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Don’t get caught in a rut

Progressive Dairy Editor Karen Lee Published on 25 February 2022

It’s that wonderful time of year when it is hard to avoid ruts. Moisture from snowmelt or spring rains create a muddy mess. If you don’t have concrete everywhere you need to drive, you’re probably creating a rut. It will either freeze or dry into place, and you’ll be left with two options – follow the same path or take the uncomfortable route across it.

With so many tasks to get done each day on the farm and managing the needs of the business, it is easy to get stuck in a rut and work in a continuous loop from day to day, month to month, season to season and year to year. While that rut might be the comfortable place to be, it usually isn’t the best place for your business in the long run.

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Disruption is happening all around us, from market volatility to supply chain issues to consumer behavior to employment factors. At the 2022 Dairy Strong Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, keynote speaker Ryan Estis, a business performance expert and entrepreneur, encouraged farmers and business owners to embrace this disruption on their own terms before competition and the marketplace does it for you.

Estis shared logos of some very successful brands, like Kodak and Blockbuster, that lost their place in today’s world. Change is happening whether we like it or not. Amazon started as an online bookstore, bringing competition and disruption to brick-and-mortar bookstores. In a video clip from a 60 Minutes interview with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, he stated, “Amazon is not happening to book selling; the future is happening to book selling.”

Amazon and other new brands like Uber and DoorDash now exist because someone identified where consumers were frustrated and introduced another way.

Estis encouraged the audience to look for opportunities and invest ahead of the curve. “You always want to be conducting three little experiments,” he said. These experiments can help you learn what works, what doesn’t, what might be worth investing in and what might not be.

To initiate continuous reinvention, Estis said business leaders need to have the drive to perform today’s tasks and maintain the discipline to take intelligent risks. While the path may get bumpy, stay the course, and focus on where you want to be in the future.

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That course should align with your business’s vision. Preserving the culture and values of the business as you navigate disruption will keep team members and employees engaged.

Choosing the rougher path is not easy, and sometimes crossing ruts takes an extra push on the pedal to get going. Get started by figuring out how you are going to turn your future ideas into actionable items. Estis said to identify your big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) and then write down three things to act on in the next 100 days.

Disruption in business is uncomfortable, but it is as present as ruts in the spring. Estis’ strategies can help keep your business from getting stuck in a rut. end mark

Karen Lee
  • Karen Lee

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairy
  • Email Karen Lee

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