Stephen Covey selected seven essential ‘habits’ for great managers. Which of these are on your list as a farmer?
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There are some truly inspirational books to help you in your quest to become a great farm manager.
Peter Drucker’sConcept of the Corporationabout General Motors is a bit dated now, but it was the first book ever written about ‘management’ as we understand it today.
Drucker realised that there was much more to it than the boss giving orders and everyone following, and inThe Practice of Management, as valid today as it was in 1954 when he wrote it, he recognised that the real life-blood of any organisation is the talent and skill of its management.
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Books in the same class are In Search of Excellence by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman (1982),The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peopleby Stephen Covey (1992),Built to Lastby Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (1994), and Jim Collins’s follow up,Good to Great(2001), which describes why some businesses make this leap and others don’t.
Seven habits of profitable farmers
What triggered this trip down literary memory lane was an article I came across on prairiefarmer.com, in which an American economics Professor, Gary Schnitkey, taking a cue from Stephen Covey, identified the seven common characteristics or habits of profitable soya farmers:
They are innovative and dive into new ideas
They do their own research with on-farm testing of new technologies and practices
They look at return on investment, not simply yields
They push yields, producing one to two bushels more per acre than their neighbours
They are excellent at cost control
They ask for help to address areas of weakness, making extensive use of consultants
They receive a premium price, whether its non-GMO beans or seed bean production.
I then started looking for other gems of farm management wisdom, dressed up as ‘seven habits’, and soon found that in 2016, Lilian Schaer of IPSOS, had carried out a survey of 604 farms across Canada.
Related: Developing good business habits for a great year
She, too, had identified ‘seven habits’ of farm managers who were having the greatest impact on farm profitability. So, go ahead and form some (good) habits today.
This article originally appeared in Farmer’s Weekly.