Good Managers Think In Systems

Recently I was a lecturer at the Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) in Austin, TX. This was my 14th year addressing the group. My good friend, Dr. Danny Klinefelter, put together an excellent group of 60 first-year and 40 second-year students for the 2006 program.

After being pumped with questions for two hours from the second year group and intensively lecturing for six hours to the first year group, I pondered what made this group excel during my trek home. One area that came to mind was that, regardless of size of business, they all managed their business as a system rather than in components.

These individuals were able to operate their businesses with balance in strategic and operations management. In visiting with them, I found they had the ability to hire to their weaknesses to fill in any gaps, which allowed the wheel of management to go smoothly down the road to success.

As they evolved their business forward as a system, they were able to strategize and execute, then evaluate their decisions made with some well-defined metrics. Some of these metrics included a certain level of earned net worth, securing a large value-added contract that diversified the operation and utilizing insurances to mitigate risk. Others were in the stage of life, both in their business and personal lives, to work with a team of advisors to put together a transition management plan and build the next generation of management.

For your information, this group’s median gross revenue was approximately $1.4 million with assets of $3.6 million and liabilities of $1.05 million.

My e-mail address is:sullylab@vt.edu

Editors' note: Dave Kohl, The Corn and Soybean Digest Trends Editor, is an ag economist specializing in business management and ag finance. He recently retired from Virginia Tech, but continues to conduct applied research and travel extensively in the U.S. and Canada, teaching ag and banking seminars and speaking to producer and agribusiness groups.

To see Dave Kohl's previous road warrior adventures type Dave Kohl in the Search blank at the top of the page.

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