Starting Your Team
Step 1. Develop a Long-term Vision
My son or daughter will return home from school in five years to join the business.
I plan to farm for ten more years and then sell the business.
I want to enjoy more family time.
I am ready to make a major investment in the dairy business.
Step 2. Select a Coordinator
Identify one of your current farm advisers that you work well with, that has good organizational skills, and that you feel will be able to keep the team focused and moving forward.
Work with them to outline major problems for the farm.
Review the list of potential team members you developed in the Team Membership section. Identify missing talent that the team will need to address the business dilemmas and determine who could be sought to fill the need.
Review new list of potential team members to determine who would make good team players and who would work better as independent advisers. Discuss your ideas with prospective team members. Ask if they feel they could contribute to the process for the next year. Ask if and how much they would charge for the time spent working on the team. Keep in mind that you may replace any member of the team if he or she is not committed to the team. You will want to review the Benefits of Team Membership section before you make these contacts.
Step 3. Set the Agenda
Set the agenda for the initial meeting. Plan time to introduce people and begin to build trust and respect among the team members. Plan a walking tour of key facilities and provide summary background information. Start the problem identification process by initiating the S.W.O.T. analysis (covered under Team Tools for Success) during the first meeting. Address the need for ground rules (included in Team Meetings) and start to make a list of them for the team to modify and approve. Identify team responsibilities.
Step 4. Set the Time, Date and Location
Schedule the team meeting when some of the advisers may already be visiting the farm or in the area. Set a start time and an ending time and hold to it. Plan to meet regularly until team members learn to work in unison. Plan frequent meetings so team members remember the team purpose, progress made, and the problems to be addressed.
Step 5. Complete a Business Assessment
Before the first team meeting you will want to complete a business assessment. What are the family values and objectives? What is the owner's vision for the business in the next five years? Share some of the highlights of family/business values, key farm data and owner's vision with the advisory team at your first meeting.
Step 6. Conduct Your First Meeting
Record progress. Near the end of the first meeting set the date, time, location and agenda for the next meeting. Give assignments to team members before they leave. After the meeting send out meeting notes and an announcement of the next meeting. Eventually you will want to develop action plans and a system to monitor progress. See Team Meetings for sample forms.