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Cultivating Multigenerational Success in the Agricultural Community

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Blog

Ready, Willing, and Prepared

May 21, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Without a plan for assimilation, even a well-educated, career tested, son or daughter will suffer a lack of respect and tests of authority from an operation’s existing leadership team. In succession, we often work through the ‘parents to partners, children to colleagues’ transition. But we rarely discuss overcoming the challenges of introducing a next-generation family leader into a current leadership team. There’s a natur...

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The Family Business

May 11, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® To work on the farm is to work in the family business. For your adult children, with families of their own and real life responsibilities, the decision to come home is often based on dollars and cents more than desire and raw emotion. So, you must create the assurance of future opportunities and the security necessary for them to raise a family. To do so means establishing a more business-like structure on the farm than may exist today. Young p...

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If Your Succession Matters, Hire a Professional

May 6, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Planning for succession is a serious business. The endeavor may require the assistance of legal, financial, and accounting professionals. Some cases may call for the oversight of a family business consultant or even a family psychologist. Your goals, the family’s circumstances, and business matters will dictate the type of professionals who should be involved in your planning process. To facilitate the discussion and keep things moving in ...

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Grow it Forward

April 27, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Though based on the growing prospects for ‘Wall Street’ investors in agriculture, the article Barbarians at the Farm Gate in The Economist (January 3rd, 2015) points out several opportunities and some obligations for today’s farming professionals. Among the latter is the unstated but implied duty to plan for succession, if remaining a family in farming is your ultimate goal. The article starts with the premise that we’ll...

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Challenging, yes. Life-changing, absolutely!

April 17, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Like many things, planning for succession depends on the relationship among the family and your advisors, on planning methods and thoroughness of the process, on the information provided and the recommendations made, on the complexity of the case and the attitude of the decision-makers, and on plan implementation and lasting results. Resistance is normal, especially for a hard-charging, independent agripreneur. It can get in the way and derail ...

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Farmer as Leader

April 10, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® The succession planning process can be difficult. It can be intrusive, and uncomfortable. But it also can be the single greatest achievement for a family business owner. It’s just one of the many challenges you’ll face in growing your operation forward. Though each person’s methods for coping with these challenges may be different, the leadership characteristics necessary to achieve success are eternal.   The character of ...

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Who Benefits from a Succession Plan?

April 8, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® It’s hard to pinpoint the primary beneficiary of a well-implemented succession plan. But it’s easy to see that a successful business with a long term perspective, adequate financial resources, and a growing bench of capable leaders, is far more attractive than a business that may have to be liquidated at the death or retirement of the current owner[s]. Beyond that: The owner’s family will realize immediate results t...

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Fair and Equitable

March 31, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® John wanted the whole farm, all the land, the working facilities, outbuildings, and equipment. “How else am I going to continue the operation?” he quipped. Janice, his sister, wanted her fair share, whatever that may be… And grandma was stuck in the middle, wishing she could solve the problem, hoping her decision would not alienate one or the other of her grandchildren, and wondering why her husband didn’t solve the ...

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Multigenerational Success is the Goal

March 27, 2015

Like the half-filled glass of water, for a dedicated business owner it’s either the end of a year or the beginning of the next. Is now the time to commit to the succession planning process? Lately I’ve been working with family operations to define roles/responsibilities related to growing capabilities across the management team. Though a big exercise, it starts with commitment and each step along the path helps the people involved prepare the next and the next one after that&...

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Communication, Communication, Communication

March 12, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Effective dialogue will help you achieve your succession objectives. Meeting on a regular basis through the discovery, design, and implementation phases of succession planning will not only expedite the process, it will keep all active parties informed. It may take a series of formal meetings to clearly pin-point your goals, research alternative transition methods, make decisions, and implement recommendations.  Before you begin, establish p...

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5 Benefits of Mentor/Protege Relationships

March 11, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Though they come in many different forms and from a variety of experiences, a mentor is far more than a luxury for those who aspire to extraordinary achievement. A mentor, be it a family friend, distant relative, experienced neighbor, classroom instructor, co-worker, or written biography, can give guidance and lend confidence to an aspiring leader. A mentor should be standard equipment for every protégé desiring to make a difference....

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There's Only Two Kinds...

March 9, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® “…the quick and the dead,” is a commonly used refrain from Tom Peters. Though the comment probably originated as a reference to gunfighters of old, the sentiment rings true when referencing business leaders today---albeit with significantly less carnage. Leadership is the core of family business. Without a strong, agile, and insightful leader, a business is not likely to prosper and may well be on the path to extinction. Succes...

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Who Can Help?

March 5, 2015

LegacyConnection Kevin Spafford, CFP® Given the complexity of planning for succession, you need an advisor who knows: Business Economics People development Marketing/sales Agriculture To do it correctly, you’ll need a facilitator who can lead a multidisciplinary team of professionals and guide the family. The process is never once and done. Though we make it appear doable, it’s neither simple nor easy. Selecting the right person to guide...

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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...

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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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Harvest

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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