Steve Conaway talks about how storing grain in bags has helped his farm achieve high levels of profitability. We also discuss the concept of placing yourself in situations to learn from others, possibly being the dumbest person in the room.
Try to be the dumbest person in the room
What’s working for Ag – listener or farmer feedback
Storing Grain in grain bags with @steveconaway1
You can’t learn much from those you know more than.
o It’s a challenging concept, it’s humbling, it’s scary, and it must happen!
o In order to generate new ideas and bring new concepts back to the farm you must reach
out of your comfort zone. Pairing new or different concepts with your years of
experience could take your farm to the next level.
Just because you have years of experience it doesn’t mean you are being the most effective. Think of it as a coffee shop in town has 25 years of experience pouring coffee that tastes awful. They may be great pourers of coffee and never make a mess, but the product they are serving isn’t any good. However, if they meet up with the owner of the across town shop who has high reviews on the quality of coffee they could learn the source of the beans. They now then are great coffee pourers with a great product too just by humbly networking with someone who has been perceived as better at it.
o You must approach these conversations and experiences with an open mind. We tend to get defensive about the way we do things and resist admitting they could use improvement.
o Doesn’t have to only be with another farmer. Could be a farm manager, an ag industry professional, or salesman. Just look for those who you respect and command the respect of others to learn from. This most commonly happens while joining ag related boards or attending meetings to network.
o Remember most of the time we are the most critical of that which we don’t understand. Rather than criticize something be curious and see if you can learn more about it.
o Then take the new concept, technique, or idea and learn as much as you can about it. Then it becomes less about what someone else said and more about the research you have done.
A good technique for focusing on a new concept is the 3-2-1 method. Focus a 90 day period of time on the idea and seek out 3 books or articles to read, 2 more people ask about or learn from their experience on the topic, and try to get to 1 class or field day to see it in action.
Example: Someone shares how vertical tillage has been a solution for certain areas of their farm. Find 3 pieces of research, articles, or books to read about the benefits of the practice. Talk to 2 neighbors or network users about their experience, and try and line up a demo or see a tool in action.
o The goal is to start identifying those in your industry that you view as successful. You may not what your farming operation to look exactly like theirs, but something about their business you see as a step in the right direction. It could be their understanding of finances, mechanical ability, or cleanliness of fields. Then swallow a bit of pride and put yourself in a position to learn from them whether it be through casual conversation or
an organized meeting. Once you’ve learned about what helps them achieve the success they have conduct your research and begin implementing profit boosting techniques to your farm. Kaizen is the word the Japanese use for Constant and Never-ending Improvement. Adopting this mentality with help boost your farm’s profitability.
o Identify 5 techniques, skills, or practices that you see as successful in another operators business. Of those 5 find a way to learn about two of them in the next 30 days. Then begin the 3-2-1 process on each of them and take the steps necessary to implement 1 of the techniques, skills, or practices on your farm to boost productivity or ROI.
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