Legacy by Design LLC.

Cultivating Multigenerational Success in the Agricultural Community

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A Model for Succession Planning

March 3, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Following a defined process for succession will improve efficiencies and promote desired outcomes. For the business owner, nothing is more precarious than transitioning the operation from one generation to the next. For most owners, the business represents a lifetime of work. It is a testament to effort and the result of a lot of angst. When you consider retirement, or the next venture in your vocational life, you can’t just walk away fro...

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Rules of Engagement

February 19, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® “Tell us the rules and we can play any game.” Ed Rust, President State Farm (1958 - 1985), was known to say. For a family business, the rules of engagement come in the form of a family employment policy. The policy should apply to all relatives who may be interested in working in the family organization. As a clear and concise document, the family employment policy should spell out, in specific terms, the conditions in which a membe...

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It's Not Outside Forces

February 12, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Outside forces---the estate tax, government regulation, environmental activist, a cyclical economy---will not do nearly as much damage to the integrity of the family farm as a lack of open and honest communication. Either by design or default, a family who refuses to talk about the future and plan for the inevitable is destined to fail. If you’re committed to continuing the family farm, preserving a legacy, and creating an opportunity for...

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Stuck in the Middle?

February 12, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Though it’s a family business, a farm owner must separate operational decisions from family matters. He must be able to work with the team, give direction, hold people accountable, and expect results without the threat of an emotional meltdown around the dinner table. Being dad is a whole lot different than being boss. And though both have authoritarian responsibilities, the former is founded on familial relationships and the latter is ...

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It's Never Just 'Once and Done'

January 26, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® The demands of a changing industry, the needs of a growing operation, and the desires of family business owners require a leader who’s engaged in professional growth and personal development. A leadership development plan should be in writing, not just a concept. If it’s not written, it’s not real. A comprehensive plan includes components of: Education – formal classroom study, seminars, and relevant wor...

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Is This Your First Family Meeting - or Your Last?

January 16, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® An effective family meeting is formal. To do it right, the gathering should be scheduled. It should follow an agenda. The meeting should foster a safe environment, one in which everyone is welcome to speak and share openly. And, it should conclude on time, with next steps, and a follow-up meeting date set. Using our Interactive Family Meeting Agenda will start you on the right track and help keep everyone informed and engaged along the way. ...

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Your Ultimate Harvest

December 16, 2014

LegacyConnection  Kevin Spafford, CFP®  Having just completed five succession planning workshops for American Soybean Association, I’m keenly aware of both your need to and your hesitation for initiating the succession planning process. Yet waiting doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, time is your ally as well as your nemesis. As the latter, time gives us false hope and causes us to think there’s always tomorrow… As the former, the more time we ...

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It Didn't Have to End This Way

November 11, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® By now, you’ve read that Waggoner Ranch of Vernon Texas, at 510,000 acres, one of the largest in America, is on the auction block. After years of court battles and millions in legal fees, the heirs ran out of chances. Though we may never know what started the fight, we can be assured that a once powerful family in farming is now casting about for remnants of what was, and asking if it could’ve been different. Families are at ...

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How Important is a "Key Person"?

November 5, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® "Key person" is a rather self-explanatory term. Any person who performs a critical function and/or offers a unique skill may be a key employee. When used loosely, people think of a long-term or loyal employee, but that’s not necessarily the case. A well-seasoned employee may add value to the organization, yet not necessarily provide a ‘key’ element to its continuing success. A key person is crucial to operational suc...

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Succession Planning Goals

October 22, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, is noted as saying, ‘good is the enemy of great.’ In succession planning, good intentions are the enemy of real commitments.  Most farmers and agribusiness owners have a good idea of what they want to achieve in succession. In their minds they know the abstract who, when, and how of their transition. Unfortunately, most of those ideas are a bit fuzzy and undefined. In describing thei...

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Workshops: Get the Conversation Started!

October 20, 2014

Ready to begin the succession planning conversation? Plan to participate in one of the upcoming workshops in Moline, IL (December 04, 2014) or Columbus, OH (January 15, 2015). The events are presented by American Soybean Association, in partnership with eLegacyConnect. Online registration for both events is open now. For more, take a look at this brief video from RFD-TV:   Click to view; 3:47 min. The decision is yours; choose to make 2015 a year of commitment and act...

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October 17, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® As every farmer knows, harvest doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of months of work, planning, and preparation. We all reap what we sow, and while many consumers might not fully appreciate the cultivation and care that produces a crop, a farmer certainly does. It’s the same with succession. If long-term success, multigenerational wealth and growing opportunities are your goal, a comprehensive succession plan is a must. A w...

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Can I Do It Myself?

October 10, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Done right, the succession planning process requires time, money, and effort. It’s not once-and-done. Succession is a series of experiences that move the operation, the family, and the owner toward an ownership transition. Along the way, you’ll gain some financial security, prepare the next generation to lead, and fortify the integrity of the operation. The results of the plan will stem from your commitment to the process. You mus...

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We Owe Each Other Clear Communication

October 8, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Whether you’re among the senior, middle, or younger generation, communication is your responsibility. As co-workers, family members, partners, and employees, we owe each other candid dialogue---which includes clear statements, open ears, and certain feedback.  Aspire to follow these three guidelines in all your interactions, especially as related to family, succession, and business. It’s during those times when our: ...

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What's Your Value Proposition?

October 3, 2014

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Every family operation requires leaders with a variety of skills and a diversity of interests. Tomorrow’s leaders will fill positions and do jobs that aren’t even defined today. So, how do you measure up? Do you have the skills and abilities necessary to help grow the operation? Being fair to yourself and straightforward regarding the depth and breadth of your capabilities, consider your value proposition – what are the quantifi...

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Please join us at eLegacyConnect.com!

September 8, 2014

        eLegacyConnect, a division of Legacy by Design, is an online succession planning community designed to provide succession solutions for farm families.  The site provides many of the tools necessary to create long-term working relationships and plan for succession, including a community forum, resource center, action plan, and a roster of advisors/subject matter experts to help you navigate the succession planning process.  Also please note tha...

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