Last week I introduced a series of thoughts on The New Rules of Profitable Farming. Farming has changed in a short time. The markets move faster, decisions have to come faster which causes your blood pressure to rise. This is not just in agriculture, but everywhere.
Rule #1 is that YOU Need to Know. As farmers, we enjoy production, and we like to give the marketing decisions over to someone who enjoys that part. At Water Street Solutions we enjoy that part. Personally, it's my passion. But if we're going to work together or if you are going to work with any firm on marketing, accounting, or crop scouting – YOU have to know what's going on. You don't have to do every piece of it – otherwise what's the point of outsourcing? But you have to know enough to be able to know whether your partner in this venture, your expert, is doing the best job for your operation.
You have to be a student. And that takes time. You can learn in a classroom, or you can learn from pain. Personally the lessons learned from pain stick with you a lot longer, but why not take a shortcut and be open to learning? One thing that's hard is that you have to put your ego aside and agree to learn a better way, agree to change. What I was doing for 10 years like clockwork isn't working today. Why? Maybe we need to acquire leadership that can help shape our decisions.
I try to help our clients to understand if you don't learn how options and crop insurance work or if you don't learn how working capital makes you stronger, how am I ever going to convince you? You have to learn and embrace the concepts before you can use them well. When we get you to learn and buy in, you'll see it, you'll be empowered, you'll change in order to make better decisions. The farmer has to make these decisions. You can't let somebody else tell you what to do. It's your business. You're the CEO. And it's not a $500,000 business anymore; it's a multi-million dollar business.
The second part of this is trust. The reason we don't listen, follow or learn is we don't really trust the people we're working with. That's one of the important things about hiring a consultant. If you don't trust this person, you need to either build that trust, help the other person understand what's holding this trust level back, or get rid of them and get somebody else in there that you do trust.
Likeability and trust has to be at 100% if you're going to be open and vulnerable to someone else. Don't let them make the same mistakes that you've been making if you keep relying on the past for your future decisions. Things change.