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Welcome to the home of the Modern Farm Business® podcast, hosted weekly by Dean Heffta. Modern Farm Business translates proven methods and best practices from the business arena to today's modern farm leadership environment. We'll be learning from forward-thinking experts and discovering how to apply time-tested techniques to make real improvements on the farm.

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Jul 19, 2018

TIME, PRODUCTIVITY and GOLDFISH: WHERE’S THE CONNECTION?

Getting things done
Key responsibilities of executives include setting priorities, investing resources wisely, making sure the organization has a culture of execution. Everyone is an executive of something—be it an entire farming operation, a team at work, my household, or just my own life—we all set priorities, invest resources and get things done efficiently.

Priorities:

  • Do I have clear, long-term goals written down?
  • Do I know five or six key things that I want to get accomplished this year?
  • Every weekend, do I lay out what has to get done in the coming week?

Resources:

  • Do I intentionally align my resources with my main priorities? (Put money away for your car before you need it?)
  • Do I think in terms of investment and returns rather than cost? (“You can’t save your way to prosperity.”)
  • Do I view my time as the most precious resource I have? (Hire other people to do low value work?)

Execution:

  • If I start a project, am I going to get it done quickly?
  • If someone is doing something on my behalf, do I follow up to make sure it got done?
  • On projects, do I make sure to set a deadline before I even start?

Execution is vital to success
Too many businesses drown in great ideas while being starved for action. Great execution demands:

  • Clarity, which comes from establishing a few clear and meaningful priorities.
  • Competency around our ability to exhibit the skills needed to get things done right; the intentionality of learning for growth.
  • Action, but it’s not just about the doing itself—it’s about how well the task is done, along with the execution timeline.

 THIS IS WHERE THE GOLDFISH BOWL COMES IN

They say that goldfish will grow to the size of the environment they’re put into—bigger tank, bigger fish. While this isn’t completely true, it illustrates the next point: Our work will grow with the time we give it. The goldfish may not be a perfect analogy, but there is a name for this phenomenon. It’s called Parkinson’s Law, and it states: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

EXAMPLE: Whether you give yourself the whole weekend to clean the garage, or only two hours—doubtless, you’ll take exactly the amount of time you allotted for the project. You bring a whole different level of focus when you know there’s a time limit. Give each project a hard stop time—or make a promise to someone else—and you’ll see the power and tension of this law at work every time.

Give yourself and your team deadlines to ramp up productivity and build execution skills. Add accountability. Be clear on priorities. Observe how each project can help you grow your competency through learning, or sharpen your existing skills.

If you like this show, I’d love to hear from you. Set a deadline to email me your comments at dean@modernfarmbusiness.com.
I look forward to seeing you again next week!

*Recommended reading: Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan. Currency. 2002. Buy it at Amazon.