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Farm Management is Influenced by Core Values

Dr. David Kohl
Educational Opportunities: 
Young, Beginning Farmers
Home > Education & Events > November 2019 > Farm Management is Influenced by Core Values

Today's subject matter is the use of core values in critical decision making. Recently I had the opportunity to tour farm and agricultural businesses in Western North Carolina and Central New York. To my amazing surprise, each one of these businesses had written core values that were posted and they actually use these core values in both strategic and day-to-day decision making. You might ask, well, what were some of the core values? I'll refer to a combination of both businesses. They were one word. Excellence, humility, respect, candor, integrity, work ethic, profitability, and sustainability.

You might ask, how were these one word core values used in day-to-day and strategic business decision making? Well, for example, one of the managers of the business was having difficulty with employees who were constantly tardy and did not show up the work at all. Well, one of the things he did, he used the work ethic and respect for other team members to dismiss these employees and these unproductive employees. He said it was very, very simple because the owners and the managers had set the principles out beforehand.

Next, the North Carolina business actually used these core values to dismissed a family member of the owner. Again, in this situation, it was very objective and non-emotional, and the core values were the difference maker.

It was real interesting. Both businesses used core values in major capital expansion decisions. One of the things that they used was the word called candor. In this situation, they were able to discuss, in a safe environment, both the positive and the negative aspects and the unintended consequences of the major expansion. They then incorporated these in the proposal to take to their agricultural lender.

Well, folks, hopefully you can see the core values is just not an academic process and it can be used in both strategic and day-to-day decision making.
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