Sep 18, 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.

The Single Greatest Tribute is 'I Care'

May 08, 2014

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Conversations across family generations can sometimes result in misunderstandings. How about imagining inquiries as a way of saying, 'I care'? That's what I hear when a young person asks about how to get a parent involved in planning for succession. Or, when a grandparent says, "We just need to see their interest."

What if the younger generation is really telling their parents and grandparents, "I care enough to..."

• Follow in your footsteps and carry on the family operation.
• Respect our family heritage and the efforts of our ancestors to grow the farm.
• Encourage the family to engage in the succession planning process.
• Participate in a written plan for professional development.
• Promote new ideas and share my enthusiasm for new technology.
• Persevere until we set and achieve common goals.
• Learn the management skills necessary to run a profitable operation.
• Manage capital and control debt to grow our operation forward.
• Exhibit good leadership to grow strategic alliances and develop a team.
• Honor the family with good stewardship and continuing operational development.

And, the senior generations may demonstrate a caring attitude by letting the younger generation(s) know, "I care enough to..."

• Teach and reinforce the actions necessary to achieve success.
• Share experiences and wisdom from years of working the land.
• Learn to listen, accept new ideas and try different methods.
• Challenge you to reach your full potential.
• Push back and force you to convince me why, how, when and what.
• Demonstrate good leadership skills and create an environment of learning.
• Mentor the next generation to grow capabilities and better understand others.
• Hold you accountable for results and reinforce clear lines of responsibility.
• Honor your desires by allowing appropriate opportunities.
• Commit to success and implement comprehensive plans for a smooth management and ownership transition.

I look forward to your thoughts. Write to me at "Ask Kevin" and let me know how you respond to inquiries within your family.
 
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~~~*   Sending good wishes for Mother's Day to all our great Farm Moms!   *~~~

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