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December 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.

Planning Secret #1: Good Communication

Dec 28, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (12/24/2010)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday

iStock Three Generations   low resolutionAs promised in the last eNewsletter, the first secret to planning success is: Learn and use good communication.

Communication is the heartbeat of family business. Learning to talk in a respectful and constructive manner is necessary for planning success. Good communication will help the family not only to navigate succession planning, it also will help them grow and develop in the months and years ahead.
Communication is really just talking. Listening to learn from others regarding their wants, needs and intentions is critical to a successful planning outcome. Though families communicate on a regular and consistent basis, they don’t often formalize their efforts to achieve measurable results. Though a family communication plan does not have to be written, it should be formalized. It should include:

-  Regular meetings

-  Written agendas

-  Behavioral guidelines

-  A decision-making process

-  Written/taped records of each meeting

-  Follow-up

AgDay Special EpisodeIf you haven’t yet attended a Farm Journal Legacy Project Workshop, consider attending one in 2011. The workshops will again be held in at least 10 different venues across the Midwest. In the first year, we hosted 2,000 participants.
The 2011 Legacy Project Workshop series kicks off in Ames, Iowa, on Feb. 22. Watch the Legacy Project Events page for more details soon.
News & Resources for You
Start strong in 2011: Communication Tools from the Legacy Project
Be among the first to hear updates… Follow the Legacy Project on Facebook
Our third case study family, the Moes of Watertown, S.D., begin their succession planning journey.
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Five Secrets to Planning Success

Dec 21, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (12/17/2010)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday

In the 2011 Legacy Project Workshop, I will focus on five secrets to planning success.  When a family uses these secrets, they'll create a succession road map designed to achieve results.  The workshop series for 2011 is titled "Plan Success.  Enjoy Life."  I think you will do just that when you adhere to the following secrets of good planning:

1. Learn and use good communication.AgDay Special Episode

2. Define common objectives.

3. Overcome common obstacles.

4. Fortify the operation.

5. Take definitive action.

Over the next five weeks I'll expound on these secrets and prove links to online tools that will help make your succession dreams a reality.

News & Resources for You

Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS

New Year’s resolutions? Watch the Legacy Project website to register for workshops. Venues for February and March include Ames, Iowa; Johnston, Iowa; Grand Island, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Owatonna, Minn.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. See the workshop agenda. 

If you missed the Dec. 2 episode of "Leave a Legacy TV," catch it online now. (It features a tribute to Tommy Dell; a talk with USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan about opportunities for young farmers; and we catch up with Donny DeLine.)
Start strong in 2011: Tools for Succession Planning 

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Strategic versus Operational Business Tactics

Dec 14, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (12/10/2010)

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

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Planning for next year is on the to-do list of the Legacy Project and Legacy by Design. As I begin to look more deeply into the opportunities and obligations of our client relationships, it has become clear that there are two distinctive ways to look at business obligations/duties/responsibilities/actions: each has a strategic and an operational purpose.  

Strategic actions may have high potential value, yet require a correspondingly high risk. A strategic action may have a large impact on revenue either in upfront costs and/or in resulting profits.
Operational actions, on the other hand, are merely methods of doing the things business is supposed to do. In the business planning process, we look for ways to do those things better/more efficiently.
All businesses work on both the strategic and operational facets. Operational actions may be likened to execution---how efficiently we do something. Strategic actions are designed to grow the operation, vertically or horizontally.
News & Resources for You
Legacy Project 2010 ReportFAQ’s… commonly asked questions about succession planning.
The 2010 Legacy Report includes plenty of food for thought.
Don’t miss any updates. Follow the Legacy Project on Facebook 




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Take Time for Planning

Dec 07, 2010

From Legacy Moment eNewsletter (12/03/2010)
Please join us for future issues, delivered via email each Friday 

Corn Seedling CompressedIt’s that time of year. We’ve all heard the cliché "hope is not a plan," so now is the time to plan for next year and the next chapter of your business. The best part of planning is the creative idea-storming that precedes the written document. Follow these five hints to begin the process:

  1. Schedule a planning meeting with your management team. Before the meeting, distribute pertinent business/financial/market information that may help to inform the team and encourage productive dialogue. 
  2. Establish some planning meeting behavior guidelines. The meeting should not become a management-driven diatribe, but rather a dialogue among a mutually dependent team of professionals.

  3. Allow each participant time to act and react. Carefully consider each person’s input; as a part of the management team, their input will be valuable because they see the world differently than you. Listen and learn.

  4. Consider utilizing an outside facilitator and meeting in an offsite (neutral) location. Both of these factors promote discussion beyond the hierarchal chain of command. People, especially subordinates, need to feel safe in order to speak freely and willingly offer suggestions.

  5. Conclude the meeting with a strategy for follow-up. Divide action tasks/responsibilities across the management team, including due dates and expected levels of performance. Inclusion depends on each person’s verbal input, physical contribution, continuing support and implementation. It all begins in the planning stages.
News & Resources for You

  • Sign up for, or learn more about, Legacy Project Workshops in December:
    Dec. 8 in Columbus, Ohio
    Dec. 10 in Lansing, Michigan
    Dec. 16 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 


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