I have to admit, I was a cub scout and enjoyed every moment of it. However, at the grand age of 8, Baden-Powell’s ‘be prepared’ motto really didn’t mean that much to me and, certainly wasn’t on my list of priorities.
But as I got older, the importance of being prepared was certainly something I started to understand. This was especially the case during my many years as an estate or farm manager where as part of my work I was required to give regular operational strategy updates to the landowners, committees, charities and trusts I worked for.
I can only describe these meetings to something that resembled the TV programme, Dragon’s Den, as I too would stand in front of often successful business entrepreneurs for a hard and challenging grilling about business strategies, objectives and goals.
However, these intensive grillings soon made me realise that I needed to spend more time preparing for these meetings so I could be more proactive with my presentations. I needed to be ready and confident that I could answer any questions raised, so ensuring I could give the precise reasons and details for the management strategies I was either undertaking or was planning to implement.
Through more thorough preparation, I suddenly found myself feeling far more confident with regards the business strategies as I had relentlessly questioned every aspect associated with the 5Ws (who, what, why, where and when) and also, justified how it would help to improve the businesses sustainability for the future years. From this point, I found these meetings became more constructive, productive and therefore, far more beneficial for me and the businesses I was managing.
So, looking back, I now realise how these question time meetings moulded and improved my management techniques, helping me to learn the importance of re-evaluating and justifying decisions. It also made me realise that this only works if you can be totally honest with yourself when questioning your own work plans and their ethics. The final thing that I realised is the importance of being smarter with what we already have, identifying those existing assets on the farm and land and then making sure you’re actually utilising them to their full potential.
I am aware that with Brexit now on the horizon, this seems to have given many of us the impetus to start analysing, questioning and justifying our business strategies, in order to identify efficiencies and, increase productivity so to develop that future business robustness and sustainability. However, I can’t help wondering why it has taken something like Brexit to make us start to question and analyse our farm business strategies as surely this is something we all should be doing daily anyway.