Setting Goals

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Our rural producers face many issues and challenges while providing all of us with food, fiber and often shelter. One area I’ve found to help is Goal Setting.

While not a novel concept, this key area is worthy of continuous attention and focus.  Most everyone agrees there are many benefits of setting goals and indeed we’re never too old to benefit. 

Here are some goal-related ideas to consider:

1. Keep it Simple: I recommend a maximum of three goals at any one time

2. Write them down: By committing these goals to paper (or on your cell phone or computer), we begin to implant these goals into our memory.

3. Prioritize your goal set: Rank them either by importance or by time demands. Once you complete a goal, re-prioritize and replace that one with another goal. 

Some examples:

a. Get school supplies by Aug. 1 &/or Schedule a doctor’s appointment

b. Payoff truck by end of year &/or Begin a walking regimen (3x/week)

c. Meal for Cattlemen’s meeting &/or Start a $50/week retirement plan

Once you complete a goal, celebrate. Reward yourself. This reinforces the process.

Involve others. We’ve all heard it: get others involved to increase your accountability. This is another time-tested principle that works. While some are personal, other goals can be shared for the benefit of others. Again, most goals and objectives should be personal and individualized for you. They should stretch your abilities yet remain attainable. You can also have family goals just like you’d see in business organizations.

Another area near and dear to us is customer service. One of the easiest ways to enhance our farm or ranching business is to prioritize your customer service offering to others. “Please and Thank You” are phrases absent far too often in our daily lives yet they reflect the business or service we’re paying for. I’ve been known to offer a hearty “You’re Welcome” after a drive through or in-store exchange when the staff member fails to offer a Thank You. 

I’ve always felt I can tell if a person is smiling on the other end of a phone call. As the first contact in your business, whoever answers the call sets the tone and impression for all.

There are untold millions spent promoting customer relations in business. I contend there’s a huge dividend being missed by not emphasizing customer service as priority one. The golden rule still applies and people still talk. We can set ourselves apart by simply offering an exemplary level of care to those we serve. By establishing great service at every level on the team, we foster a culture that will serve your farm, company or business forever. Let’s not miss the opportunity. Once a commitment to our customer or client is prioritized, it creates a fun environment for those we work with.

I want to spend my money and work with those who appreciate the relationship and demonstrate that through a sincere, caring attitude. After all, we generally do have a choice and we can choose to “vote” with our pocketbook.

Ken W. Knies is an agricultural and rural consultant. He holds a bachelor’s of science and arts from the University of Arkansas and a master’s of business administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Mo. He formed Ag Strategies, LLC as a business unit focused on
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