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A Real Leader

“What is leadership?” That age old question has been teasing us for generations. Gurus often cite the characteristics of a leader. Others quote famous passages from field generals of yore, and still others share examples of respected titans of business they hope will exemplify the leadership qualities we all aspire to. Yet, the question itself is almost unanswerable.

The Bravest Men, The Most Valiant Soldiers

Over the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some pretty amazing leaders. Though I can’t and won’t pick a favorite, Aubrey Daniels Ph.D. , of Aubrey Daniels International, comes to mind as one of the most astute thinkers I’ve had the privilege to interview. During our brief visit, he shared a bit about his farming heritage and, more importantly, the values he learned working on his grandfather’s farm.  

Grow it Forward

Though based on the growing prospects for ‘Wall Street’ investors in agriculture, the article Barbarians at the Farm Gate in The Economist (January 3rd, 2015) points out several opportunities and some obligations for today’s farming professionals. Among the latter is the unstated, but implied duty to plan for succession, if remaining a family in farming is your ultimate goal.

Challenging, yes. Life changing, absolutely!

Like many things, planning for succession depends on the relationship among the family and your advisors, on planning methods and thoroughness of the process, on the information provided and the recommendations made, on the complexity of the case and the attitude of the decision-makers, on plan implementation and lasting results.

What's Your Value Proposition?

Every family operation requires leaders with a variety of skills and a diversity of interests. Tomorrow’s leaders will fill positions and do jobs that aren’t even defined today. So, how do you measure up? Do you have the skills and abilities necessary to help grow the operation? Being fair to yourself and straightforward regarding the depth and breadth of your capabilities, consider your value proposition – what are the quantifiable benefits that you can deliver to the family business?