Leave a Legacy
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.
Jan 19, 2010
It will go down as one of the most exhilarating experiences in my professional career. I just returned from the Pioneer Outlook Conference in Puerto Rico. This year’s gathering may have been comparable to Pioneer’s events of years past but, for me, it was a brand new experience. On the surface, the tropical setting may sound like undemanding R&R in the sun and surf. Not so… it was even better. Instead, participants appreciated the stunning surroundings, while dedicating themselves to education, information and interaction.
The invitees represented Pioneer Hi-Bred’s
top customers and prospects. Imagine the opportunity just to observe
a gathering of 100 of America’s top farmers. And yet, again, it was better still. As an invited guest, presenter and host, I enjoyed many hours of dialogue and was treated to the insights, thoughts and concerns of these industry leaders. Although I was honored to present succession planning principles throughout the week, there is no doubt that I took away as much as I shared.
During our conversations, I absorbed lessons related to leadership, money management, business development, family dynamics, organizational politics, alliance relationships and more.
On the flight home, it occurred to me: If I had the chance to do it again, I’d take the opportunity to pose a lot more questions. I might ask:
- Who do you turn to for leadership advice/counsel?
- Do you have a mentor and, if so - who and why?
- How many hours do you commit to your work each day, week, year?
- How would you describe in words your vision for the future of your operation?
- How do you reconcile the emotional trials and tribulations of managing a family operation?
- What pitfall would you avoid, at any cost?
- What single piece of advice would you offer to an agripreneur aspiring to create a world-class organization?
Newsletter premiers Friday,
January 22nd, 2010
Moving Forward in 2010: