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Making better decisions

The ability to make logical and correct decisions at least 50% of the time is an important part of any agricultural business. People who are able to make logical and sound decisions, in an instant, find that everything flows in a forward direction.

At the other end of the scale are those people who cannot make a decision, procrastinate, get it wrong and it all ends up going backwards. For those in the middle, it is about getting decisions made eventually and hopefully moving forward at a steady pace.

So what are some of the issues?

Stress

If you have a high level of stress, it is hard to make a logical decision. Emotion and inability to think logically take over and your brain and reasoning goes out the window. A good example is someone who is under matrimonial pressure, they make crazy decisions that they usually regret later. If you are in a stressful situation, don't rush into major decisions, just sit on your hands and let it wash over you, then make decisions later.

Procrastination

Procrastination robs you of your ability to collect the facts, weigh them carefully, get independent advice and then make a decision. Procrastination is often elevated if you have made some bad choices in the past, or the people with whom you consult are negative about what you are trying to do. You really need to surround yourself with positive and successful people.

I recently sought the advice from a narrow-minded person, who gave me a negative opinion on the purchase of some adjoining land, which was clearly going to be very profitable to me.

When I challenged him later regarding his poor advice, he replied he was playing the "devil's advocate". This was not what I needed and I assure you he is well outside my support team now.

Advice

It is clear that good advice is essential. How much good opportunity have you missed from bad advice. You may have an excellent banker or accountant whom you bounce your ideas off. Their advice needs to be weighed according to their background. A client of mine recently advised me "never take advice from a person who lives behind a white picket fence". In other words they need to be doing it to know how it works and then they can advise you with experience.

I came away from Lincoln College with my qualifications, joined the Rural Bank and thought I knew a lot, but it wasn't until I purchased my own dairy farm and witnessed a few cows dying and things going wrong that I sharpened up and really got focused.

Do the sums

It is really important to crunch the numbers. How much is it going to cost? Have you allowed enough seasonal finance? Will you be able to service the debt? Can you meet the time frames? How is the budget going to look? And so on.

Show the proposal to your banker for his/her opinion. Get someone else to run the figures themselves and when you have finished doing the sums, do them again.

Team approach

I think it is important that we don't work in isolation anymore. Get your team involved. There are GST issues and legal aspects etc. to be considered. Call a meeting with all your professionals, roll it around, draw your conclusions and let everybody know the game and what is expected of them. I believe that solicitors need to be involved sooner on all transactions.

Finally, when you have made your decision, act on it. Do the work and don't look back. Looking back and worrying robs you of the vital energy that you need to get the project up and running.

In summary, these are some of the issues around better decision making. Try to make stress free, logical decisions. Take advice from well qualified and positive people who have experience. When you have made a decision, take the necessary action and don't look back.


 

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