GFM Network News

“Conflict and differing perspectives… should become a competitive asset — and an engine for rapid learning and innovation.”

How to Discuss What Matters Most

Guide Books Review: 'Difficult Conversations' by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

Reading Time: 3 minutes Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen Penguin Books / 249 pages / $23.75 I cannot say too much about what a revelation this book was and how critical it is in both a personal and professional setting. If I had known in the past what I […] Read more

This book actually does deliver on its promise to help us think more concretely and develop better solutions.

A defibrillator for your brain

Guide Books Review: Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

Reading Time: 3 minutes Running a farm business, trying to make a profit, and balancing work and family is (brace for the understatement) hard. We all know the pattern. Too often, we think big, become overwhelmed, and then let some of our achievable ideas, not to mention our innovative dreams, wilt and die like neglected potted plants. We try […] Read more

Harvard biz prof John Kotter predicts big wins for farmers who see it’s vital to get better at managing change.

How might penguins offer farm advice? Read on

Guide Books Review: Our Iceberg Is Melting. Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Reading Time: 3 minutes What is more urgent than a melting iceberg? Not much, say scientists. No matter where we live or what work we do, all of us have got to expect a devastating series of cataclysmic ripple effects as long as the world’s ice continues to melt. But the penguins have a plan. At least, the penguins […] Read more

Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but there are techniques you can employ to help ensure that the changes you make are the right ones for your farm.

Why you should go slow to go fast

Next Steps: Meaningful change rarely happens overnight, but the Kaizen and “5-Why” techniques can help ensure that the changes we do make are the right ones for our farms

Reading Time: 6 minutes Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” In short, if you want to do a job right and do it well, you first need to spend adequate time preparing yourself, the tools and the process. How does this translate […] Read more

Business partnerships can sometimes be tricky but they're essential to building a business.

Building healthy business partnerships

Next Steps: Smart thinking about farm partnerships, and whether you’re getting as much out of yours as you can

Reading Time: 7 minutes The first four columns in this series explored planning for and managing growth, assessing and mitigating risk, and how to keep an eye on cash flow so you can bankroll your growth projects. In this column we’ll look at partnerships, specifically the underlying dynamics of what constitutes a healthy one. Business partnerships can be tricky […] Read more

Analyzing your farm’s cash flow

Next Steps: Ready to tweak your farm performance? These cash-flow strategies may be the ticket you’ve been looking for

Reading Time: 7 minutes The last three of our Next Steps columns (see the ‘Related Articles’ links further down) covered the why, the when, and the what for ratcheting your farm business up a notch or two. The next logical topic to explore is the “how” of making your plans a reality, i.e. cash flow. I’m not going to […] Read more

Learning to identify, analyze, monitor and control risk will help you achieve your business objectives.

Thinking about risk?

Next Steps: As Seth Godin says, it’s easier to paddle a canoe on a calm lake. Here’s a practical strategy for smoothing out the waves

Reading Time: 7 minutes Agriculture is not for the faint of business heart. If ever there was a job that should come with the warning “avoid if allergic to risk” in bright red letters, it’s farming with its cantankerous and cumbersome risk factors like weather, trade agreements and regulations. Risk has been part of human lives since we crawled […] Read more

Choosing a growth strategy that is aligned with your overall business goals is a good first step to get you started.

You want to grow your farm business. But how?

Next Steps: These tools are a mix of business theory and practical on-farm wisdom, which is why they’ll help you find opportunities

Reading Time: 7 minutes In January’s column we looked at how the process of business strategy planning helps orient you on the goals map. But that still leaves a big question: How do you get there? If you’re an existing farm, this means developing a growth strategy. In 1957, Igor Ansoff, known as the father of strategic management, established […] Read more

Knowing exactly where you’re starting from, and with what resources, leads to more efficient decision-making.

Introducing next steps into your farm operation

Next Steps: Consider a situational analysis in order to set goals for your farm

Reading Time: 9 minutes Stories in Country Guide often explore the latest, the most innovative and sometimes the boldest in on-farm business management strategies across Canada. These stories are inspirational, aspirational, thought-provoking — but not always accessible for every farmer. In this new series ‘Next Steps,’ we focus on continuous improvement; the proven practices, the processes and sometimes just […] Read more

Research proves it. The more digital your business becomes, the more important soft skills are to your success.

The skills you’ll need as farms become more digital

Technology is transforming agriculture at a speed we hardly grasp. Will yours be among the farms that emerge stronger?

Reading Time: 5 minutes In October, Country Guide covered the report “Farmer 4.0: How the Coming Skills Revolution Can Transform Agriculture” published by RBC, with its emphasis on how the era of super-automation will change how we farm. “As Canadian farmers leave traditional tasks to smart machines, and focus on strategy and systems, they’ll be better positioned than ever […] Read more