Going Pro

By Davon Cook on December 14, 2015

When people ask me what business I am involved in, I often answer, “I help ag businesses professionalize their operations.” Does that mean I assume our clients run inefficient or unprofessional operations? By no means.

Rather, I observe that as organizations grow and evolve, you recognize that it may take different skill sets and structures to compete and succeed in the future. “Professionalize” seems to be a catch-all phrase that captures putting more proactive attention toward your people and processes than was needed in years past.

“Professionalism” as I use the term, stresses the importance of the people and processes. Traditionally your enterprises have been all about production, but now we increasingly realize how important it is to invest in human capital and procedures that can be scaled to grow with your business. For example, Lance and I are asked to help formalize roles and responsibilities among family and the entire organization. We help design governance systems to clarify positions, decisions and expectations of the next generation of ownership. We help family owners communicate more effectively and in a professional manner appropriate to business. We help implement better employee training and evaluation systems to get the most from your team. We help codify Standard Operating Procedures to streamline processes and make you less dependent on the one “boss” for quality control. We facilitate peer groups to build your advisory network, and we lead educational seminars like The Progress Coach to continue building management skills in your organization.

The highest return opportunities to further “professionalize” your operation are different for each of you. So ask yourself, what are my organization’s 2-3 most pressing needs to upgrade how we operate? How can I get started?

On this theme, my upcoming articles will focus on various “nuts and bolts” of efforts to professionalize Human Resources within an organization. Stay tuned!