Lean isn’t just about the tools like 5S, Visualisation and Standard Work. Importantly lean starts with the high level business strategy and how a farm’s goals are cascaded through the business into tangible actions for the whole team. This ensures that goals don’t just stay goals but can be practically achieved to take your farm forward.
On our farm we hold an annual strategy day every year with the whole team. We ran this on Friday followed by our end of season team event. During our strategy day we review our farm strategy document, vision and priorities, we discuss our last season, including a full review of data and results, and identification of where our performance didn’t achieve targets. We brainstorm what went well and what needs improvement and if any targets were not met, why?
We then look forward. We set ourselves SMART goals for the next season. We look at our data trends and agree the specific actions we will take at each point in the season to improve results throughout the season.
Further, individual development of each person in our team is important. Each year everyone sets themselves their own goals or focus themes and then during our strategy day each person does a short presentation on their personal focus theme using a structured format. This helps to develop important communication and presentation skills across the team. Each person then selects their focus areas for the next season which for this season will be around continuous improvement of the farm.
We also use our strategy day to celebrate achievement and successes and to work on various team skills by doing different activities during the day. On Friday we ran a practical activity on multitasking and also on giving and receiving constructive feedback. The idea behind this is to help everyone in the team to be comfortable with holding each other accountable and providing feedback when needed in a constructive manner to help the whole team develop and improve the business.
The outcome of our strategy day is for the whole team to be on the same page, understand our overall business strategy, establish and take ownership of our next season goals and work as a team to achieve them. By ensuring the team is involved in the process, they own the information and are more empowered and engaged, which ultimately will drive a more successful farm.
Even if you are an owner run farm, having an annual strategy day for yourself is vital. It ensures a disciplined annual look at your business, reviewing your performance and helping you to set a successful plan going forward that will achieve targets. It is a good reflection activity and helps you to think “big picture” and be strategic.
I have shared our Strategy Day agenda from yesterday which may be useful in planning your own strategy days.