Connectivity Creates Efficiency

Use this as a guide to determine what pieces fit and what tools would work best. The keys to this model are the time ranges. Create a timeline of regular check-in points for you and your team. ( Source: A.C.T. Consulting )

The holidays ... family time and connecting with each other a-plenty. Speaking of connecting, how are your employee and key stake-holder meetings keeping up this time of year? Is everyone so busy between pot-lucks and Christmas programs that you haven’t all got together in weeks? Are you wondering what is really getting done? That’s a nerve-wracking feeling when this time is critical for smart buying decisions and managing tax issues. The key to staying on task is productive connection time, and the best way to do that is in the form of meetings.

A meeting is just not a meeting, when done correctly. The goal is structured, effective meetings that make the right use of everyone’s time. There are a multitude of meeting and organizational planning resources. But these tools are inert; the only way they are effective is when you understand how to implement them with intention. I always advocate a process.

Meeting Timeline. Regular touch points allow you and your team to carry out long-term goals. Daily meetings are key. However, for many operators, daily meetings are either poorly structured or nonexistent. Most farmers tell me it’s too difficult because they need to get out and get going.

Daily in-person meetings can be replaced with a group text, messaging app or conference call. During these check-ins, everyone shares their daily plan and news from the previous day. Daily group connectivity can eliminate employee confusion about who gave what command to whom or what priority to tackle first. In employee interviews, these are the most common frustrations.

Some operations might find weekly meetings are necessary and might negate the biweekly options. I typically use weekly meetings for remote teams in professional settings but at the farm gate, with seasonality and crisis management always hovering, I find a weekly 60- to 90-minute model is often not feasible. I also believe these kinds of meetings can be conquered using a video or audio platform such as Skype. In-person meetings are always best, but virtual meetings are second best. I also like video, if it works in your area, for accountability and to encourage the likelihood of participation a conference call does not.

Annually, you need to take connectivity offsite. The type of retreat or planning meeting you put together can vary widely. However, the keys are that it happens, is offsite, has an element of significance to being invited and serves a purpose. This is the time to share your vision, to address any major updates or changes, and to acknowledge the wins and losses of the year.

Creating a meeting culture for your farm takes the right attitude and someone to lead the effort. Remember, no matter how busy you are, your team can and should make regular productive communication the model for the new year.