GFM Network News


Neil McBeth, left, Jerry Belanger, general manager of Essex Food Bank and Dr. Richard Barnett of Essex Rotary deliver potatoes to the food bank, in this case for the 120 Christmas food baskets they provide every year.

Leading in the community

An inside look at how the community wins — and how their farms and farming in general win too — when farmers go to town as community leaders

When Max Kaiser decided to try for municipal council four years ago, he harkened back to a famous and fairly recent moment in farming history. As he’s a crop and chicken farmer (in the Town of Greater Napanee near Kingston, Ont.), it was fitting — but also a great strategy. When election time rolled around, […] Read more

What action do you take when some people in your organization are underperforming, and those who can are leaving?

Leader development versus the quick fix

Management without leadership is like tightening a nut with no wrench on the bolt head

Every once in awhile I have a casual conversation that goes like this: “Leadership is nice (guess what comes next), but I have real problems right now, and I have to do something; I don’t have time for leader development, I’m busy.” In my view, we are all busy, but this sentiment is the verbal […] Read more


A successful partnership is one that shares in the achievements of whatever the individuals are jointly involved in.

Leader effectiveness meets the leader

Good leadership points you in the direction of building a successful business

I want to share what I’m noticing in small business these days in terms of leadership, and what I say to those who ask about leader effectiveness. First, I also want to say that I do not share client stories even with the names redacted. Agriculture is just too small, and my work with leaders […] Read more

Highly effective leaders are often described as seeing what few others see.

Characteristics of highly effective leadership

Part two in a series on leadership

In my last article I described six characteristics of highly effective leaders. This article concludes this series and describes leader characteristics that can be expressed only by adequately possessing the previous six attributes. Here goes: Highly effective leaders are capable of making bold decisions and abandoning the past if necessary This is the next step […] Read more


Time to Talk: Creating opportunity

Yes, you can talk your farm to a better bottom line

Since farming is all about productivity, most farmers would rather “do” than talk. The old cliché that time is money is never more true than when seed needs to get into the ground or livestock needs to get to market. And yet, some of the most successful farm businesses in the country are those that […] Read more

Six traits of highly effective leadership

If we want to generate a higher return on investment (ROI) on our leadership, describing how leadership can be developed and characterizing why leadership is effective are all well and good, but what do highly effective leaders do? How do they behave? What fundamental abilities do they possess that enable them to achieve the kind[...]
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Successful leadership means not only managing day-to-day work on the farm, it’s also being accountable for long- and short-term business results as well.

Leader effectiveness deconstructed

Leadership matters most in tough times ... Will we have what it takes when we need it most?

In my last article I explored the important components of leader development that can improve leader effectiveness. Some who read that article might have thought, “I’m already a good leader.” Or, “I don’t have many employees — it’s mostly family, so leadership doesn’t really apply.” Wrong. Studies have consistently found that leaders who think they[...]
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When people know how to lead better, they likely will.

Leader development explained

In my last article I reported that leadership has been shown to account for 37.6 per cent of the variability in business performance. I commented that small business leaders haven’t tapped this personal competitive advantage to achieve more with the resources they already have. But as we know, it is one thing to champion the[...]
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Leadership is a necessary skill that can be developed, offering a competitive advantage for your operation.

The difference maker: on-farm leadership

On-farm leadership is the X-factor that can be quantified and developed into competitive advantage

Leadership is the overlooked skill set that can explain why some farms move forward and grow, overcoming difficult periods to successfully transition from one generation to the next. It can also explain why some others don’t. In recent decades, research into the fields of leadership, adult development and neuro-science have been converging. We now know[...]
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Tom Button is editor of Country Guide magazine.

Editor’s Note: Six ingredients of an ideal farm successor

Several articles in our May/June issue of Country Guide examine what may be the toughest question of all. Does your farm’s next generation have what it’s going to take to succeed in 2050? Fortunately, science can help. I’ve suggested before in this space that as farms continue their likely evolution in asset value and in[...]
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