own unique perspectives, priorities and preferences for the outcome. As we try to help them through the process, we can feel like we are talking in circles and not getting to the real problem.
Perhaps our challenge is that we are trying to use our carefully generated facts and strategies to convince them of the logical solution, while they privately withhold their true concerns. This type of impasse is hard to break and requires a change in approach. Instead of making statements, we need to be asking questions, and sometimes asking the right question is the solution to the entire conundrum. In fact, psychiatrists tell us that the problem the person brings them is never the real problem. The real problem is “three questions deep…” and the true art of the psychiatric profession is, “which three questions?”
Dale Carnegie, the author of the 1936 book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (over 15 million sold) was often asked to attend White House dinners because people said that he was such a great conversationalist. His secret? He never talked about himself. He simply let others talk about themselves, which is what people like to do.
Remember that people talk to us for a lot of different reasons. Some to talk about themselves, some to provide entertainment, some to share feelings, opinions or knowledge, and some to get to know others and build relationships.
Regardless of the reason, people want someone to listen to them when they speak. Zig Ziglar famously said, “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Listening is caring.
I am often asked by clients for assistance finding key people for their business. A position where they seem to have concerns and struggles is in finding a great office manager/administrator. It’s been a privilege to see some of the very best office managers of ag businesses across the country do their wide variety of tasks as though they were sitting in a lawn chair, drinking iced tea.
These individuals are organized, efficient and great communicators. They can talk to anyone in a tactful manner and yet still be in control of the conversation to glean the information they need. They possess a keen ability to discern whether an employee or customer is just venting, or if they clearly have a problem that needs to come to the attention of management.
Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders tend to be good at defining their “Why” or their reasons for doing what they do. Without a clear understanding of this crucial concept, there would be a tendency to meander through a variety of options, lose track of their core purpose and become easily sidetracked by distractions and disruptions to their business.
Knowing your “Why” can be very powerful in determining your focus, motivation, passion, direction and overall purpose, both personally and professionally.