When change is going to be positive, and is being driven by the person who is going to benefit from the change, then embracing change is easy to accept. Even in a situation where we are taking a risk, such as borrowing money to invest in growing our business, change can be exciting and demonstrate we are getting somewhere in life.
Perceived negative changes, on the other hand, particularly those we feel are being imposed upon us where we have little or no control, can lead to stress.
With the uncertainty of Brexit and what changes will be or how they will affect us, it is easy to just be stressed and do nothing. However, using this period to plan for different scenarios will be time well spent.
Big businesses have a team of future planners assessing the impact of potential internal and external scenarios, and as an industry, we should do the same.
Plan for the worst-case
By planning for the worst-case scenario now, it is easier to make objective, reasonable judgements and come up with solutions. It’s not unlike making a will, which is often an equally difficult matter to address. It can focus the mind on the business and be a valuable catalyst for improved systems and future proofing. It can drive innovation and development that boost the business even before the worst case is close.
The older we get, the more we hate change
There is scientific evidence that we become more averse to change as we get older. While for many, retirement is a positive change with the prospect of travel and time to pursue projects, for farmers it, or even taking a step back, is often seen as a loss of control and status, and is resisted, so there can be multi generations in one business with very different outlooks. This can lead to clashes in family businesses, and is a significant factor in holding back growth in our sector. Now more than ever, family businesses need to pull together to work towards what is best for the business, though this will almost certainly involve some change.
So, for me, change from Brexit is coming and it is going to be the biggest change in our industry for generations. As humans we are designed to adapt and as an industry we must do the same. We need to be in good physical and mental shape to turn it into a positive and embrace the change. We cannot wait for the details to start to think how we might react and adapt. We must be match ready now.
Why attend the OFC?
For those of you who have never been to the Oxford Farming Conference, I hope you will embrace a change in your early January calendar and make a trip to the historic City of Oxford in 2018. Those attending will be inspired by farmers from across the globe who will speak about their experiences of adverse change, and how they have coped and in some cases, thrived after this. There is also a politics session, with an international flavour for 2018, and delegates will have the opportunity to network and debate with others both in and shaping the industry.
Book to attend the 2018 OFC.