Building a strong farm team through people power

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

Running any business is a challenge, but running a family business and managing different personality styles carries with it a special kind of obstacle, as team mates love each other but also need to like each other.

Greg Lingelbach is a Small Business Chair of TEC Canada, a business coaching and peer mentorship organization. He presented at the Agriculture Excellence Conference in Canmore, Alta. this week, and Shaun Haney was there to record a special live episode of RealAg Radio, capturing some of the great discussions from the event (see player/mp3 below).

Lingelbach says that a farm business needs to live its core values, and, in turn, that creates a work culture — not the other way around.

“Core values are really the foundation of who we are and what we do, and why we do what we do,” he says, “it’s what you tell your neighbour across the fence about your organization.”

How does the entire farm team know what the core values are? By meeting face-to-face, communicating wants and needs, discussing goals and values, and being open to share information about how work gets done, Lingelbach says.

Sharing our hopes and dreams for the farm business is key, he says, as telling our children what are dreams are, allows them to share their dreams, too, opening the door for open and honest communication on the work that needs done to get there.

Another key area where communication often lacks is on financial decisions. If children are one day going to lead the farm business, it’s important to bring in that financial literacy and transparency piece early.

“Include them in your in your meetings in your conversations, take them to the accountant with you take them to the bank with you. When I left the farm, I didn’t even know how to how to work my bank book for goodness sakes,” Lingelbach shares.

Personalities play a role, too, of course. Lingelbach says that understanding the personality types around the farm table is a great first step to not only understanding how each person thinks and works, but how best to adapt your own communication style to most effectively work with them.