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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.

A Few Reminders for Dad, from the Next Generation

Apr 26, 2012


Kerr, Wes   on Leave a LegacyFrom Legacy Moment (04/20/2012).
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If you were standing here with a group of your dad’s peers, what suggestions would you give to help them to prepare the next generation for a leadership role?
On the latest episode of "Leave a Legacy TV," I had the opportunity to interview Wes Kerr, a very capable, well-spoken next generation leader in the dairy industry. His answer may surprise you, yet his insight is invaluable.
When asked, Wes started right in, "I think a huge part of being able to prepare the next generation is to actually let us be a part of it [the operation]."
He went on, "People need to realize that you have to get the younger generation involved early and actually let them have a real part of the operation – not just a nominal thing – ‘Oh yeah, go take care of the cows, kid.’ Actually let them learn how to manage the herd, let them know how to take care of the cows, how to pull calves, how to treat a cow that may be sick. All of those are just hands-on things.
"If you have someone who’s there to give you advice, that’s very important," Wes continued to explain. "But, at some point, they [dads] need to be able to take a step back and let that young person learn. And make a couple of mistakes, but learn from those mistakes. …as long as they have a real opportunity to make real decisions that they can see the effects of, that’s going to be the key for the next generation to want to be a part of the operation and also have that experience to give them a future."
Wes might summarize the points of our discussion by saying:
  1. Give the next generation real responsibilities and hold them accountable for results.
  2. Make them a part of the decision-making process.
  3. Allow them to fail, not to the detriment of the operation, but as a learning opportunity.
  4. Incrementally grant and relinquish control.
  5. Listen to their comments and clearly explain your reasoning.

News & Resources for You:
The Kerrs are the kind of folks you’d like to have as neighbors. Learn more about their successful succession story on "Leave a Legacy TV."
On your farm, how ready is the next generation to lead?
Registration is now open for the Legacy Workshops in Fargo (July 10th) and Omaha (July 12th). Are you ready to take the first steps? 
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