What do you want your farm to look like in ten years? What would be there – and who would be there? You want it to be a successful operation – but that can mean something different to each person. What would success look like on your farm?
When you define and envision what success will look like, then you know the direction you're headed. Without that road map to the future, it's tough to go anywhere at all. We spin our wheels in the mud and get more and more frustrated.
You can create a road map to success by setting clear goals and defining how you'll know when you achieve each goal. That vision of the future is your big dream. Goals are the paths you take to get there.
We recently talked with a family farming operation – a father and his sons – that came to visit our office. We asked what success on their farm would look like to them. To their surprise, each one had a different answer – and got to listen to the answers of all the others.
For the dad in the operation, success was the boys working together to create and achieve a single vision. He got a little emotional as he talked about his vision of success. He wanted everything to keep going strong, even when he wouldn't be around anymore.
You can create a vision for your farm by working with the other leaders to define what success looks like. If you're the only leader, then you get to define it. To achieve it, break it down into specific goals.
In our company, employees and their managers work together to set SMART goals. That stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. A SMART goal tells how success will be evaluated, such as a quantitative measure, and the date that goal should be achieved by. That way, you know how to be successful in that goal and it's clear when you've gotten there.
Each of your written goals should be something that adds to the overall success of the farm. They should get you closer to that vision of what you want your farm to look like in ten years. Plan where you want to be and set SMART goals to reach your destination.