Carey Lohrenz knows what it takes to win in high-pressure and extreme environments. As the first female U.S. Navy F-14 fighter pilot, she can stay calm when the stakes are high, carefully executing consistent commands in a $45 million aircraft that goes from zero to 200 mph in two seconds.
So how do you win under pressure, reduce mistakes, overcome obstacles and seize smart opportunities in your business?
“When you know your purpose and everyone is aligned, that’s the single biggest determinant of whether you’ll be successful—regardless of the environment,” Lohrenz says.
Business leaders, she says, need to focus on three key elements—purpose, focus and discipline. “Know your purpose; focus on what matters; execute with discipline,” Lohrenz advised attendees at the 2019 Executive Women in Agriculture conference, which was part of the Top Producer Summit.
As a farmer you wear many hats, which can lead you to believe you must master everything from production to management to technology. “But, when you dilute your focus, you dilute your power,” she says.
An exercise Lohrenz recommends to leaders is to write down your top three business priorities. Then put the list where you see it over and over.
“By constantly seeing your priorities, you’ll find yourself empowered and intentionally saying no to the things that don’t help you grow your business,” Lohrenz explains.
Master Your Time. As planting shifts into full gear, make sure you are spending your time doing your most important work.
“Time management is not about time; we all have the same amount of time,” says Bob Milligan, senior consultant at Dairy Strategies and former Cornell University professor. “Time management is about setting priorities.”
At the end of each day, set a short list of priorities for tomorrow. Consider this your “Strategic Planning Appointment” or SPA, says Mike Scott, president of Totally Accountable Systems, a business consulting and training firm. Essentially, this is your daily commitment to setting priorities.
“The two purposes for a SPA are to plan tomorrow today and to be fully prepared to operate in a proactive manner,” Scott says.
Dedicate 10 minutes at the end of the day to identify the important tasks that haven’t been completed and update your to-do list. Review any meetings or appointments on your calendar for the next day. Then, block out specific times to complete the tasks.
The spring always dishes out a few setbacks. But a good time management plan and clear focus can help you work through these snags and get back on track. We at Top Producer wish you a blessed and safe spring.