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November 2010 Archive for 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.

Writing an Employment Policy

Nov 30, 2010

 From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (11/26/2010)

Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


An employment policy should clearly define the rules of engagement for a family member who may be interested in working in the family organization. The employment policy should be clear and concise. It should spell out, in specific terms, the conditions in which a person may seek an employment opportunity. All too often, parents are held to unrealistic expectations when it comes to employing family members in a farming operation. 

iStock Farmer and Wheat

We all know that communication is the key to success when dealing with people. Yet oral communication is always subject to individual interpretation. A written employment policy allows everyone in the organization the opportunity to read the specific language and interpret the fairness of the policy. A well-written, judiciously implemented policy will help the entire staff to better understand the family/business connection.

 

The employment policy should include: 

  • Company management structure
  • Job descriptions including eligibility – skills/abilities/experience/education necessary for a position
  • An explanation of wages/benefits
  • Application/interview process
  • Promotional opportunities and review process
  • Disciplinary action/termination with and without cause
  • Training available and developmental opportunities/expectations

 

The company employment policy should be adopted and reviewed with each and every family member who may express an interest in working in the family operation.

 

News & Resources for You

Did you know the Legacy Project now offers a free download of the Legacy Project Workbook?

Now is a good time to hire skilled workers.

When to begin succession planning? Eight questions to consider now.

Sign up for, or learn more about, Legacy Project Workshops in December:

  • Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Dec. 10 in Lansing, Michigan
  • Dec. 16 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

 

Remember to sign up for the Legacy Project Newsletter, delivered via email every Friday. Also join us on facebook and twitter

 

 

  

 

 

 

Choosing the Right Mentor

Nov 23, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (11/19/2010)

Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


A mentor/protégé relationship starts on common ground and grows with mutual respect. Mentor and protégé alike must possess a willingness to speak freely and share openly. In the right relationship, each plays an instrumental role in the other’s professional growth. 

For a protégé, using the following questions may help you identify the right mentor to augment your professional development plan: 

iStock Father Son1) Does the prospective mentor have enough of the right experience to offer real solutions and quality feedback for my most pressing concerns and questions?

2) Has the prospective mentor invested enough time in a vocation/project/role or endeavor to offer valuable feedback and support my efforts?

3) Success and failure are required learning experiences. Failure teaches more than success, yet the latter is always the goal. Has the prospective mentor recovered from failure and tasted victory?

4) The depth and breadth of a mentor’s experience will be partially based on his or her professional/vocational network. Does the prospective mentor have a plentiful network of professional/vocational associates?

5) Excessive commitments can interfere with our time and attention. Does the mentor candidate have a number of other interests or obligations that may detract from an otherwise constructive relationship?

6) A mentor should own/manage/work in an operation that is comparable in size and structure and complementary in scope to your vision. Does the mentor candidate fit this description?

7) Specific location is important only if you or the mentor feel that eye-to-eye contact is the only way to communicate. Otherwise, technology allows us to create relationships literally around the globe. Will your mentor/protégé relationship only work in-person? 

 

News & Resources for You

Sign up for, or learn more aboutLegacy Project Workshops in December:

  • Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Dec. 10 in Lansing, Michigan
  • Dec. 16 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

 

Sharpen Your Competitive Edge… Join us for Tomorrow’s Top Producer in Chicago, Jan. 25, held in conjunction with the Top Producer Seminar.

Carrying on, in the face of the unexpected...

 

Remember to sign up for the Legacy Project Newsletter, delivered via email every Friday. Also join us on facebook and twitter.


 

  

 

Advantages of Mentoring

Nov 16, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (11/12/2010)

Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


Each meeting with a Legend of Leadership, as featured on "Leave a Legacy TV," reinforces the value of a good mentor. Dad, however, may not always be the best mentor for a son or daughter interested in assuming a leadership role in the operation. 

