Who is your leadership role model?

Water Street Solutions’ CEO Darren Frye writes a blog for Farm Futures titled “Finance First.” This week he brings us an entry about selecting leadership traits to emulate and other resources to consult when searching for your own leadership style.

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Three mindsets of the farm business leader

Most producers are great at concentrating on the production side of agriculture, and that's good, because this is typically the thing farmers enjoy—focusing on day-to-day operations and getting the crop planted and harvested. This is what author Michael Gerber would refer to as the Technician mindset. In his book The E-Myth Revisited, Gerber explores the three mindsets of business owners: Technician, Manager and Entrepreneur. We've found that this mindset model translates very well to the world of farming, because a farm is, after all, a business.

Water Street Solutions Director Dean Heffta once discussed with KRVN’s Dewey Nelson how Gerber's model can be applied to the farm, and how transcending the technician role can only work for the benefit of an operation as the leader learns to think "bigger picture" and explore new opportunities to grow and improve the business as well as the people they trust to staff it.

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Use metrics to track farm's progress

Every farm should be looking at certain basic financial metrics, but in reality, each one of those operations should also be monitoring a tailored set of metrics specific to their own goals. Metrics give us the ability to discover aspects of our business that might otherwise remain invisible.

In this week’s blog post on FarmFutures.com, Darren Frye provides insight into working with metrics to help a farm achieve its vision.

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Where do new ideas go on your farm?

In this piece originally published at FarmFutures.com, Water Street Solutions CEO Darren Frye discusses a major competitive advantage for any farm: creating a process for dealing properly with new ideas on the farm. Simply shooting down an idea because it comes from the younger generation is not a constructive process. Every idea should be evaluated for its potential, and nobody should feel like their ideas are summarily dismissed without the least bit of consideration.

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Build a legacy of leadership by starting now

Today's farm leader spends more time functioning as the CEO of their operation than as a laborer. There are a lot of responsibilities to manage: business planning, finances, creating a vision and leading the team...the list goes on. That means a leader needs a lot of varied skills, and sometimes it means acquiring new skills.

When a leader spends time developing new skills, he or she is setting a standard and exemplifying how learning ties into leadership for the next generation. Solid leadership skills are vital for the success of the farm's next generation, and yesterday was the best day to get started on that generation's preparation to lead. It's OK, though, if you didn't start yesterday—today is still a great time to start gearing up the next generation to lead.

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Make your vendor your partner

In this piece originally published in Corn + Soybean Digest, Dean Heffta reminds us to utilize our vendors not merely for the goods they supply, but to tap into their expertise and experience and use them as a learning resource for increasing value for your operation.

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Smart Series: New crop insurance product might be a fit

If you’ve used an area-based crop protection plan in the past to protect your crop risk, there’s a new kid on the block this year you might be interested in—MPP, or Margin Protection Plan. Click to learn more about this unique plan available to farmers for their 2019 crops.

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Get on top of farm's numbers now

As farmers prepare their equipment, procedures and people for the busy harvest season just around the corner, your thoughts will probably begin meandering toward how the whole thing is going to turn out. Before the combines even begin rolling, there's a nervous excitement over those final results.

Water Street CEO Darren Frye says there's one more thing to get prepped before heading into harvest—something that might not be at the top of your list right now, but is very important nonetheless: your business projections. Learn why that's so important going into harvest by reading his latest piece at FarmFutures.com.

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"That's just how we do it" might signal stagnation

They say old habits die hard. When it's on the farm, old habits could be what's running things, even though the rest of world has moved on. In this week's Finance First blog, Darren Frye explains why the old explanation of "That's just the way we do it around here" is not only insufficient reasoning to continue doing something a certain way—but also potentially damaging to the operation.

Read it at FarmFutures.com

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Podcast: When what you know just ain't so

"It ain't what you know that gets you into trouble; it's what you know that just ain't so." Though it's been credited to Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Yogi Berra and probably countless others, nobody seems to know who actually originated that saying. Nevertheless, it certainly doesn't make it any less true: If we don't evolve and learn with our changing world, we will one day find that many of the things we know to be true at this point in time...are no longer true in the future. In this week's Modern Farm Business® podcast, Dean suggests ways to challenge our established notions and beliefs in order to grow as leaders.

Click to listen, or find us and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Harnessing habits—for success

A big determinant of our success in work and life is what we do habitually. When one considers the idea of "habits," the mind tends to immediately associate it with getting rid of negative habits. We can, however, use habitual behavior constructively by building new, positive habits.

In this week's Finance First blog at Farm Futures, Darren Frye encourages readers to cultivate good habits which help foster success in a farming operation.

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7 Differentiators of a successful farming business, part 3

Water Street Solutions has been working with farmers across the Midwest since 1994. We’ve had the chance to observe many farming operations from the inside and get an understanding of what builds success in this world of agriculture. Based on the company’s experience over the past two decades, CEO Darren Frye has identified a list of seven differentiators for building a successful farming business.

Over the last few weeks, he's identified the first four differentiators. Click here to read the conclusion of this three-part series, reprinted with permission from Illinois AgriNews.

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Podcast: When "bad" turns good

A leader is responsible for big decisions—and they come all too frequently in the "heat of the moment." It's important for leaders to keep their cool when the pressure is on, managing their emotions and maintaining perspective on the issue at hand. That perspective is key—because in the same way as a winning lottery ticket can bring its share of woes, sometimes what appears on the surface to be an unfortunate incident can actually lead to positive outcomes.

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Balance the urgent and important for productivity

Farmers frequently tell Water Street Solutions advisors that they feel like a lot of their typical day is spent "putting out fires," or tending to urgent matters that pop up unannounced. The other "go-to" mode of operation we see in clients is the farm leader who sticks to a schedule each day—a schedule which is a series of tasks intent on moving the farm toward its overarching goals.

A leader's focus is very important for maintaining the direction of the business. If a leader is occupying all of his or her time concentrating on the urgent, they are probably missing opportunities to truly focus their energy in a productive way. Water Street CEO Darren Frye has some tips to help farm leaders focus on the important, rather than spending all their time putting out fires. Check it out in Darren's weekly Finance First column at Farm Futures.

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7 Differentiators of a successful farm business, part 2

Water Street Solutions has been working with farmers across the Midwest since 1994. We’ve had the chance to observe many farming operations from the inside and get an understanding of what builds success in this world of agriculture. Based on the company’s experience over the past two decades, CEO Darren Frye has identified a list of seven differentiators for building a successful farming business.

A couple of weeks ago he began the list by identifying the first two differentiators. Click here to read the continuation of this three-part series, reprinted with permission from Illinois AgriNews.

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