Effective communication is key to succession planning. Effective communication takes hard work; it means starting early in the planning process, being honest with yourself and your family, getting better at listening to others, and working as a team to find viable solutions that everyone can live with. While letting go of farm management and thinking about a time when you won’t be there are sensitive subjects most people would prefer to delay talking about indefinitely, the sooner they are breached and shared with family members, the more smoothly your succession planning process will transpire.
Effective communication can mean the difference between strengthening your family and your agricultural business and losing it all. Too often, a breakdown in communication during transition planning leads to family strife and conflicting goals for the farm. By being aware of these issues and how to avoid irresolvable conflict, you can ensure a happy family and solid business for generations to come. The following materials can help prepare you to meet these challenges and to use open, effective communication, early and often.
– Liya Schwartzman, Central Valley Regional Coordinator, California FarmLink
- Conducting Successful Family Business Transition Meetings, C. Zoller, Ohio State University, 2007
- Two-Generation Farming, D. Hofstrand, Iowa State University Extension, 1998
- People Considerations: How Can We Work Together?, AgVentures, University of Wisconsin
- What is the Meeting PACT?
- Seven Deadly Sins of Meetings, E. Matson, Fast Company, April 30, 1996
- Effective Family Meeting Worksheets, T. Zagofsky & B. Briggs, IIFAC, 2012