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Sep 23, 2014
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Leave a Legacy

RSS By: Kevin Spafford, Legacy Project

Kevin Spafford is Farm Journal’s succession planning expert for the Farm Journal Legacy Project.  He hosts the nationally-televised ‘Leave a Legacy’ TV, facilitates an ongoing series of workshops for farm families across the U.S., and is the author of Legacy by Design: Succession Planning for Agribusiness Owners.

Leadership to Believe In

Dec 24, 2008
If you listen really hard you can hear it.  Not the rush of a swollen winter creek or an airplane passing overhead, but the screaming void of leadership across America.  We just elected a President, not based on his experience and wisdom, rather for his ability to eloquently articulate hope.  Not for his accomplishments or good judgment, but for his pretentious speech of change.  Imagine the most powerful nation in the world, long ago founded in independence, now resting on hope.

We want [desperately need] leaders we can believe in.  From the nation’s capital to the corner market, we appreciate people who can serve our needs.  Private industry cannot afford the apathy of poor leadership.  But where do we find good leaders and how do we help them prepare for the roles and responsibilities they will play?  From owner through department heads, from supervisors to janitors, we need strong managers and accountable associates - because leadership matters! 

Family agribusiness owners are held to a high standard of accountability and responsibility.  You are looked upon as leaders in the home, making decisions that ensure the family’s financial security.  As the patriarch/matriarch you are viewed as the bell weather for the family’s communal health.  As an owner in the business community, you are beholden to the needs of others - customers, employees, vendors, etc.

In these multiple roles, a disproportionate share of your time and attention must be spent grooming the leaders of tomorrow.  Our country, community and industry depend on it.  An effective leadership selection and development process is essential.  Just as a great manager is important to business success, a new owner is essential to the continued growth of the operation.  As the current owner, you should have a defined process for selecting, and then developing, a capable successor or manager.

A simple approach to manager/owner selection may include the following six steps...

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