The Importance of Teamwork for Successful Precision Ag Adoption

Editor’s note: This article originally published in August 2019.


Interdependency is defined as the quality or condition of being mutually reliant on each other.

I’m not a huge sports fan but I do enjoy studying team sports. Why? Because they’re great examples of leadership and interdependency. In fact while watching my niece play volleyball, I was taking notes on how important leadership and communication was to their success. Interdependency was a key component.

In the modern ag business, interdependency is also important. By default, producers are required to work with a team. While a few teammates may be employed by the operation, others are industry professionals providing a product or service to the operation. When it comes to successful technology adoption on the farm, understanding the entire team and the unique purpose of the teammates involved, seems to be even more important.

So let’s break the team down beginning with the producer. They are the team owners. What’s the team owner’s primary goal? I believe most would say to win. And what does a producer need to win? A great team! If a great team is required, what makes up a great team? I’ve found it takes three primary components:

  1. Good Talent
  2. Great Coaching
  3. Exceptional Teamwork

Good Talent: Talent comes in all sizes and shapes. Every individual I’ve met on the farm is gifted and talented differently. Their unique talents bring quality skills to operation to achieve specific outcomes. However, I’ve also found that good talent, while extremely important, isn’t the most important attribute for championship adoption success. Especially in the agricultural space.

Great Coaching: Many ag organizations miss out on the opportunity of having a great coach and ultimately, great coaching. In many ways it’s a foreign concept that most operations have yet to experience. Many organizations have great coaches in their midst but don’t realize it. Often these individual are “hidden” in a position on the playing field simply doing their “jobs”.

Great coaches are simply individuals with an ability to influence others to achieve higher levels of excellence. They’re not happy with the status quo and will accept and manage risk as the means to achieving a goal. Many of the risks great coaches take are in recruiting and developing the right team. Coaches have a tendency to see value others may not see and find potential others may not find. Coaches understand the game and know for certain that winning is impossible if the right people are not in the right positions on the field. They also know that real success is found in a team that works together.

Exceptional Teamwork: In 15 years of analyzing successful technology adoption, we’ve learned that teamwork is by far the most important component required to achieve high levels of adoption success. What’s interesting though is every player (individual or company) wants the producer to win. I honestly believe every hardware, software, and data company would agree with that statement. Yet so often the teamwork required to accomplish repeatable high level wins isn’t there. Now don’t take me wrong. There are great individual teams in the marketplace. At CropMetrics (which was acquired by CropX in January 2020), I happen to work with two of the greatest teams in the world. Our internal leadership team as well as our phenomenal Certified Dealer Network contains some of the greatest minds in the precision ag industry. (Ok, so maybe I’m a little biased but I’d put them up against anyone!)

That said though, as great as they are, if our teammates are not well connected with the other players on the producer’s team, not only will the producer suffer and struggle, ALL the players and coaches will suffer and struggle! The whole team can be at risk of failure because of one weak link.

CropMetrics, at its core, is a precision irrigation software company. We focus on building systems that help producers take their current irrigation systems to a precision level using technology. So it’s easy for us to get caught up in software integration, new app updates, etc. Yet we know for certain, based on evaluated experience, our Precision Data Specialists (PDS’s) are foundational for the big wins. We strive to help our dealers become great team players and great teammates who are successful because they practice and strive for the results of INTERDEPENDENCY!

In the March article we’ll look at the qualities of great teammates. Then in April, May, and June, we’ll discover how these teammates work together inside an organization to achieve high levels of precision irrigation success.

Until then, in what ways has interdependency helped to increase the adoption of technology on your farm?