Priority is the name of the game

How often do we keep on doing what we are comfortable with? We just keep on doing what is easy and will cause us the least amount of stress. If we have had a bad experience with something, we may not like to go back there!

Examples might include; running out of money, getting hopelessly in debt or not wanting to open the bank statements for fear we are out of money again. Sound familiar? It is to me.

It's easier just to think about milking the cows and going down the farm. We can all too often ignore the financial detailing that is required from us, i.e. have we rung the bank manager back and so on.

We spend our whole lives amassing a large asset in land and real estate but we refuse to do any intergenerational planning. Now it seems quite funny really, but we have to put in place succession plans whilst we are alive. When we are gone the vultures will start circling our assets. And mark my words, they do. We need to organise our assets, an untidy estate is a feeding ground for other people.

I have written recently about family members chasing and demanding their parents' wealth, it seems to be more so now than ever before. I refer you to these articles, they make good reading. I recently heard of one farmer telling his gathered children, "I'm leaving you nothing whatsoever." There was a crestfallen silence and some pretty dull faces. He went on to say "I will however, leave what is left, to your respective family trusts."

Now this is about priorities. Is it a priority to face up to this stuff now whilst we are alive or is it at the bottom of the priority list? Is milking and feeding out more important?

From years of working with accountants and lawyers, I now know immediately when meeting a new client and learning of their legal representation whether or not they will have a succession structure in place. Respectfully to the legal fraternity, many of their clients do not have proper structures and succession plans in place. There are no trusts or companies and there is no plan. There are some solicitors that specialise in this area, with you retaining your own lawyer as the family solicitor.

Prioritising is really important. We can spend our whole day on unimportant stuff and avoiding the important areas and 'must do' jobs.

Lists are an essential part of improving prioritisation. Make a list each day putting important jobs at the top. Transfer what's not completed to the next day. I find lists essential to ensure what gets done and when. We are all busy people and we need lists. We have been given a two sided pad - one side is headed up "Important" and the other is headed up "Less Important". Makes sense.

Farming has tended to be a business where making notes and lists is a low priority. Try discussing what needs to be done on your farm with your team and then handing them a list. Again, put high priority jobs at the top. The results could surprise you.

Staff prefer to have clear guidelines with clear instructions and priorities rather than muddied and confused instructions. It seems that the tougher bosses out there, with good priorities and clarity and clear instructions to their team, have a better relationship with their staff.

In summary, priority is the name of the game. If we have tough decisions to make on things we need to do, then we should make them a priority. We need to make lists and give them to our team. We also need to make our own lists, particularly with 'must do's'. We need to focus on what is important and what can be left till later.

It is too easy to keep on doing what we normally do and avoid facing up to 'the hard decisions'. As I say, we should step over our indecision, make priority lists and take action.


This product has been added to your cart