AYLP: High Profits Hindered by Historical Habits
Written By: Kylen Hunt
NOTE: Check back frequently for additional blogs on AYLP (Achieving Your Leadership Potential).
One of my favorite quotes is by Grace Hopper. She claims one of the biggest reasons we struggle with change is that we settle for what we have. We fall captive to the “We’ve always done it this way” mindset. Have you heard the quote before? I bet you have. But have your ever thought about how detrimental it is to “always do what you’ve always done”?
Think back for a moment to when tractors replaced horses. This was a big change and I guarantee many people did not take it well!! Why? Because the way they always did things was by horses. Of course today we look back to those generations and “assume” it was an easy adjustment.
A wise proverb writer once wrote “There is nothing new under the sun”. How true when it comes to human experience, perception, and acceptance to change. Three generations from now there will be farmers and industry leaders looking back to this day and will “believe” this technology was an easy adoption for us. This will be anything but accurate!
While change is never easy and risk is always involved, it’s vitally important we don’t fall captive to “This is how we have always done it”. This mindset and style of thinking greatly limits the opportunities to take advantage of what change has to offer. I believe and most would agree they would like to have the “results” of change and what this data age offers yet remain unsure how to properly take on the risk. In other words many people are “buying the tractor” but “keeping the horse around, just in case! Being fully committed to change is hard and extremely risky. So what are some ways to accept the risk and take advantage of the opportunity of change? Below are three ways to know the changes you’re making will get the results you desire.
Know WHY you will implement a new technology or new opportunity: Stay focused on the outcomes you are desiring. It is easy to get caught up with all the colored maps, the cool sensors, and over the top promises technology offers. Knowing “WHY” the operation is adopting a certain opportunity is extremely important. Answering the following questions will help you identify your operations “WHY”.
In terms of profit:
- What is causing my biggest profit loss?
- What is the “root cause” of this profit loss?
- What is my greatest risk if I don’t make changes?
- By not addressing my greatest loss factors today, what will be the cost tomorrow, in 5 years, and in 10 years?
In terms of legacy:
- What will my decisions today do to the generations of tomorrow?
- Will my decisions be a positive or negative for the future generation?
- Who can I begin to partner with to build the legacy I would like to leave?
These questions should not be taken lightly. Yet some of them seem to be quite simple, or are they? I challenge you to think into them for a while. I would even encourage you to write down and put them in a place where you will see them regularly to begin thinking into and growing your ideas to new levels. This will begin the process of transforming not only your mind, but the results of your current operation.
Persistence to the why and to growth is key:
Once you have began to understand the why behind your operation, you will need to develop a process of persistence. Just imagine if you were building a new house and had invested several months into the project. You lay the foundation, build the walls, and put the roof on. But the day you are to start putting up drywall, someone convinced you there was a better way to build a house so you simply lit a match and burned your house to the ground so you could start over with a different contractor who had a “better” design or idea. That would be excessively unprofitable and would in many ways leave you with doubts about the new contractor you just hired.
In the years I have been in the Ag industry, Ive seen this happen many times. Especially in Precision Agriculture. Producers will start a specific program which may have sounded good, but now seems to be outdated. “Outdated?!” they ask. “How is that possible? I just started this program a couple years ago!! They will then reluctantly tear down or destroy a program to begin with something new. Or worst case scenario is to get discouraged and write off technology as not viable to the operation.
On the other side of the coin there are individuals who have not made any changes to their current programs for several years. This is not a good approach either. This simply means we have accepted that this is as good as we can possibly get and we are not going to go any further. Quite disastrous when you think about it.
To get the most profitable on farm results, being persistent in focusing on your WHY is key to sustained success and building a program with substance and significance. Without focused persistence its easy to be swayed toward a new program or idea which may be bright and shiny, but could easily cause you to lose direction toward the ultimate goal. If a new programs come onto the scene, it would be better to ask, “In what way will this help me build a lasting legacy or help me achieve the ultimate goal our operation desires?.
Develop Strong Relationships:
Strong relationships is a core foundational law in good leadership. There is no such thing as a Self-Made success story. The greatest leaders in all of history were great because they surrounded themselves with great people. People who could gather the information great leaders needed to create great decisions.
In agriculture, especially in precision agriculture, this is true on many different fronts. Look at it this way, during the 80s and 90s, advancements in tractors and equipment, created a very self-sufficient producer. Yet as in all things, history repeats itself. Today we are entering a stage in progress where great people will need to surround themselves with great people. People who are dedicated to taking on the challenges of technology and grow with it. People who have the capability to take something very complicated and simplify it so the results can be used in decision making.
Technology, especially keeping up on technology is very challenging so we need to remember, technology is here to service us, not for us to serve technology. For sustained growth to a common cause and purpose there must be strong, long-term relationships. Challenging to find such relationships today isnt it? Therefore to build these relationships takes an intentional focus.
In summary lets look at it this way. Dont let your operation or business fall captive to the technology maybes. Spend time with people with whom you have great respect and who can help you design directional purpose for your operation. Maybe it’s family members, your operations planned successor, a local data specialist, or if you want to get serious, (which I recommend) invest in a personal business coach to find within yourself opportunities you have never considered before. Through this process be sure to identify who you will surround yourself with for growth, as well as those who will help to keep you and the operation moving consistently toward that intended purpose. Progress and technology should always enhance the human experience. If it is not then as yourself why, and make the changes necessary.
So have you fallen captive to the this is how we have always done it mindset? Are you interested in access to a business development coach or data specialist to begin making some specific growth changes? Reply below with comments, requests, or questions and we will get back to you as soon as possible.