My daughters have taught me two very simple facts in life. One, when times are tough you have to surround and listen to people you trust with the most important things in your life. This, was the case twice in my short career as a father as both my daughters were born premature. Both times, certainly the first time, I had no idea what the future looked like, and all I read was probabilities and outcomes. When the time came I had to turn it all over and trust a team of absolute professionals. Friends, this article is really about the next step in the MEY strategy, “Surrounding yourself with a team you trust”. You do business with a lot of people, and I hope that you trust each and every one of them. However, who becomes the “Trusted Advisor”? The person you consult on most every decision.
This week I am going to lay down some of the attributes that person should possess to help you get out of our survival scenario. The first attribute is a high level of trust; which like I said, I hope you already have. However, it’s deeper than that. It has to be your highest level of trust, your inner circle. This is important because to really manage MEY, we have to know more than the agronomics. We have to know the exact costs and value of your crops. This is information that, at best, we have obtained in passing conversation, but not in great detail. You don’t just tell anyone that level of information.
Secondly they have to share your core values. This one perhaps should be first because it is so important in that level of trust. This is about integrity and honor, the fact that they are the same person, no matter where they are, no difference in actions or values between work and off work time. It is extremely hard to build a deep relationship that involves trust without that.
The third trait is they have to completely understand the goals, hopes, dreams, aspirations and direction of your operation. They don’t have to totally agree with each and every point, but they have to be able to put that aside to help you get to where you want to go. We all could be sitting in a canoe, and I would much rather have someone pick up their oar when they don’t totally agree, than to just drag it in the water. This disagreement is good because it allows them to give your ideas on direction a bit of a litmus test for you.
The fourth one is that they have to hold the agronomic knowledge and skill to help you navigate through tough times. If we were in that survival situation, I would much rather have someone that can build shelter and fires, know how to read topographical maps, and can land navigate over someone who can just tell a good story. The same is is true for your agronomist. They have to have a depth of understanding of all the sciences that make agronomy what it is, soil science, plant pathology and physiology, plant nutrition, and water use.
The last attribute is the other one I learned from my daughters, and that attribute is tenacity—we’re born with tenacity. That’s something I know to be true. My daughters have taught me this. When both of them were born, they were small enough to fit into your cupped hands. And just a few weeks ago, I watched both of them complete the Pumpkin Run with energy to spare. Tenacity overcomes probability. Tenacity conquers. The same is true with your trusted advisor. They have the fortitude to help you make tough decisions, have the tough conversations, and embrace the chaos of your situation. I put my trust into the doctors and nurses at the NICU to do everything they needed to do to put my daughters in a situation to succeed. That is our responsibility to you, and our vow is to do our level best to use our knowledge, experience, and the technology available to us to put you in a position to win. We have it in our power to shape our own destinies through the decisions we make. I could leave you with any number of quotes on perseverance, but instead, let me leave you with this: Just two years ago, in May and June the entire corn market looked pretty bleak. Yet here we are today. This is a game we know. This is a game we’ve won before. Let’s team up and WIN it.