December 21st, 2000: I remember the night well because that was the night I asked my now-wife to be my then-girlfriend. Or so I thought. You see, I asked her to a movie. Which in my mind was the very same as asking her to be my girlfriend. But which wasn’t in her mind. I had asked the right question, but used the wrong words.
I think that we—meaning me and you—get caught in the same mix-up sometimes. I ask you a question or tell you something that in my mind means X but in your mind means Y. Or visa-versa. It seems like we’re on the same page, but really we’re not.
This is similar to what I wrote about last week: though we might have the same end goal (big yields, profits, happiness) we have differing sets of priorities and ways to get there.
When it became clear that my wife hadn’t understood that I had asked her to be my girlfriend, we had to clarify: what I meant, what she meant, what I wanted, what she wanted. And we were successful (woo hoo!). As we close out this year and open the book on the next, I think that it’s the prime time that we—and again I mean you and I—do the same.
In that spirit, here are some possible questions to get that conversation going. Take a moment to ask yourself these questions, then sit down with your Field Sales Agronomist and share.
- What do you feel are your operations strengths? Weaknesses?
- If you could change one thing about the past season, what would it be? (And you can’t say “weather” or “prices.”)
- What do you want your operation to look like in five years?
- Think about the last new product that you introduced into your operation. How did you ensure that it was a good fit for your farm?
- We’re past the end of the 2014 season. What do you remember about it? More specifically, when you think about a product you used, are you remembering the price you paid for it or its performance?
- How will technology change your operation in the future?
- What is your decision making process when you buy something?
- What do you wish your FSA did more?
- If you had to give your FSA a grade, what would it be? If you had to give CVA a grade, what would it be? How might both improve their grade with you?
- Research tells us that you have between five and seven suppliers calling on you each year. How do you decide who to go with?
These probably aren’t the only questions to ponder and discuss with your FSA, but I hope that they’re a good start. If you’re feeling confused or misunderstood on any count, by all means, bring it into the conversation and clear the air. I speak for myself and for your FSA when I say that we care about the success of your operation. We share your end goal—having an open dialogue with us is the easiest way to get us on your same page and we work to get there.
I hope that you all enjoy a safe and happy New Year. Myself, your FSA, and CVA all look forward to serving your operation in the year to come.