A mentor/protégé relationship may best be facilitated in an arm's-length relationship with an industry leader. The mentoring/protégé experience is designed to: 

iStock Three Generations   low resolution- prepare tomorrow’s leaders for a lifetime of career growth and development. Leadership is about maximizing the opportunities and fulfilling the obligations in a dynamic marketplace.

- leverage the skills and abilities of our most productive industry leaders to help next-generation leaders be more productive in less time. Leveraging the experience of previous generations allows us to grow and progress as a society.

- enhance the competencies and capabilities of both mentor and protégé. The teacher always learns more than the student and each participant brings perspective to the relationship, promoting personal and professional growth.

- increase the leadership "bench strength" of participating organizations. The capabilities of a leadership team, strong or weak, will determine the power and resiliency of the organization. 

 

News & Resources for You


Sign up for, or learn more about, 
Legacy Project Workshops in December:

  • Dec. 7 in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio
  • Dec. 10 in Lansing, Michigan

The Qualities of Leadership: What sets tomorrow’s true leaders apart?

Build a tailored development plan with this 
Leadership Skills Inventory

 

Remember to sign up for the Legacy Project Newsletter, delivered via email every Friday. Also join us on facebook and twitter

 

 

  

 

 

Important Lessons for Successors

Nov 09, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (11/05/2010)

Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


I asked Kimberly Clauss, California dairy producer and member of the Sustainability Council of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, "What advice would you give an aspiring agripreneur? How would you respond to a college student asking for the keys to success in our industry?"

iStock Cool SkyClauss replied: "One of the best things I did in college, and then right when I finished, was internships. [Working outside the family operation] gets you out, forces you to be involved and gives you experience. A lot of times, those internships can actually lead to jobs.

"Once you’re involved in the family operation, you need to ask a lot of questions, no matter what. And the most important thing you need to do is to listen. Listen to what other people are saying, and take the information to make your decisions. Then communicate."

 

News & Resources for You


Are you prepared to hold
Crucial Conversations?

Legacy Project Workshops: Make plans now to attend one of the December Legacy Project Workshops in Indianapolis, Ind. (Dec. 7), Columbus, Ohio (Dec. 8), or Lansing, Mich. (Dec. 10). Find out more details. 

Join us at the 
Elite Producer Business Conference, Nov. 8 through 10 in Las Vegas, NV. This year’s theme is Dairy at the Crossroads. Take something valuable home from Vegas…and be sure to catch Kevin Spafford’s Leave a Legacy presentation on Nov. 9.

 

Remember to sign up for the Legacy Project Newsletter, delivered via email every Friday. Also join us on facebook and twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Future of the Dairy Industry

Nov 02, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (10/29/2010)

Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday


I recently asked Jim Ostrom, a partner in several large Wisconsin dairies, to share his view of the future. His response was candid, but not startling.

Jim said, "I believe the dairy industry is going the way of other livestock industries. The feeder cattle industry, the hog industry, the poultry industry have all consolidated. The largest 25 producers in all those industries are very, very large in scale. The dairy industry’s largest producer has 60,000-plus cows, maybe 70,000… There are many family enterprises in the U.S. that have 25,000 cows or more. And there is nothing that indicates that trend is going to do anything but get stronger. 

iStock Country Highway"There are some folks who don’t want to hear that. But, as uncomfortable as it is for them, it’s uncomfortable for us also. We spend a lot of our energy protecting our business. Risk management, by securing our crops, controlling our costs and marketing our output, is about protecting our ability to compete. I had a professor at the University of Wisconsin who said, ‘In a commodity market, there is zero net profit for an industry. There are only winners and losers.’ That is why we have to be nervously competitive. We must always be seeking a better way of producing milk."

News & Resources for You


A Springboard for the Future -- 15 points to consider

Don’t Put It Off
 -- The decision to plan is smart business

Read more about The Qualities of Leadership. 

 

Have you checked out the new and more robust AgWeb and Legacy Project Web sites? They offer easier navigation and more reasons to check back every day.

 

 

 

 

 

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