Setting Goals

Usually, the start of a new year is a good time to set some personal goals. It's an opportune time to indulge in a retrospective of the year gone by and to plan for the one to come. But this is on a personal level, which is relatively simple and involves only myself. And of course, it only has repercussions on my environment, but I'm the only person who can control whether not I can achieve my goals.
In terms of setting business objectives, any time of year is a good time; this remains a very important exercise. I am speaking of setting short, medium and long term objectives. The whole according to the mission you gave your business, which is its starting point and its raison d’être.

However, even if the approach is similar, in my opinion it’s important to make a distinction between your personal objectives and those you will set for your business. Personal objectives implicate only yourself and your choice will be influenced by two key factors: how ambitious you’re feeling and the level of satisfaction to be obtained once your objectives have been attained. Everything changes in terms of business objectives. Pragmatism then becomes a key issue. Regardless of how large or small your farm business may be, it needs to be viewed as a team: it’s important to involve people who will have an impact on results. And if the approach is done correctly, everyone will work together towards a common goal.

How often do you talk with the people you work with? Whether they’re your employees or members of your family, it’s basically the same. What I can understand from the conversations I’ve had with farmers is that this is a frequently misunderstood aspect of business. Is everyone on working toward the same common goal? Is each person aware of their role? Why do we get up in the morning, is it just to milk the cows or drive the tractor? Is each member of the team aware of the interrelationships between their duties - as small as they may be - and those of the other team members? How does one person’s work affect that of the people around them?

In a sports team for example, one key player often has be burden of getting results and that player is also often under the spotlight. In football it’s the quarterback and in hockey the gaoler gets a lot of attention. However, all the other players have an important role to play. Even staff members outside the field or the rink play a central role. They need to recognize the goals to be achieved at each game or for the season as a whole. Transfer the analogy to the farm; the people working in the fields need to know how important harvest quality really is and how it affects the herd’s production, growth or even the business’ financial results.

Communication is Key
Now that you’ve taken the first step, the most difficult part will be to follow up, especially to communicate with your team the progress achieved. When something unexpected happens or when results for one part of the farm aren’t as good as they should be, work methods may need to be reviewed and objectives may need to be reassessed to make sure they’re still realistic.

There is more than one way to get from point A to point B. If your usual route is shut down, what are your other options? It all depends on where you are at that very moment…. However, the quicker you know, the quicker you can react and get the right people to effect the changes needed to achieve your goals. And for the most part that’s the coach’s job, but when everyone feels involved, the results are even better.

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