People Power

I’ve recently rediscovered the amazing power that comes from surrounding yourself with good people. It’s something we’ve addressed many times in this magazine, but when it actually pays off it becomes an “A-Ha!” moment.

Back in my days working at a magazine for the relatively immature landscaping and lawn care industry, one of the core issues we always tried to get at was, at what point is a business too large for one person to manage? Many of the business owners got into it for the love of the work, not the business, so when it came time to grow past the point of full control, a lot of them either sold out, gave up, or just decided to maintain the business at flat growth.

To get to the next level would take not only guts and a willingness to take a risk, but the right kinds of people with a passion for the business and a willingness to learn and take on more responsibility. The profiles we did of successful companies inevitably led to discussions of competent and reliable management in the middle ranks that allowed upper level management to look for new opportunities and guide the company at a higher level.

When I started here eight years ago, one of the key strategic decisions we made was to bring in more seasoned individuals with the right mix of skills and personality traits that could grow into more responsibility. Mainly because of this, I’ve recently been able to grow my job into editorial management of our cotton group. As we’ve been having transitional meetings and some of these key people have stepped up to take on new challenges, I daily feel the load on my shoulders lighten. It’s a tremendous, empowering feeling.

I know many successful retailers have had similar experiences with the benefit of good people, and Eric Sfiligoj and I got to see a number of them at the recent Agricultural Retailers Asso­ciation conference last month. Virtually all of the largest and most successful managers of retail organizations tell us it comes down to people, plain and simple.

The distribution channel is facing some significant challenges in the next couple of years, many of which are covered in this issue. The care of corn is certainly an opportunity to be exploited, but it will take a solid plan and good people to get it done. With consolidation at every level of agriculture, diminishing value in crop protection, and increasing nitrogen and fuel prices, we need to be efficient. Will your people be able to answer the call?

Most really good managers can get by on working harder and filling in the gaps where people and systems fail, but as Bill Keogh says in his story in this issue, working harder is not a business strategy. Getting the right people in the right roles in your company is a step in your business plan that you simply can’t afford not to take.

Finally, two closing notes. First, on the subject of people, I’m pleased to announce that Eric Sfiligoj has been promoted to Editor of CropLife® magazine, as well as sister publications CropLife IRON and the PrecisionAg print properties. Eric’s done an excellent job covering the distribution channel and representing the interests of retailers, and will bring strong leadership and knowledge to the position.
Lastly, all the best for a happy and prosperous new year! 

Leave a Reply

Paul Schrimpf Stories

Paul SchrimpfWorking With Walmart
June 2, 2014
It's critical for agriculture to have seats at the table as the mega-retailer works out its definition of sustainability. Read More

Trending Articles

Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
Many new products were introduced to the ag retail marketplace this year. From this group, CropLife IRON and its consulting partners have selected five finalists for the Product of the Year award. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More
EquipmentNew Holland Acquires Miller-St. Nazianz
September 3, 2014
The assets of Miller acquired as part of the transaction will become part of New Holland Agriculture, a CNH Industrial brand, building on a successful four-year partnership between the two companies. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires East Kansas Chemical
September 2, 2014
Ranked 82nd on the CropLife 100, East Kansas Chemical will operate as part of Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerFertilizer Outlook And Technology Conference Set For No…
September 30, 2014
Conference participants can expect to gain perspective on the outlook for agriculture and major fertilizer materials and inputs from industry experts. Read More
MicronutrientsVerdesian Acquires Micronutrient Supplier
September 30, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has acquired QC Corp., a producer and supplier of granular and dry micronutrients and ferrous sulfate products. Read More
Eric SfiligojHearing From Young Ag Voices
September 30, 2014
Potential future leaders in ag retail had the chance to shine at the recent Mid America CropLife Association meeting. Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
September 30, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Appoints New Chief Operating Officer
September 29, 2014
Jon Parr will succeed retiring COO John Atkin at the end of the year. Read More
CropLife 100South Dakota Wheat Growers To Add Grain-Agronomy Facili…
September 26, 2014
Planned to be constructed in Kennebec, the facility will be located along the soon-to-be rehabilitated line of heavy-rail service from Chamberlain to Presho. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Vice President Appointments
September 25, 2014
Two individuals have been appointed Vice President positions on the GROWMARK executive team. Read More
FertilizerFertilizer Industry Organizations Join Global Alliance …
September 25, 2014
The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute and the International Fertilizer Industry Association are encouraging the industry to promote the proper use of fertilizer products to minimize their environmental impact. Read More
Precision AgARA Organized Precision Forum Hits Capitol Hill
September 24, 2014
The Coalition for the Advancement of Precision Agriculture (CAPA) hosted its inaugural Precision Ag Forum, Sept. 18, in Washington, D.C. Read More
FertilizerFactors To Consider When Placing Fertilizer With Seed
September 24, 2014
The type of crop, fertilizer source, row spacing and soil environment all affect how much fertilizer can be safely applied with seed. Read More
FertilizerSidedressing Manure Into Corn Has Promising Results
September 24, 2014
Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses and give livestock producers another window of time to apply manure to farm fields. Read More
FertilizerWhen To Sample Manure For Analysis
September 24, 2014
Because the goal is to collect a sample that represents the manure actually being applied, the best time to sample is during loading or field application. Here's why. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Faces Second Lawsuit Over Agrisure Viptera Cor…
September 23, 2014
A second company has sued Syngenta AG over sales of genetically modified corn seed not approved by China. Read More
StewardshipCover Crops Field Guide For Farmers Expanded
September 23, 2014
Farmers interested in planting cover crops to improve soil health now have an updated and expanded resource in the second edition of the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide. Read More
HerbicidesArysta LifeScience Launches Contest For Wheat Growers
September 23, 2014
The Flush after Flush Photo Finish contest encourages farmers across the U.S. to participate through Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FlushAfterFlush. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Confirms Merger Of Equals Discussions Wit…
September 23, 2014
CF Industries Holdings, Inc. has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with Yara International regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
StewardshipProgram To Examine Ag-Related Practices, Policies To Pr…
September 22, 2014
A panel discussion on October 14 will include a significant discussion on key issues and solutions related to all aspects of harmful algal blooms. Read More
Eric SfiligojIt’s Product Of The Year Voting Season
September 22, 2014
Readers of CropLife IRON will choose 2014’s best new product over the next month. Read More