There is an old saying in sports that it is easier to get to the top than stay there. This adage can be applied to business as well. Let’s examine why good performance is sometimes a fleeting notion.

· First, the team is always changing. This can range from the suppliers, employees and management team to the markets you deal with. A good manager anticipates these changes and builds in a depth chart based upon a needs and marketplace assessment.

· Teach, share or destroy. Most businesses are vulnerable at the “thunder stage.” This is the period when one achieves milestone goals and becomes complacent. The good strategist attempts to constantly reinforce learning and growth amongst the employees and management team. A business can quickly go from the “thunder” to “under” stage if one fails to plan for this transition.

· Strategy and timing. Some will say success in business is all about timing. I suggest it is a combination of timing and strategy. It’s the capital reserve account built up in profitable times that positions the business to capitalize on a once-in-a-lifetime deal, where assets are purchased at 50 cents on a dollar.

· You can be hired and fired. Employees operate to the lowest level you will tolerate. These two lines are directed at family members and to employees who feel they are “entitled.” Disengaged employees and family members can be considered value detractors, which can quickly spread throughout an organization and break up the chemistry of performance.

Be careful who you bring to and keep on your team.

Editor’s 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. He can be reached at sullylab@vt.edu.