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January 2011 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.

Planning Secret #5: Take Definitive Action

Jan 25, 2011

iStock Red EquipmentFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (01/21/2011)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday.

Intention without action may be worse than no action. Using our intentions and resting in complacency, thinking, “they know what I want,” is just another method of procrastination. If your intentions are real, you must support them with action. Like anything else in life, nothing happens until you make it happen, and succession planning and implementation will take double effort.
The fifth secret of planning success is:
Take Definitive Action
Good intentions without action are hollow, and will not lead to a successful result. The family must take definitive action to achieve their most heartfelt succession intentions. Each active member of the family must play a role in the succession planning process. From family meeting to decisions, from conversation to implementation, from accountability to professional development, each person must accept the obligation for a successful outcome.
Here are some beginning steps:
    • Schedule Meeting
    • Distribute Agenda
    • Establish Ground Rules
    • Define Common Goals
    • Assign Roles & Responsibilities
    • Agree on Action
    • Follow Up
So, before 2011 gets away from you, let’s work together to sow the seeds of succession in your family for your operation.
News & Resources for You
Start Strong in 2011: Succession Planning FAQ’s
Register today for Legacy Project workshops in Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota.
Take a look back at 2010: browse archived episodes of "Leave a Legacy TV."  
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Planning Secret #4: Fortify the Operation

Jan 18, 2011

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (01/14/2011)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday

Cornfield Farm   iStock CompressedEach person who attends our Farm Journal Legacy Project workshops brings his or her personal story and a unique view of succession. Questions, comments and constructive critiques offer me insight I might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. Sometimes participants will share their own personal experience as it relates to a family meeting, professional consultation or planning result. From these experiences, I may take away ideas that will help others.
It has helped me develop what I consider the fourth secret to success:
Fortify the operation.
Previously, I talked about giving voice to the operation. If each person speaks for his or her own self-interest, who speaks for the operation? If the operation is going to survive and continue to endow the family with financial security, future opportunities, family values and a lasting heritage, it must have a voice in the discussion.
The strength, health and resources of the business must be the first priority. Like the goose who laid the golden eggs, from Aesop, if not careful we can tear it apart.
  • Each decision must be measured against what is good for the operation.
  • Family members must realize the physical, financial and intrinsic value of continuing farm ownership.
  • Personal goals must not compromise or unduly burden the integrity of the operation.

News & Resources for You
Start strong in 2011: Ready for Succession Planning?
Plan to take the reins someday? It's never too early to prepare.
Our legacy, our heritage, Our Ties to the Land
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Planning Secret #3: Overcome Obstacles

Jan 13, 2011

 iStock For Sale Farm   compressedFrom Legacy Moment eNewsletter (01/07/2011)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday

The third secret to planning success is:
Overcome Common Obstacles
At some point in the succession planning process, each family will have to face and then devise solutions to five common challenges:
  • Equal versus fair
  • Active versus inactive
  • In-laws
  • Financial insecurity
  • The unknown
A succession plan must overcome these hurdles and provide solutions to the complex puzzles that plague family business owners. The succession planning process is designed first to distill concerns, draw them out into the light of day and then design solutions that everyone in the family can commit to.
News & Resources for You

Black Gold Farms is a testament to hard work and enthusiasm.  Meet driving force Gregg Halverson on this episode of 'Leave a Legacy TV.'

Not sure how to begin?  The Legacy Project Workbook is a good starting point.

Stll have questions?  You can always Ask Kevin.  (Don't worry... if your question is answered in print, your real name won't be used, and your situation will be modified a bit to ensure confidentiality.)

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Planning Secret #2: Define Common Objectives

Jan 06, 2011

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (12/31/2010)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday

iStock Green FarmThe 2011 Farm Journal Legacy Workshop series is titled “Plan Success. Enjoy Life.” Each session will focus on the "next steps" in planning, provide the secrets to success, and offer a case study designed to demonstrate the value of a comprehensive succession planning model. Succession planning isn’t for the faint of heart. Like any other worthwhile endeavor, it requires commitment, hard work and a burning desire to succeed.

The second secret to planning success is: Define Common Objectives
Human nature encourages us to focus on our own needs first. In a family business, unbridled self-interest can be the beginning of the end. Each person in the family must agree that decisions made and actions taken in the succession planning process must benefit the operation first---and by benefiting the operation, it will continue to endow the family with financial reward, equity and vocational satisfaction.
In the workshops, we will focus on objectives related to:
  • Improving operational integrity
  • Enhancing each family’s financial security
  • Preparing the next generation to lead
Like a to-do list, written goals give the family a single focus. Objectives allow each person to contribute to the success of the operation in a manner that is most beneficial for all.
News & Resources for You
Start strong in 2011: Your Legacy To-Do List
Snow day? Spend 30 minutes in sunny Texas, learning about an extraordinary operation.
Follow the Esther family as the Legacy Project guides them to transition their operation.  
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