A few questions may help get the discussion started:
- What are some ideas you are considering for your farm?
- What are your plans or goals for the near future? What are more long term goals?
- Who else have you shared your plans with? Have you shared your plans with family members? Have you shared your plans with business partners?
- What are the strengths of the business? What are the weaknesses?
Develop your vision for the farm & for your future
Before the farm begins to consider specific scenarios for the future of the business and family, it is important to articulate your values, vision, mission, and goals. The development of a meaningful vision is not easy or instantaneous. It takes time, thought, effort, and teamwork. Once you have thought through the following steps, share your vision with the members involved in your farm business. The farm vision will need their input as well, if they are to be involved in the future of the business.
Here are some steps you can take to help you develop a vision which aligns with the farm’s characteristics, culture, and its people.
- Recognize that meaning is derived from something with more meaning – emotions – than profit or productivity. Success comes from the complementarity of the rational and the feeling parts of the brain.
- Introspection and discussion: identify what provided meaning to the farm’s, business’, or organization’s founder and the current owners/leaders. This will not be easy, as you will have to put into words the emotions and meanings that are not well understood in the neocortex. Finding the words is necessary to be able to develop messages that will resonate in the limbic brain of family members, employees, and other stakeholders.
- Create and adapt for your farm, business, or organization a slogan, a vision/mission, or a set of values that represent the farm’s, business’, or organization’s meaning that can then be communicated to employees and other stakeholders. This meaning must reflect the emotions you feel for your organization. Examples of a set of values could be pride, determination, stewardship, passion. Examples of a slogan reflecting the vision/mission could be: “provide food for a growing world” or “we support families just like ours.”
What is important to you? What is it that makes you come to work every day?
Once you can answer that question, next ask yourself why?
What does Your Future Look Like?
Where do you see yourself personally in 5 years? In 10 years?
Where do you see the farm in 5 years? In 10 years?
Do you know how others in the business would answer these questions? How do they compare? Take a moment to write down your answers, and share them with others in your business and/or family.